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  • Missouri’s Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations Laws

    Missouri’s Personal Injury Statutes of Limitations Laws

    What is a Statute of Limitation?

    Every state has the authority to create its own laws and governs how the laws are handled. In other words, laws and the details surrounding that law may vary from state to state. One thing that most frequently varies between states is the Statute of Limitations for a specific law in that state.

    The official definition of statutes of limitations is: “A statute prescribing a period of limitation for the bringing of certain kinds of legal action.” In short, it is the length of time in which a lawsuit or claim can be filed against an individual or a company.

    This term is frequently referred to in movies or TV shows about lawyers or police officers wanting to sue or arrest an individual(s) but can’t due to the statute of limitations.

    Understanding Missouri’s Statute of Limitations and When to File an Injury Lawsuit

    On top of varying state by state, the statute of limitations may also vary by the case or legal matter.

    In the United States, there are typically two types of Statutes of Limitations:

    Civil Statute of Limitations

    Civil Statute of Limitations is, in short, how long you have after an incident to file a complaint or lawsuit (I.e. suing someone after a car accident)

    Criminal Statute of Limitations

    Criminal Statute of Limitations, on the other hand, deals with how long after an incident or crime a state’s prosecutor can file charges against an individual(s).

    Below are some of the most important statutes of limitations in the State of Missouri:

    Missouri’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

    The statute of limitations for most personal injury lawsuits is 5 years. 

    Missouri statute §516.120(4) states that a lawsuit or claim resulting from “An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the recovery of specific personal property, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not herein otherwise enumerated” must be filed within 5 years of the date the incident occurred.

    With that in mind, you know that the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits in Missouri is 5 years.

    That means that if you are wanting to file a lawsuit for any injury-related incident like assault, car accidents, truck accidents, etc., you must do so within 5 years of the date in which the incident occurred.

    Related: Missouri’s Car Accident Statute of Limitations

    Missouri’s Property Damage Statute of Limitations

    Missouri’s Revised Statute 516.120 states that “An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the recovery of specific personal property, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not herein otherwise enumerated

    In other words, Missouri law requires you to file a lawsuit against an individual or individuals for property damage within 5 years.

    Missouri’s Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

    Commonly known as Medical Malpractice, lawsuits against doctors, physicians, dentists, pharmacists and other health care providers have a separate statute of limitations in Missouri.

    Missouri’s Statute § 516.105 states that “…damages for malpractice, negligence, error or mistake related to health care shall be brought within two years from the date of occurrence of the act of neglect complained of…

    Put simply, in Missouri, you have 2 years to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

    However, there are certain circumstances or cases when that timeframe extends beyond two years known as a “Statute of Repose“.

    In cases such as a minor being under the age of 18, he or she has until either they are 20 years old or a maximum of 10 years have passed (whichever comes first) to file a medical malpractice.

    Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Statutes of Limitations

    The next personal injury statutes of limitations we will discuss are those involving work injuries; also known as workers’ compensation.

    Workers’ comp is when an individual receives compensation from their employer after a work-related injury or illness.

    According to the Missouri Department of Labor, in order to file a workers’ compensation lawsuit in Missouri, you must do so within:

    1. Within two years after the date of the injury or death or, last payment was made on account of the injury or death; or
    2. If the employer does not timely file a Report of Injury with the Division, within three years from the date of injury, or death, or last payment was made on account of the injury or death.

    In other words, the Statute of Limitations for workers’ compensation lawsuits in Missouri is 2 years unless the employer of the person injured or killed fails to file a report within a timely manner in which case that statutory period is 3 years.

    Related: An Overview of Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation Benefits

    Missouri’s Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations

    The State of Missouri’s Statute 537.080 defines wrongful death as:

    Whenever the death of a person results from any act, conduct, occurrence, transaction, or circumstance which, if death had not ensued, would have entitled such person to recover damages in respect thereof, the person or party who, or the corporation which, would have been liable if death had not ensued shall be liable in an action for damages, notwithstanding the death of the person injured…”

    Put simply, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed when someone is killed due to another person’s or company’s negligence or intentional acts.

    In Missouri, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within 3 years from the date when the death occurred.

    Rounding Out Statute of Limitation Laws in Missouri

    Statutes also apply to cases other than just personal injury lawsuits.

    Here is an overview of all of the most common Civil Statutes of Limitations in Missouri:

    • Car accident Statute of Limitations in Missouri: 5 Years
    • Personal injury Statute of Limitations in Missouri: 5 years
    • Property damage Statute of Limitations in Missouri: 5 years
    • Workers’ compensation Statute of Limitations in Missouri:  2 years (possibly 3 years)
    • Medical malpractice Statute of Limitations in Missouri: 2 years (could be longer for minors)
    • Wrongful death Statute of Limitations in Missouri: 3 years

    Find out more from a personal injury lawyer in Missouri

    If you have questions about whether or not your case meets the statute of limitations or wish to file a claim, contact St. Louis personal injury attorney Craig Ortwerth to start your free consultation.

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