Understanding the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Missouri

A statute of limitations exists in part to enhance the legal system’s efficiency. It also preserves the integrity of both testimony and evidence because both can become unreliable over time.

If you plan on filing a case for an injury caused by someone’s negligence, you should consult a lawyer.  Every injury victim can only file a lawsuit against the responsible party within a specific time limit.   After the statute of limitations period has expired, it is  usually no longer possible to bring the case to court.

What is the most effective method of preventing this from occuring? Educating yourself on Missouri’s statute of limitations and consulting with an attorney about  the deadline applicable to your case.

Keep in mind there are lots of difference statutes of limitation that place different timeframes on the filing of different types of cases.   Plus, the facts of any particular case could implicate more than one statute of limitations, and may implicate the laws of multiple states with respect to different filing deadlines.  

Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Generally, as of this date*, the Missouri Code section 516.120 RSMo spells out the State of Missouri’s  personal injury statute of limitations. It  states that all lawsuits seeking legal remedies for an “injury to the person” need to be filed within five years of the incident.   HOWEVER, AGAIN, you should always consult a lawyer to determine the specific statute of limitations period that applies to your particular case.

This statutes encompasses both  physical and emotional injuries  caused by someone’s negligence, including injuries from :

  • Slip and fall incidents
  • Vehicular accidents
  • Defective products
  • Premises liability injuries

Injury Claims Against a Government Entity

The deadline may be  different if your claim involves the negligence of a government body or employee. In Missouri, some personal injury claims have a 90-day notice time limit for injury victims  

Exceptions to the Law

 Some circumstances qualify for a pause or an extension of   the limitations period.  Again, it is best to consult a lawyer in your specific case, but as an example, these situations may extend the statutory period of of the statute of limitations:

  • Disability: Plaintiffs who become mentally incapacitated from a personal injury may be able to file a claim within five years after a medical professional declares that they have regained their mental faculties and are again competent.
  • Age: Plaintiffs under the age of majority have five full years to file a claim from the day they reach the age of majority.
  • Absence: If defendants leave Missouri after the incident, the five-year time limit may only starts to run once they return to the state.

These are only some examples.   Many exceptions  exist where plaintiffs may or may not qualify for such an extension.  Best to consult a lawyer on these issues rather than calculate the statute of limitations period yourself. 

The Sooner You Act, the Better

As you’ve likely surmised, personal injury laws are complex – and oftentimes, convoluted. The assistance of knowledgeable attorneys who have experience with these cases can make the process infinitely easier, and assure that you meet your deadlines.

If you think that your injury is a result of someone else’s negligence, the lawyers at Larson & Miller can assess your case. We know the State of Missouri’s  various  statutes of limitations, and can provide professional insight into how these deadlines affect the timing of filing your case. Call us at 417-890-6677 today.

*created: 12/08/2020