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How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim After a Car Accident?

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Close-up of car crash, fender bender

After a car accident in Missouri, it’s normal to feel lost and unsure of what to do. Many victims feel hopeless when their bills and medical expenses begin piling up. While you might not think that you need to immediately file a car accident lawsuit, you may realize that you need some help to recoup your losses as your expenses mount. How long do you have to make a claim after a car accident in Missouri? Understanding the statute of limitations is important so that you don’t lose your right to recover compensation. With some help from an attorney, you can ensure that your claim is filed on time and that you’re prepared to fight to recover maximal compensation for your losses.

How Long Do You Have to Make a Claim After a Car Accident in Missouri?

Like other types of claims, car accident lawsuits are subjected to a statute of limitations in Missouri. Under R.S.Mo. § 516.120, people who are injured in car accidents because of the negligence of others have five years to file lawsuits from the date of their accidents and injuries. While that might seem like a long time to file your claim, you should speak to an accident attorney as soon as you can. Beginning the work on your case soon after your accident can help your lawyer uncover and preserve crucial evidence that could otherwise be lost as time passes. Different rules apply for accidents in which minors are injured and fatal car accidents.

How long do you have to make a claim after a car accident as a minor?

The statute of limitations is tolled for people who are injured while they are minors under R.S.Mo. § 516.030. Under this statute, a person who is a minor when he or she is injured in a car accident will have until five years after he or she turns age 21 to file a lawsuit. However, many accidents involving injured minors have claims filed on behalf of the minors by their parents. If an injured minor’s parents file a lawsuit on his or her behalf, any settlement will need to be approved by the court. The court will also take steps to ensure that the money goes to the minor rather than being spent by the parents on other things.

How long do you have to make a claim after a car accident causing a wrongful death?

While you have five years to file a claim for damages for your injuries and property damage in Missouri, the rules are different if you are filing a wrongful death action against the driver for the loss of your loved one. Under R.S.Mo. § 537.100, a wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of your loved one’s death. You should note that this might be a different date than the date of your loved one’s car accident. For example, if your loved one was severely injured in a car accident and succumbed to his or her injuries two months later, the statute of limitations began to run on the date that he or she died instead of from the date of the accident that led to his or her death.

Contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

After your car accident, you should pay attention to the deadlines for filing claims. If you wait to talk to an attorney until after the relevant deadline has passed in your case, your claim will be time-barred. This means that you will not be able to recover damages for your losses. If you do file a lawsuit after the expiration of the statute of limitations, it is a cause for dismissal. The defendant will likely file a motion asking for the court to grant a dismissal, and the court will likely do so.

Even though you might have a few years to file your claim, the best practice is to contact a lawyer at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave as soon as possible after your accident. If your attorney can start working early, they can preserve evidence that can make your claim stronger. Call us today at 417-322-2222 to get started.

Files under: Personal Injury