statute of limitations

There are deadlines for filing nearly every type of civil claim. 

This time limit is referred to as the “statute of limitations.”  If you fail to file your lawsuit before the applicable deadline has passed, you will not be allowed to bring that lawsuit. 

If you file your legal claim after the deadline, then it will most likely be dismissed.  Each statute of limitations period depends on the type of legal claim you have and in which state you are filing the lawsuit. 

Being aware of the statute of limitations period that applies to your particular civil case is very important.

The purpose of the statute of limitations

The main reason that the statute of limitations are established is a practical one.  The evidence that will either support or discredit your legal claims will likely be destroyed over time, just as the memories of relevant witnesses will be less accurate.  In accident cases, for example, the scene is most often altered over time.  Business records are usually destroyed as a normal course of business.  In order to preserve evidence, it is important to bring your lawsuit as soon as possible.

Arkansas statutes of limitations

In Arkansas, most claims must be filed within three years, including personal injury, injury to property, and libel. On the other hand, the statute of limitations for slander is one year. Written contracts have a five-year statute of limitations and there is a 10-year statute of limitations for collecting judgments.  There is also a “discovery” exception that may apply in situations where you could not have discovered your injury until some later time.  For instance, in medical malpractice cases, where a surgical sponge was left in a patient, but not discovered until symptoms begin to surface, the statute of limitations period would not start to run until discovery.

Missouri statute of limitations for personal injury claims

In Missouri, plaintiffs have two years to file a lawsuit for personal injury, defamation, and medical malpractice.  The discovery statute can also apply in Missouri, for a maximum of 10 years from the date of injury.  Claims for injury to property, trespassing, and enforcement of written contracts are subject to a five-year statute of limitation. Claims of fraud, rent collection, debt collection, and judgments are all governed by a 10-year-statute of limitation.

Claims against the government

Arkansas has different rules when a claim is brought against a government entity.  In those cases, the statute of limitations period is five (5) years.  Likewise, in Missouri, an injury claim against a state entity must be filed with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division, within 90 days of the injury.

If you have questions regarding the applicable statute of limitations for 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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