Statute of Limitations in Missouri Personal Injury Cases

Unfortunately, we live in a society where accidents are a common occurrence. Whether it is an accident involving a car, motorcycle or a ferocious dog, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover the costs incurred from being injured in an accident. Depending on the type of case, victims of accidents may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and the loss of wages. Although receiving monetary compensation for an injury may not be enough to make a victim whole again, it is one way to help with the healing process. Personal injury lawsuits can often times be complex due to the unique nature of each case and the various rules that may determine its outcome. For example, each state imposes certain time limits, referred to as the statute of limitations, that dictate how soon a lawsuit must be filed after an injury occurs. To make sure that your interests are adequately represented, it is best to consult an experienced St. Louis personal injury firm in the aftermath of an accident that occurs in Missouri.

What is a Statute of Limitations?

Statutes of limitations are laws that are passed by each individual state that restrict the amount of time a plaintiff (person who is filing the lawsuit) has to file the lawsuit against the accused. It is essentially a timer that starts once the triggering event for a cause of action occurs. Once the timer starts, the plaintiff has a specified amount of time to file the lawsuit. If a plaintiff files a suit after the statute of limitations has run out, they run the immediate risk of losing the case.  Once the accused party files a motion stating that the plaintiff filed suit after the statute of limitations expired, the court can automatically dismiss the case and the plaintiff will be barred from any recovery regardless of the merits of the case.

Additionally, the statute of limitations not only differs by state, but by different causes of action. For example, the statute of limitations for a car accident case where an injured party survives may differ from the statute of limitations for a car accident case where a party dies, commonly referred to as a wrongful death case. It is also important to note that the statute of limitations for civil cases is different than criminal cases. Thus, it is imperative prior to filing a lawsuit that the injured party understand these rules.

Missouri’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

In Missouri, Section 516 states that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is five years from the date the injury occurs. However in some cases, a victim may not be aware of their injuries until many years after the accident occurs. For example, in cases involving a victim who has been exposed to a toxic substance, the injury may not show immediately.  In these cases, the statute of limitations timer may begin after the victim becomes aware of the injury.

Due to the several nuances present in the law, if you are a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.

Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC