When someone else’s negligence leaves you with a personal injury, you have the right to pursue repayment for your losses. However, you’ll need to file your claim within the “window” allowed by Missouri law to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to seek the compensation you deserve. The time limits for filing are called statutes, and they are strictly enforced.

Trying to recover from an injury while pursuing compensation for your losses is challenging. Consider working with a personal injury attorney to ensure your claim doesn’t get pushed to the wayside while you focus on recuperating from the accident. Your lawyer will work to recover compensation from the insurance company of the person responsible for your injury and keep you from missing the filing period for your claim.

Talk to an Attorney Today

Schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to review your case as soon as possible following the car accident or incident. The sooner you file your injury claim, the sooner you can put the accident behind you. 

What Is the Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury Claims in Missouri?

The Missouri statute of limitations on personal injury is a time limit for an injured party to submit the initial documentation for a claim or lawsuit against the negligent party. Personal injury lawsuits are brought over injuries caused by a person’s careless actions or an intentional act that caused harm. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims varies from state to state, so it is essential to know the time limits for filing a legal claim for the state where you were injured.

Missouri personal injury lawsuits and claims have a filing deadline of five years from when the injured person becomes aware of their injury. The Missouri statute of limitations applies to all lawsuits seeking a legal remedy or civil remedy for suffered injuries. Civil cases motivated by the negligence liability principle fall under this umbrella, which includes personal injury cases relating to car accidents, slipping accidents, and other reckless behaviors. Civil cases filed over deliberate actions and assault are intentional tort cases and are also included.

The Discovery Rule

Sometimes the accident victim may not become aware of the injury they suffered until after the incident. The discovery rule means the clock starts on the statute of limitations once the damage is discovered.

However, because this rule provides the victim additional time to realize they are injured, there is a statute of limitations on this rule. If an injured person doesn’t recognize their injury within ten years of the incident, they will lose their ability to claim this rule.

The Purpose of Missouri’s Personal Injury Statutes 

States set the statute of limitations for filing civil lawsuits to keep the legal system running efficiently. If plaintiffs (victims) are not given a time limit for filing lawsuits seeking restitution for personal injuries, the court system could become bogged down with personal injury lawsuits that are frivolous or too old to address because the evidence is mostly gone. 

The Missouri personal injury statute of limitations also protects defendants (the accused party) from being held responsible for damages unrelated to the original accident. If an injured person does not pursue compensation within the statute of limitations, there is a good chance that their injury either isn’t severe or wasn’t actually caused by the original negligent act. The statute of limitations in Missouri, personal injury cases are necessary to protect the interest of all parties involved in an incident.

Filing Deadline for Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death, and Defamation Suits

Defamation and medical malpractice cases have the same statute of limitations as a personal injury lawsuit, which is five years. While you can try to bring a claim against the party who wronged you after the time allowed by the Missouri statute applying to your situation, Missouri courts will likely dismiss the case without reviewing it.

Wrongful Death

When an accident results in the injured party’s death, the deceased person’s immediate family has the right to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party. In a wrongful death suit, the limitations Missouri places on filing a claim are stricter than those for a personal injury lawsuit. 

Individuals wanting to file a wrongful death claim must complete their filing within three years of the accident where the fatality occurred. Contacting personal injury attorneys to discuss the details of your case will benefit you since pursuing a claim on behalf of a deceased family member can be challenging. Additionally, if your claim escalates to a civil lawsuit, you’ll want an attorney to represent you, and if they’ve been working with you from the start, they will be prepared to go to court immediately.

Exceptions to the Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Under certain circumstances, Missouri’s civil court system will allow exemptions and extensions of the personal injury statute of limitations. However, since the exemptions are limited, most victims must abide by the injury statute of limitations. Keep reading to learn if any circumstances surrounding your situation make it eligible for a deadline extension.

Mentally Incapacitated or Minor Victims

The Missouri statute of limitations states that in cases where the victim is a minor, the five-year window for filing a claim will begin when the victim turns 21. For situations where the injured party is mentally incapacitated, the period to file a claim will not start until they have been declared competent. The time frame before the countdown begins is known as “legal disability.”

Defendant Traveling Out of State

Defendants who must travel out of state will have the time they are not in Missouri excluded from their five-year filing window. This provision prevents victims from missing their opportunity to file their injury claims for the underlying accident due to travel for work or medical care.

Claims Filed Against a Government Agency

Personal injury claims against state government employees or agencies are held to the strictest filing deadline. Missouri’s personal injury statute requires claims to be filed with the Missouri State Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division within 90 days of recognizing injury.

What If You Miss the Filing Deadline?

You’ll have difficulty pursuing compensation if it’s been over five years since the underlying accident. A personal injury case outside the five-year filing window will likely be fruitless. The defendant will file a motion for your case’s dismissal, and the civil court will normally permit the discharge. 

The filing deadline matters for more than just trying to pursue a court case. For example, even seeking compensation for medical bills or lost wages through negotiation with the other party’s insurance company will be a frustrating endeavor if you neglect to file in the appropriate window of time. Moreover, missing the statute of limitations deadline strips you of your ability to negotiate a fair settlement.

Talk to a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney

If the thought of navigating a personal injury claim makes you uneasy, you aren’t alone. Many individuals dread pursuing the compensation they deserve, even when they need the money to cover medical expenses. This apprehension can cause them to procrastinate filing until they miss Missouri’s statute of limitations window for personal injury cases.

Don’t let the statutes of limitations relating to your situation expire. Instead, hire a personal injury attorney to handle your filing and aggressively seek the recompense you are owed. Reach out to Holman Schiavone, LLC, and let our compassionate team handle your legal needs today.