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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