When new personal injury cases come into our office, an attorney will first consider the projected statute of limitations or the deadline by which a case must be filed. While the exact date may be argued, these deadlines must be followed carefully and, if missed, will result in a case being permanently dismissed by a court. In this article, we will first look at why statutes of limitations are important in personal injury claims, the Missouri statute of limitations for personal injury cases, and the exceptions to the statutes.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Statutes of limitations are procedural limits to when a lawsuit can be filed. Each state has its own limitation period, ranging from one to six years after the injury occurs. Though sometimes frustrating for injured parties, these limitations periods are important to the civil justice system. Statutes of limitations were created to allow injured parties time to collect and analyze information and evidence at their disposal and are important as not to bog down the court system with cases that have not been thoroughly vetted. Additionally, a limitation on the period within which a case can be filed helps accused parties since evidence, both physical and in the form of testimony, can be lost to time. Overall, statutes of limitations on personal injury cases are important to ensure justice comes to all parties.
When is the deadline to file a personal injury claim in Missouri?
In Missouri, the general statute of limitations is five years from the date of injury pursuant to Section 516.120 of the Revised Missouri Statutes. There are, however, slight differences in the statute of limitations for different cases. For example, the deadline to file for medical malpractice is two years from the date of negligence per Section 516.105, and for wrongful death, it is three years from the date of negligence leading to death per Section 537.100. It is important to understand what type of case you could bring, whether it is products liability, which falls under the five-year statute, medical negligence, which falls under the two-year statute, or wrongful death personal injury, which falls under the three-year statute. Only experienced attorneys are qualified to review your case facts and determine your statute of limitations. Errors calculating the statute of limitations can lead to the permanent dismissal of a case, if filed untimely.
Are there exceptions to Missouri’s statute of limitations?
There are some exceptions to this time period, but the circumstances are accepted on a case-by-case basis. Specifically, for some product liability cases, the statute of limitations, or the five-year period within which a case must be filed under Missouri law, begins when damage is sustained and capable of ascertainment. While this is from Section 516.100 of the Revised Missouri Statutes, cases brought before Missouri courts have narrowed this down to mean when damages are reasonably understood to have been suffered – not when the injured party makes the connection between a negligent act and their injuries. Altogether, consultations with experienced attorneys licensed in Missouri can help determine when your time period began to file your case and will work to get your case on file as soon as possible.
If you have been injured by someone’s negligence, please contact the personal injury attorneys at The Simon Law Firm, P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation. With you, we will discuss the facts of your case, analyze relevant state statutes and case law, and determine what the statute of limitations is for your case. Using this information guides our firm in obtaining proper information quickly and efficiently so that we can file your case within the appropriate timeframe.