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After getting hurt in a car accident in Missouri, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused your injuries. However, state law imposes a deadline for filing your claim. This deadline is dictated by a law called the statute of limitations.


Missouri’s Statute of Limitations

Under Missouri’s statute of limitations, you typically have five years after getting hurt in a car accident to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your accident-related injuries and losses. In some specific circumstances, you may have longer to file a lawsuit when the statute of limitations pauses or “tolls.” For example, the limitations period for a minor’s injury claim starts on the minor’s 18th birthday rather than the date of their injury. The court may also toll the limitations period for the time it takes an injured victim to discover their injury or the facts underpinning their claim.

Different deadlines apply to different types of claims. If your loved one died in a car accident someone else caused, you have three years to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. And if you are seeking compensation for an accident under your own uninsured or underinsured motorist policy, you are subject to the 10-year deadline on contract claims.

Courts strictly construe the statute of limitations and will dismiss any lawsuit filed after the limitations period if the at-fault party’s attorney makes a motion for them to do so. As a result, filing suit after the limitation period expires on your claim means you risk losing your right to recover compensation for your injuries in court.


Why Have the Statute of Limitations?

The legislature has established statutes of limitations to ensure the timely filing of legal claims. Requiring plaintiffs to file their lawsuits by a specific deadline ensures that cases get heard before critical evidence gets lost or witnesses’ memories fade over time. The statute of limitations also provides finality to potential defendants. After the limitations period expires on a claim, a potential defendant can rest assured that they no longer have any liability for that claim and can make financial and personal decisions without worrying about the potential of a lawsuit.


Why You Should Consult a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately After a Car Accident

You can best protect your interests by consulting a personal injury lawyer promptly after suffering injuries in a car accident. Your attorney will need time to investigate your claims and prepare a compelling case strategy. Waiting until the last minute to seek legal counsel may leave your attorney insufficient time to prepare your case thoroughly.


Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

When you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident in Missouri, you have limited time to file a lawsuit to recover compensation from those responsible for the accident and your losses. Contact Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC, today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation to learn when to file your personal injury claims. Let’s discuss how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.