The Missouri Statute of Limitations
Every state has SOLs that dictate how long you have to file certain legal actions. Missouri has these statutes for both criminal and civil cases.
The SOL for personal injury claims is defined by Section 516.120 of the Missouri Code. This section sets a five-year deadline for semi-truck injury claims.
In most cases, you must file your semi-truck accident personal injury claim or lawsuit within five years.
What Happens If You File Too Late
If you don’t file your claim before the SOL ends, the trucking company and its insurer could refuse to negotiate or settle.
If you try to take the company to court, their attorney will almost certainly inform the judge that the SOL has expired. Even if you have a compelling, open-and-shut case, the judge could dismiss your claim without further consideration.
The Purpose of an SOL
An SOL might seem unfair under any circumstance. You may feel that if a vehicle makes a mistake and injures you, they should have to pay for your recovery no matter when you file. However, SOLs are important for a number of reasons.
Why SOLs Are Important
- If a negligent motorist injures another individual, they should be held accountable for their negligence. However, people who made mistakes need to prepare an adequate defense. If there were no SOLs, the at-fault party could face a costly lawsuit for an accident that happened decades earlier.
- Defendants are protected from frivolous lawsuits. Without SOLs, someone seeking an easy pay out could file a lawsuit against a motorist who hurt them years before.
- Evidence and eyewitness testimonies remain accurate.
Exceptions to Missouri’s Truck Accident SOLs
If you have been injured in a Missouri semi-truck accident, you typically have five years to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit. However, the Missouri Code provides several exceptions. These exceptions are only applicable in certain circumstances.
- The injured party was under 21 at the time of the accident
- The injured party was mentally incapacitated at the time of the accident
The court may also grant an extension to the SOL if the defendant left Missouri after the accident. In this case, the SOL could be extended by the length of time the defendant was absent.
However, exceptions to the SOL do not always benefit the plaintiff in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. If a government agency was involved in your semi-truck accident, you must initiate legal proceedings within 90 days of the accident. Some towns, cities, and counties may have their own filing requirements. Many municipalities, for example, require that semi-truck crash victims serve them with a “notice of claim.” This notice period can vary in accordance with local laws and ordinances.
Why You Should Contact a Missouri Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Missouri truck accident, you should not wait until the last minute to file a claim and/or hire an attorney.
How an Attorney Can Help
- An attorney can gather critical evidence that might get lost, misplaced, or go missing.
- An attorney can talk to eyewitnesses before they can no longer accurately recall the details of the accident.
- An attorney can communicate with the trucking company and the insurer, allowing you to focus on your physical health and recovery.
- An attorney can argue the trucking company’s position that if you were truly injured, you would not have waited so long to file a claim or that you’re fabricating your injuries for financial gain.
Our experienced Missouri semi-truck accident attorneys can build a compelling case for compensation by collecting and analyzing the evidence needed to win your case and get you the justice you deserve.
Have You Been Injured in a Missouri Commercial Truck Accident?
If you've been injured in a Missouri truck accident you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 314.200.1229 to schedule a free consultation. We help pedestrian accident victims throughout the state of Missouri including Columbia, Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Kirksville, and Cape Girardeau.