How Long Do I Have To Hire An Attorney?

The law requires that you file a lawsuit within a specified period of time depending on the nature of the claim and the entity that caused your injury. This is referred to as the statute of limitations. Failure to file suit within this time frame prevents you from filing suit at all. In some instances, there are various exceptions to the statutes of limitation that may extend or limit the limitation periods. There may be special claims presentation requirements for claims against state and local government. For these reasons, it is important to consult an attorney as early as possible to be sure you don't miss a crucial deadline.

In Missouri, an action for personal injury based on a negligence cause of action generally must be brought within five years from the date when the cause of action accrues. In most cases, the cause of action accrues on the date of the incident, but there may be exceptions when the injury could not have reasonably been discovered until a later date. An action for wrongful death must be commenced within three years from the decedent's death. Lawsuits for intentional acts including libel, slander, false imprisonment, assault and battery must be commenced within two years form the date of injury. Medical malpractice cases must be filed within two years from the date the occurrence. However, if the claim involves a foreign object, the claimant is allowed two years from the date of discovery, but never more than ten years from the alleged act.

The limitation periods are tolled for persons who are under the disability of infancy or mentally incapacitated at the time the cause of action accrues, as well as in instances where the cause of action is fraudulently concealed, where the claimant is absent from the state or in prison.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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