After an accident, your first concern is most likely getting better, not how long you have to file a lawsuit.
However, it is important to understand the rules in Missouri regarding the statute of limitations. This way, you won’t be surprised to find out that you can no longer seek justice through a lawsuit.
Today, we’re going to answer the question: how long do you have to sue someone for personal injury in Missouri?
How Long Do I Have to File My Personal Injury Case in Missouri?
You have up to five years in Missouri to file your personal injury case.
State laws are frequently reviewed each year, so it is important to speak with a reputable personal injury attorney to understand how the current laws in your state will apply to you, especially in critical areas such as the statute of limitations. Also remember that there are special time limit rules for injury claims against the government.
Statute of Limitations and How it Affects Your Case
The “statute of limitations” establishes the rules on the time limit when an action can still be prosecuted. If not followed, the action may be barred forever and the claimant may not be able to initiate their claim ever again.
Each state may have its own specific statute of limitations. This means that you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney who is familiar with the specific rules of a state. The specific limit prescribed by each state ranges from one year (in Kentucky and Tennessee) to six years (in Maine and North Dakota).
In other states, the time limit could also be affected by the personal injury suffered by the victim. To give an example, defamation cases involving minors may be granted longer limits. Conversely, malpractice incurred and punishable by medical codes may be granted lower time limits. This is in recognition of the urgency to process the claim and the person’s capacity for discernment. Ordinarily, the prescription would only start running once the person involved is 18 years old.
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The “Damage Discovery” Rule
Despite the time limit given when a person can validly initiate his claim with the court, the period of time will not necessarily run until the person concerned becomes aware that a violation has actually been committed. This is called the “damage discovery rule.” Certainly, one cannot be expected to start a lawsuit if one is not even aware that he has the right that has been violated. In that case, the patient had no reason to know what happened, and this lack of knowledge could not be called irrational under the circumstances. For example, when surgeons make mistakes of leaving something that should have been removed inside a patient’s body, the patient will not be able to realize this until he experiences the real side effects.
However, it should be noted that delay in discovery must be paired with being reasonable. You cannot sit on the fact that the interested party has been negligent in their duties. Otherwise, a claim might even be precluded by the statute of limitations despite a lack of knowledge. In most cases, the damage discovery rule is not usually present in car accidents because after the accident, the facts are there watching the witnesses and there is no need to discover a hidden fact.