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Statute of Limitations

A Look at Missouri’s attempt to reduce the statute of limitations in personal injury cases

Lawmakers in the state of Missouri are thinking about changing the time limits for personal injury lawsuits, shrinking the statute of limitations for these kinds of cases almost by half.

The state of Missouri currently has a statute of limitations for these kinds of cases that sits at five years. One of just seven different states in the country that have a statute of limitations for personal injury situations longer than three years, 26 states across the US have a limit of two years or less – and that’s what Missouri is shooting for.

Sen. Dan Hegeman, a Republican, is looking to help bring Missouri more in line with states throughout the rest of the US that do not offer such a long block of time for these kinds of cases to be brought to the courts.

Bringing forward statistics that backup his contention that the overwhelming majority of personal injury plaintiffs seek damages well before three years have passed (with almost 80% of these cases hitting the courts inside of 24 months), the senator gave an impassioned speech to his contemporaries and has really solidified his stance and how he hopes to change things moving forward.

The senator also argues that it’s just good old-fashioned common sense that the overwhelming majority of injured individuals will pursue legal cases and lawsuits against those that caused the injury just as soon as is practical. Justice is something that wronged parties seek out as quickly as they are able to come and stretching the statute of limitations window out to five years is an unnecessary burden on the court system that is already overloaded.

Interestingly enough, a number of lawyers and attorneys that practice in Missouri (as well as the surrounding states) are speaking out on behalf of this bill as well, according to personal injury lawyer Tracy CA. These lawyers argue that if the statute of limitations block of time is short and significantly individuals will pursue cases a lot more aggressively, will have an opportunity to present higher-quality evidence, and will be able to get the restitution that they deserve much faster as well.

Before these attorneys started to speak out in favor of this bill many assumed that they would be against something that shortens the amount of time they have to start up active cases and push them through the court system.

The attorneys that spoke on record highlighted the fact that witnesses can often move in a reasonable distance away to bring them back to argue their side of the story in court with this lengthy statute of limitations, evidence can “get stale”, memories can fade, and the whole time litigants aren’t able to resolve their case with the help of the best possible evidence available.

A number of senators also believe that this bill is designed to help improve businesses throughout Missouri as well. This offers a lot of certainty, allows for the elimination of a considerable amount of frivolous litigation, and helps stop the flow of lawsuits that are coming in from other states that have shorter statutes of limitation – on burdening Missouri cases dealing with “outsiders” rather than spending all of their resources on Missouri citizens first and foremost.

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Legislators in Kansas Push DUI Reform Bill

The Kansas legislature is pushing forward a new law aimed at allowing those convicted of a DUI the opportunity to have their records expunged in five years, as opposed to the current decade that they must currently wait. The original bill would have reduced that time to three years, but such a law would have fallen outside of current federal guidelines. Federal guidelines require that each state have no shorter than a five year “look back” period for considering prior drunk driving convictions as valid priors and for the convictions to remain on the record in general.

 

The Federal government cannot force States to follow this rule, but they do limit Federal Highway Fund expenditures to such laws being complied with by the states. The same principle applies to the 21 and over drinking age, and the 0.08% blood Alcohol Level limit in general, failure of the states to follow such guidelines makes them ineligible for Federal Highway Fund expenditures.

 
Still, a five year “look back” period would be five years shorter than most states, including California. According to Sacramento Criminal Attorney Michael Rehm, the most common “look back” period is ten years. The most recent change moved the “look back” period from seven to ten years. The courts have ruled that these changes in the laws shall be applied retroactively. This means that if you were convicted of a DUI when the law said the “look back” period was seven years, you are still bound by the ten year “look back” period. This construction of the law by courts has drawn scrutiny from defense attorney advocacy groups, as well as Constitutional scholars. However, this retroactive reading by the Courts would seem to benefit those convicted under the ten year “look back” period in Kansas, who now face only the five year period if the bill becomes a law.



Two Illinois Democrats Vote For Keystone Pipeline

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, two House of Representatives Democrats from Illinois reached across the isle and joined every house Republican from Illinois in voting in favor of the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The two democrats were Cheri Bustos and Dan Lipinski. The Keystone Pipeline is the oil pipeline that will deliver oil from Hardisty, Alberta in Canada to oil refineries in Port Arthur and Houston, Texas. Much debate has focused around the economic boost that the Keystone oil pipeline will have. Bobby Rush, the Democratic House Member from Chicago stated that only around 35 full time jobs will be created, while at the same time, Peter Roskam, a Republican House member from Washington stated that 42, 000 American jobs would be created. That’s a big difference.

There is also debate in the environmental impact the Keystone Pipeline would have with Democrats emphasizing that the pipeline would be disastrous for the environment, while Republicans insist any damage would be nominal and well worth the economic boost that would come in return. For those injured in an auto accident, Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Lawyer will provide assistance.

The measure passed the House 266-153 which is enough to pass the measure, but not enough to override the veto that President Obama has promised should the bill land on his desk. As stated in the Tribune: “This bill is dead on arrival if it ever reaches the president’s desk.” Bobby Rush. Mr. Rush, the House Democrat from Chicago has his claim to fame as the only person to ever defeat President Obama in an election, defeating the then State Senator in the 2000 primary for his House seat.