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Missouri Statute of Limitations Personal Injury

Buchanan Williams & O'Brien
Missouri Statute of Limitations Personal Injury Specialists

Missouri Statute of Limitations Personal Injury Specialists

If you are filing a personal injury claim in the state of Missouri, it’s critical that you understand the Missouri statute of limitations for personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured by the reckless or illegal behavior of someone else, you’re likely dealing with a significant amount of physical and emotional trauma. Despite these conditions, it’s imperative that you take action quickly against those who have hurt you. In Missouri, there is a statute of limitations imposed by the law, which dictates how long of a period you have to file a lawsuit. Missing this can mean you will have no way to retrieve financial compensation.

Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien have been helping injured Missourians for over 40 years. With offices in Joplin, St. Louis, and Springfield, Missouri, help is never far away. Read on for our complete guide.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury in Missouri?

The Missouri statute of limitations on personal injury refers to the time limits imposed by the state of Missouri regarding when you file a civil lawsuit for a personal injury case. Each state has laws regarding the statute of limitations for various civil lawsuits, but the time periods may differ from state to state. Each state also sets time limits applicable to when criminal prosecutors can bring charges against suspects, and these limits are also called statutes of limitations.

With regard to civil actions like personal injury, there is always some statute of limitations set by the state. However, they are slightly different based on the cause of action involved. For example, the Missouri statute of limitations for personal injury may differ from Missouri’s statute of limitations for a contract dispute or a wrongful death case. For Missouri personal injury cases, the time period starts counting down only after the injury has been identified or at the point when it should have been identified.

You may file a personal injury lawsuit in Missouri’s civil court system if another person’s conduct has caused you harm or an injury, such as in a car accident or a slip-and-fall. However, when filing one, you must understand and adhere to the statute of limitations applicable to such cases.

If your injury was caused by the liability principle of negligence or intentional tort, Missouri law classifies such injuries as personal injuries, so you may file a personal injury lawsuit in these circumstances too. Intentional tort cases are civil cases filed over assault and other intentional actions, while accidents due to negligence include claims filed after the usual slip and fall, car accidents, and similar incidents. If you have questions about how your case would be classified, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for a consultation.

In the simplest terms, what the statute of limitations for Missouri personal injury does is to set a deadline saying when you can file a civil case after an injury. According to the law, you only have five years to file a personal injury claim in a civil court; the court will most likely dismiss a case filed after five years.


Missouri Statute of Limitations Personal Injury Page Roadmap

  • The Missouri Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims
  • Specifics on the Laws Associated with Missouri’s Personal Injury Statute
  • What Happens If You Miss the Deadline for a Personal Injury Claim?
  • Exceptions to Missouri’s Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations
  • Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney in Missouri

Statute of Limitations Missouri: The Law

In addition to the basics of the statute of limitations Missouri as applicable to personal injury, it is important to know vital details about the various deadlines and the possibilities of extending the filing period.

The standard time limit for Missouri personal injury lawsuits is five years, as stipulated in the Missouri personal injury statute of limitations, Missouri Code section 516.120. Any lawsuits seeking a legal remedy for an “injury to the person” must be filed within five years of discovering the injury.

As with most laws, there are some exceptions to the Missouri law on the statute of limitations for personal injury. We will discuss these more in the following sections.

To summarize, in situations where your injuries were caused by either an intentional act or the carelessness of another person, you may decide to seek civil remedy or damages for your losses at Missouri courts. However, the initial documentation (the “complaint”) and other necessary paperwork for a such case must be filed in court within the span of five years after the date of the underlying accident.

A personal injury attorney Missouri can help you meet personal injury deadlines.

Personal Injury Statute of Limitations: What happens if you miss the deadline?

Personal injury statute of limitations miss the deadlineIf you miss the personal injury statute of limitations, that is you file your personal injury lawsuit five years or more after the underlying accident, your case may not stand. In this situation, the defendant will be able to file a motion to dismiss the case, and the court will most likely grant it since they expect timeliness from all petitioners. However, there are some rare exceptions that may entitle you to more time.

The personal injury statute of limitations in Missouri is crucial to a successful lawsuit. Likewise, the filing deadline, as stipulated by this law, is also pivotal to your position in settlement negotiations with the defendant and their insurance company. Be aware that if the five-year deadline had passed and the defendant is aware of such, you may be powerless in pursuing your case.

The trusted team of attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien have been helping clients with personal injury claims in Missouri for over 40 years. Learn more about the team’s experience, case results and how they can help you:

Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury statute of limitationsThere are certain situations where the Missouri personal injury statute of limitations clock might be delayed or paused after it has started to run. Though slightly different, such a delay or pause essentially extends the filing deadline.

Two key examples of the exceptions to the statute of limitations on personal injury in Missouri are:

1) where the injured person is mentally incapacitated or

2) where the injured person is under the age of 21 during the accident. If such happens, Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.170 holds that the injured person’s five-year deadline to file the personal injury lawsuit starts counting after he or she turns 21 or is declared competent.


What If the Defendant Leaves Missouri?

Also, if the defendant (the person responsible for the injuries of the plaintiff) originally resides in the state of Missouri, but left the state for some time after the underlying accident and before the lawsuit could be filed, the five-year filing period deadline will not include the time the defendant was absent.


What Is the Discovery Rule?

If the injured party can’t possibly be aware of the injuries, the Discovery Rule allows for the statute of limitations to begin either when they should have become aware of the injury, or they became aware.


What If the Plaintiff Dies from Suffered Injuries?

There is another exception in personal injury cases. For example, if a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence resulted in the death of the injured party, then the statute of limitations is only 3 years in Missouri. That is because a wrongful death suit is a different type of claim than other negligence claims filed by deceased family members. But, there is another exception – if a person is injured due to someone else’s negligence but dies subsequently from unrelated causes, their statute of limitations remains 5 years. However, certain steps must be taken that an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you with.


Different Rules for Government Entities

Finally, if a government agency or employee is involved in injury claims, the applicable rules are different. An injury claim against the Missouri state (or a Missouri city) government must be filed within 90 days from the date of the underlying accident. Also, such claims should be filed with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division (OA) in addition to being filed in civil court.

As you can see, though there is a basic five-year deadline for filing personal injury claims, the law is complicated. A trustworthy personal injury attorney can answer your questions and fight for you in court.

Personal Injury Attorney Missouri

personal injury attorney missouriAt Buchanan, Williams, O’Brien, we understand the level of fright, stress, and pain our clients experience during personal injury cases. When you contact us as a victim of a car accident or medical malpractice, or someone who has lost a loved one in a wrongful death caused by the negligence of another person, we will ensure that we take away the stress of your court case, leaving you and your family to focus solely on healing.

We will pursue compensation for your injuries on your behalf, giving you the legal assistance you need to win your case. With our help, you can get the money you need to pay your medical bills and the time you need to heal properly. Ultimately, we will help you get back to your best. Our clients know this, and it’s why we were named one of the top ten personal injury attorneys Missouri for client satisfaction.

Consult one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today and have all your inquiries about the Missouri statute of limitations, and how it applies to your personal injury case answered, whether the deadline has passed or is fast-approaching.

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