time limitations for filingYes.  There are time limitations for filing nearly every type of legal action.  This time limit is referred to as the “statute of limitations.”  If that deadline has passed, you are not allowed to bring a lawsuit in court.  This limitation period depends on many factors, most importantly, the type of lawsuit you are bringing and what action or event triggers the time limit.  Each state has its own laws regarding the time limitations for filing legal claims.  Auto accidents are generally considered personal injury claims.  If the victim of an auto accident dies as a result of the accident, there may be a cause of action for wrongful death, which may have a different statute of limitations period.

What is the purpose of the statute of limitations?

Practically speaking, evidence that supports or discredits a legal claim may be destroyed over time and the memories of witnesses will likely fade.  The scene of an accident can change.  Relevant business records may be destroyed, as a normal course of business.  For these reasons, it is important to bring a lawsuit as soon as possible.

Arkansas statute of limitations for personal injury claims

The statute of limitations in Arkansas for personal injury claims, including auto accidents, is three (3) years from the date the injury was sustained. In wrongful death cases, the period is also three (3) years. There is a “discovery” exception that may apply if, for some reason, you could not have discovered your injury until some later date.  In that case, the statute of limitations period would not begin to run until the date your injury was discovered.  A common example of a situation where the “discovery” rule would apply is in medical malpractice cases where a surgical sponge was left in a patient, but not discovered until symptoms of the injury began to surface.
Arkansas also has different rules that apply when a claim is brought against a government entity.  In that situation, the statute of limitations period is five (5) years.  Arkansas has what is known as a minor tolling statute in wrongful death cases.  This tolling statute allows a victim, who was a minor at the time of the injury, to file a lawsuit three (3) years after his or her 21st birthday.

Missouri statute of limitations for personal injury claims

In Missouri, the time limit for bringing a personal injury claim is five (5) years. Injury claims that involve the negligence of a government agency or government employee, are governed by a different set of rules. In Missouri, an injury claim against a state entity must be filed with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. Claims against a Missouri municipality must be filed within 90 days of the injury.  In Missouri, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit is three (3) years, starting from the date of the decedent’s death.
If you have questions regarding the applicable time limitations for filing your claim, or any other personal injury questions, please contact the Cottrell Law Office, either only or by calling us at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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