If you have suffered an injury and are entitled to compensation, the state of Missouri provides you with a limited time to file your lawsuit. This statute of limitations will vary depending upon the cause of action within your claim. For most cases, the statute of limitations clock starts from the moment you are injured or become aware of an injury you have suffered.
For your particular claim you may be wondering what your time limit is. If you do not file within the statute of limitations period, the defendant can escape responsibility and you may not receive the compensation you deserve.
Why Statutes of Limitations Exist
Though setting a time limit seems unfair, the state of Missouri established their statutes of limitation for three key reasons:
- Encouraging plaintiffs to pursue their cases within a reasonable amount of time and diligence – which in turn ensures a more efficient legal system.
- Allowing too much time to pass can make evidence unreliable or unattainable.
- It is unfair to force a defendant to live their life under the threat of a pending lawsuit indefinitely, and it is unfair to force a defendant to pay for something after a significant amount of time has passed.
Statutes of limitation in personal injury claims and other civil actions vary greatly from those for criminal actions. For example, there is no statute of limitations on murder, but civil actions often have tight time limitations.
The Statute of Limitations for Missouri Civil Claims
This is not an exhaustive list, but it does overview which statutes of limitation may apply to your particular injury claim.
- Medical Malpractice – You have two years from the date of the medical injury or the date you became aware malpractice had occurred.
- Wrongful Death – The state limits you to three years for wrongful death cases. This time starts from the moment the individual passes. Therefore, even if someone is sick or injured for several years, the wrongful death statute of limitations does not begin until the official date of their passing.
- Personal Injury – For general personal injury claims, such as a car accident claim, you have five years from the date of the accident or discovery of the accident-related injury. For example, you were involved in a motor vehicle accident in January and did not seem to have any injuries present; however, after some time passed after the accident, you began suffering from severe headaches and migraine episodes. It was not until June that doctors connected your migraines to your accident in January. Therefore, your time limit begins from the date it was discovered instead of the date of the accident.
- Product Liability – Just like personal injury claims, product liability claims have five years from the date of the injury or date you discovered the injury to be filed.
Speak with an Attorney at Horn Law
If you have an injury claim, the attorneys at Horn Law can assess your case and help determine the proper statute of limitations. Do not ever assume that too much time has passed, since there are special circumstances that allow the statute of limitations to be stretched. To learn more about your legal options, schedule a consultation online or call 816-795-7500.