The Statute of Limitations is a peculiar defense in civil and criminal cases, including personal injury law. As a general rule, it means that after a specific period of time, the law bars a plaintiff (the injured party) from filing a case against the defendant.
The periods discussed below are based on the recent repeals and amendments by the legislature. These rules are not cast in stone. These are not meant to be a substitute to a consultation with a good personal injury attorney in Missouri.
Applications of the Rule
- Personal injury. If you lose an arm or a leg in a car crash, or if you lose the use of one eye or your sense of hearing at work, you have five years to bring your case to court.
- Professional Malpractice. If your doctor gives an incorrect prescription or a grossly negligent diagnosis and other cases of medical malpractice, the period lasts up to two years from the date that the injury is discovered.
- Slader/Libel/Defamation. In this special class of torts, the period is counted again for a period of two years.
- Injury to personal property. In these cases, the period expires after three years. Personal property here does not mean personal effects or small items but those as opposed to real estate or real properties. As a general rule, the period lasts up to five years.
- Fraud. This period extends up to ten years. If your lawyer has embezzled funds that you have entrusted to him, your case has two causes of action – one for fraud and another for malpractice. Your case also has two different periods. Again, it is best to consult with a reputable personal injury lawyer for more details.
- Contracts. For actions arising from contracts that have solemnized, meaning those you have made in writing, the period expires in ten years. For oral contracts, the period runs up to five years only.
Even the most seasoned veterans in personal injury law become powerless in the face of the defense of the Statute of Limitations. The law gives protection to those who are watchful of their rights. Those who are unmindful can become prejudiced by their very own actions. Stay up to date and be protected.
If you or someone you care about suffers injury at home or at work, contact the the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann for immediate help at (314) 361-4300. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation.