Missouri courts set specific deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing a personal injury claim. You must understand and carefully follow these deadlines so you can file a claim for your injuries. Contact a qualified Missouri personal injury attorney to help you understand the requirements and recover the compensation you deserve.
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What is a Statute of Limitations?
The statute of limitations is a deadline set by the legislature to file a legal claim.
Statutes of limitations differ depending on the nature of the case, and statutes of limitations differ by state.
Each state sets specific rules for calculating the statute of limitations, including:
- When the clock starts ticking,
- When a court may extend a statute of limitations, and
- Exceptions to the deadlines.
Missouri courts strictly enforce statutes of limitations. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will lose the right to pursue your legal claim.
Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Under Missouri Code section 516.120, a person typically has five years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury claim. This means that you must begin a lawsuit by filing an initial complaint with the relevant court within the five-year limitations period. A personal injury statute of limitations clock begins to run when you discover the injury.
Missouri statutes of limitations can be difficult to calculate. For example, a legal concept called tolling allows you to pause the clock and potentially extend the statute of limitations deadline.
However, tolling and other exceptions apply only in specific circumstances. A qualified Missouri personal injury lawyer can help you accurately calculate your statute of limitations to ensure you meet the appropriate deadline.
What Happens If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline?
Missouri courts strictly enforce statutes of limitations.
If you fail to initiate your claim within the required time frame, the court may dismiss your claim immediately. Statutes of limitations deadlines are also important during settlement negotiations. If you miss your deadline, the other parties in your case may refuse to negotiate or settle because you no longer have a viable legal claim.
Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
While typically you must file a personal injury claim within five years after discovering an injury, some exceptions apply.
Missouri law allows a plaintiff to delay the statute of limitations deadline when:
- The injured person is less than 21 years old at the time of the injury, or
- The injured person is mentally incapacitated.
Additionally, if the person responsible for your injuries leaves the state after the incident, you may be able to delay the deadline for the length of time the defendant was out of the state.
Finally, if a government agency or employee is involved in your claim, you must file your personal injury claim within 90 days of the incident.
Failing to understand these exceptions and the other statute of limitations rules can prevent you from receiving compensation for your claim.
Contact a Qualified Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Today
Properly following statutes of limitations and other court rules will help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. The experienced attorneys at Cottrell Law Office have extensive experience handling Missouri personal injury claims. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to handle personal injury claims successfully. Our dedicated staff will answer all of your questions and help you every step of the way.