If you’re wondering what to do after a personal injury accident, you may have questions about the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the time limit to file a claim after a personal injury accident.
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What is the statute of limitations law for personal injury in Missouri?
The Missouri statute of limitations is Missouri Code § 516.120. The law says that actions for injury to the person must be started within five years.
The standard time limit to start a personal injury claim is five years from the date of the injury. Medical malpractice claims must be brought within two years unless an exception applies. (Mo. Code § 516.105).
How long do you have to file a personal injury claim in Missouri?
You have five years to file a legal claim for most personal injuries in Missouri.
What does that mean?
- A claim must be filed within five years of the accident
- Filing an insurance claim isn’t enough – it must be a formal legal claim
- Be sure to file your claim in the appropriate court for jurisdiction and venue
- The case doesn’t have to be finished by the end of the five years; you must just file the paperwork to get it started
- If you file your case after the deadline, the court may dismiss it just because it’s late
Note: The statute of limitations is different for other types of cases. Libel and slander claims have a two-year deadline, while fraud and collection of debts have a 10-year statute of limitations.
Are there exceptions to the Missouri statute of limitations?
There are some circumstances where the five-year statute of limitations is not strictly enforced. If one of these situations is applicable, it may be possible to begin a case after the deadline.
If a person is under the age of 21 at the time they are injured, they have five years from the time that they turn 21. The law likens the child’s age to a disability. For an injured child, this can greatly extend the statute of limitations. The appointment of a guardian does not cause the statute of limitations to run. (Missouri Code §516.170; Mason v. Ford Motor Co. (8th Cir.) 755 F.2d 120).
When a victim is mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the disability is removed. (Missouri Code § 516.170).
Defendant Absent from the State
If a defendant is a resident of the State of Missouri, but they are absent from the state, the statute of limitations runs when the person returns to the state. However, the statute creating this exception has been the subject of legal challenges (See Bloomquist v. Schneider, 244 S.W.3d 139 (Mo. 2008), stating that the law is unconstitutional when applied to people who move their residence from Missouri while the statute of limitations is pending).
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is two years from the date the malpractice occurs. However, if the malpractice is leaving a foreign object in the body, the deadline is two years from the date of discovery or two years from when it should have been discovered, whichever happens first. There is also an exception for cases based on failing to inform a patient of medical test results.
When a medical malpractice victim is under 18 years old, they have until they are 20 to start their case.
Sometimes, a victim doesn’t know they’re injured right away. If the nature of the injury is such that the victim couldn’t have realized it right away, the statute of limitations can extend to when they became aware of the injury or should have become aware of it.
Claims Against the Government
A claim against the State of Missouri or another unit of government must be started within 90 days. This is an extremely short time frame, and a victim should prepare to file their case immediately.
Attorneys Available for Personal Injury Consultations
It’s best to contact us right away to start working on your personal injury case. The sooner we can preserve evidence and build your case, the better. Never assume that it’s too late, either. We can evaluate the statute of limitations for every possible exception to file your case.