What Are The Time Limits for Filing a Missouri Personal Injury Claim?

It can be extremely traumatic to experience any type of personal injury claim, and can alter your life forever. If you have been involved in a personal injury matter, you are likely wondering about your legal options and how long you have to file suit. The statute of limitations in Missouri plays a critical role in determining the value of your case.

You have five years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim in Missouri (Missouri Code section 516.120). Therefore, your claim must be filed within five years of the injury or accident. Failure to file your personal injury claim in Missouri within that time frame may leave you with few options for compensation and justice. 

The statute of limitations is a critical aspect of the legal process. In civil cases, the statute of limitations begins when the injury is noticed, or the date when the accident occurred. Over time, the evidence critical to the case can decompose or become tarnished. The statute of limitations exists to preserve evidence and eyewitness statements. 

Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Missouri

Missouri’s statute of limitations is the deadline in which you need to file suit. Failure to file suit before the statute of limitations expires can severely diminish your ability to receive compensation for your injuries. Understanding the rules and regulations around the statute of limitations in Missouri is critical. 

Five-Year Rule

In Missouri, you generally have up to five years to file a personal injury claim. This means that you have five years from the date of your injury to file suit. Failure to file suit within this timeframe may leave you with few options for compensation.

Discovery Rule

Depending on the type of injury incurred, such as internal injuries or in the case of medical malpractice, the injury might not be immediately visible. Therefore, Missouri recognizes the discovery rule, meaning that the victim did not discover the injury until much later. In this situation, the state allows the timer to begin ticking after the initial discovery, not when the actual accident occurred.

Factors Affecting the Statute of Limitations

So, what affects the statute of limitations? There are a few factors that influence the statute in personal injury cases. These include the following: 

Government Entities

Have you been injured on government property? Our firm has had many clients who have been injured at a city hall or at a state agency, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). When injured on government property in Missouri, the statute of limitations is shorter. Therefore, it is more important than ever to file suit before the statute expires.

Minors and Legal Incapacity

The statute of limitations for minors can be tolled, or paused, until they reach eighteen. This protects minors, who are unable to pursue legal action on their own. This exception can provide any opportunity for minors, whose parents did not seek compensation on their behalf, to seek compensation upon turning eighteen. This also protects marginalized groups who are unable to seek legal counsel on their own.

Wrongful Death Claims

In cases of wrongful death, or when the victim of an accident succumbs to their injuries, the statute of limitations may be a little bit different. Typically, the statute of limitations begins on the date of the individual’s death, not the date of the injury. It is critical for surviving family members to understand this, and take legal action in a timely manner.

The Importance of Prompt Action

When wondering how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Missouri, it is critical to take action immediately, and not wait until the statute of limitations is about to expire. There are a number of reasons you should bring your case to a trusted law firm promptly so they can assist you with your case.. Some of these include:

Preservation of Evidence

With time, the evidence surrounding the case begins to diminish, therefore, it is critical to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after the accident so the proper evidence can be collected. This will improve the outcome of your case. 

Witness Recollection

Eyewitness testimony is critical to personal injury cases in Missouri, and should not be taken for granted. Immediate action ensures that the witnesses can be identified, and their recollections are still fresh in their minds.

Negotiation and Settlement

Negotiation is a critical element of the legal process, and consequently, can make or break your case. Therefore, it is critical that you seek legal counsel early to demonstrate to an insurance company or other Defendant that you are serious about your claim. This also helps convey the significance of your injury on your quality of life. 

Avoiding Statute of Limitations Issues

Missing the statute of limitations deadline can make it very difficult to seek compensation. If you believe you are entitled to compensation, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers is here to assist those with injuries in navigating the legal system.

personal injury filing missouri

Seeking Legal Counsel

Navigating the legalities of your case can be extremely difficult, and might ultimately lead to you settling for much less than you deserve. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is recommended, as your attorney will know how to handle your case, negotiate with adjusters, and provide clients with the legal advice they need to win their case. If you are injured in Missouri, it is best to contact a trusted attorney for legal counsel. So, why should you consult an attorney?

Legal Expertise

Your attorney will have the legal expertise to understand the nuances of the law. They can identify the specifics of your case, and take proactive steps  to ensure your best chance of recovering the damages you deserve.

Investigation and Documentation

Your attorney is adept at handling all documents and investigations regarding your case. They will handle aspects of your case such as evidence, consulting witnesses, and obtaining expert opinions on the matter.

Negotiation Skills

Personal injury attorneys are skilled at negotiating with insurance companies and other entities. Attorneys know the scare tactics of the insurance companies. Insurance Companies will try every avenue to send you a lowball offer. Your attorney will negotiate around this initial offer, with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.

Court Representation

In the case where we cannot settle, your attorney will walk you through each avenue available to you to obtain justice.. We know how to handle legal procedures, can present your case, and help you navigate the complexities of the legal system. 

Navigating the Timely Terrain of Personal Injury Claims in Missouri

The Missouri statute of limitations is a critical aspect of your personal injury claim. The earlier you seek legal counsel, the more likely it will be that you will recover compensation. Taking prompt action, seeking legal advice, and being aware of the various factors that may affect the statute of limitations can significantly impact the success of your case. Remember, time is of the essence, and consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can make a substantial difference in your pursuit of justice and compensation.

Have you been the victim of a car accident or other personal injury matter? Get in touch with The Mutrux Firm Injury Lawyers for your free consultation.