If you have been injured due to another person’s negligence, one of the most critical elements is the statute of limitations. Injury victims are allowed a window of time during which they are able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and, once that time expires, the lawsuit can no longer be brought to court. The statute of limitations is not always straightforward, however, which is why it is crucial for you to consult with an attorney to ensure that you do not miss your chance to have your case heard in court.
Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations
In Missouri, if you are planning to file a personal injury claim in civil court, the statute of limitations requires that you do so within five years, starting from the date of the injury. There is an exception to this, which is known as the Discovery Rule. In some cases, the injured party cannot possibly be aware of the injury and, as such, the Discovery Rule allows for the clock to begin either when the individual became aware of the injury or should have become aware of the injury.
If the injury claim involves the negligence of a government agency or employee, there is a different set of rules. In Missouri, personal injury claims against the state government must be filed with the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. Additionally, the window of opportunity one has to file a formal claim against a city in Missouri is incredibly small, allowing only a 90-day timeframe for injury victims.
These statutes of limitations exist to ensure the legal process works efficiently, preventing potential plaintiffs from indefinitely threatening lawsuits and abusing the system. It is also intended to preserve the integrity of any evidence or testimony, which can both degrade over time. People forget details, or remember events inaccurately or not at all, and thus cannot be as reliable as they once were.
Other Deadline Extensions
Aside from the Discovery Rule, there are other ways in which the statute of limitations might be extended in a personal injury case. If the defendant left the state after injuring the victim, the statute of limitations would stop running during that time, or at any time the potential defendant leaves the state.
For example, if the defendant leaves the state for 2 years, the time limit for your case might be extended for that time. This can be difficult to prove, however, so never count on extensions until you have spoken with a lawyer about your specific situation and circumstances. The statute of limitations can also be extended in cases where the plaintiff is a minor, disabled, or mentally ill or insane.
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Personal injury can be an incredibly complex area of law and requires the assistance of an experienced attorney who understands the ins and outs of such cases and is familiar with the complexities involved. If you were injured in a car, truck, or other type of accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to reach out to Strong Law, for help!