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Statute of Limitation Car Accident

Talk to a lawyer for Free 24/7 (314) 361-4242 : File your claim as soon as possible and prevent missing out on the compensation you are legally entitled to.

When you’ve been in a car crash, you can end up with physical injuries, emotional injuries and also damage to your property. If the accident was not your fault, and you have not been able to recover the damages you deserve through negotiations, you may consider filing a lawsuit to seek compensation for your medical bills and other expenses. What you must know though, is that you only have a certain length of time within which you can do this. You can’t simply put it off and think that you’ll get around to it eventually. There are certain limits when it comes to the time frame within which you can make your claim.

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What are these limits?

According to the law, you generally have five years from the date on which the accident occurred to file your personal injury claim. This time frame is the same whether you are the driver of a vehicle, a passenger, a pedestrian or a cyclist that has been involved in an accident.

However, there is one circumstance where this time frame changes. If you filing a wrongful death claim (if a family member died as a result of a car crash) then your time limit for this is three years from the death of the victim. This may be longer or shorter than the standard five years for injury claims. Someone may die instantly in a car crash, or they may die from their injuries some time afterwards, possibly even years later.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

Missouri is an at-fault state, which means that whoever is responsible and negligent in a car accident is liable to pay for any resulting damages and injuries. Fault is ascribed by determining who was negligent by either doing something to cause the accident or because they failed to do something that directly led to the accident itself. Sometimes figuring out who is at fault is straightforward, but in other cases it can get pretty confusing.

The best thing to do if you are in a car accident in St. Louis is to consult a St. Louis auto accident attorney. Even if you think your injuries are minor and no big deal, they can quickly turn into something major and leave you with no recourse if you don’t take the proper steps to document things. Since setting up causation is important from the start, having an attorney in your corner is the best way to ensure that you have everything you need to keep yourself from being vulnerable if your minor aches and pains turn into something more serious.

You do have a limit on the time that you can file suit for an auto accident. The statute of limitations is the time that you have from the date of the accident to file a claim against another driver. The amount of time depends on whether the car accident caused just an injury or whether it led to someone’s death.

According to Missouri Section 516.120, any person who is injured in an auto accident — including a passenger, driver, pedestrian, motorcyclist or bicyclist — has up to five years from the date of the accident to file a civil lawsuit for their damages and injuries. However, if the lawsuit involves a death, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the accident. That time starts from the time that the person loses their life, not the time of the accident itself.

What happens if you’ve missed the deadline for filing your lawsuit?

In nearly all cases your case would not be heard. If it was heard, it is not likely that you would win. Pursuing a case after the state of limitations has passed is probably not worth the time, effort and money involved unless there are exceptional circumstances. If there is a compelling reason why you haven’t filed a lawsuit such as having a disability, maybe you were so very badly injured that you were unable to pursue your claim, or perhaps you were a minor at the time of the accident and no one put in a claim on your behalf at the time and only now do you feel you deserve compensation for your accident.

Speak with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer ASAP

This is why it is important to put in a claim as soon as possible after your accident. Of course if you are severely injured this may have to wait a while, but always bear in mind that there is a time limit. So the sooner you can talk to a St Louis car accident attorney the better. Call our office 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 to request a free case evaluation.

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Updated: February 8, 2024