If you were hurt in a Missouri truck accident, you might have already considering taking your case to court. After all, why should you have to pay out of pocket for hospital bills or car repairs if the other driver was at fault? However, you may be reluctant to take immediate action. While nobody would fault you for caution, Missouri—like every state—has a statute of limitations that can prevent you from getting the recovery you need if you wait too long to file a personal injury claim.
The Statute of Limitations
Every state has statutes of limitations, which can be applied to either criminal cases or civil actions. A statute of limitations is a time frame governing how long someone has to press charges or make a claim against another person or entity. While statutes of limitations can seem unfair, they help prevent bad-faith lawsuits by stopping people from filing complaints about accidents that occurred in the very distant past.
But once the statute of limitations for a particular category of legal action expires, the courts will refuse to hear a claim or dismiss one that is filed—even if you are still in pain and still need help.
How Long You Have to Take Action After a Missouri Truck Accident
You cannot wait forever to take action against a reckless truck driver or negligent trucking company, even if they were directly responsible for your injuries. In Missouri, you have:
- Five years to file a car- or truck-accident-related lawsuit.
- Five years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Five years to file a property damage lawsuit.
Why You Should Act Fast
Even if you have five years to file a complaint, it is always better to act fast. The trucking company will certainly have already begun preparing for the possibility of legal action—and the more of a head-start they get, the harder it will be for you to fight them in court.
If you notify your personal injury attorney of an accident soon after it occurs, they will begin collecting evidence and forming a compelling case immediately. This gives you the advantage in settlement negotiations.