Being in a car accident can lead to both personal injury and property damage. If you’ve been in a car accident in Kansas City that wasn’t your fault, getting compensation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver is probably something you are interested in. From the moment the accident happens, however, the clock starts ticking down on the statute of limitations, which determines the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit. Here’s what you need to know about how the statute of limitations in Missouri will affect your case in Kansas City:
What Is The Statute of Limitations?
As mentioned previously, the Missouri Statute of Limitations dictates the amount of time a person is legally given to bring up a lawsuit in the court. In the case of car accidents, section §516.120 of the law allows for anyone involved in the accident, including the driver, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, or cyclists, to file a civil lawsuit in court within five years from the date of the accident. This applies to both personal injury and personal property damage, either of which may be relevant to a car accident claim.
There is, however, an adjustment to this time period if the car accident involved a fatality and a wrongful death claim needs to be filed. If the vehicular accident resulted in someone’s death, either family members or other representatives of the deceased are given three years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver on behalf of the deceased victim. The death may have occurred the same date of the accident or at a later date.
Regardless of the car accident case, winning a lawsuit will depend on the ability of the filing party to prove negligence of the other party. In the state of Missouri, pure comparative fault formulas dictate that a person may recover damage for the whatever percentage of the accident was not their fault, whether that percent is one or 100.
What Happens if I File a Lawsuit After the Statute of Limitations Has Expired?
It is very unlikely that a lawsuit filed after the statute of limitations has passed would win or even be heard. The defending party, or person you’re trying to sue, has the right to file a motion for the court to dismiss the case, which would most likely be granted by the court. There are some rare exceptions for which the statute of limitations might be delayed, or “tolled,” in Missouri. This includes instances where the plaintiff was unable to file a lawsuit due to a disability or being a minor. For specifics on how an exception may apply to your case, it is important to consult with an attorney.
Work With an Attorney
To avoid running into problems with the statute of limitations, it is best to give yourself plenty of time to file a car accident lawsuit, regardless of whether or not you think the case will likely conclude with an insurance settlement. Even just having the option of bringing a case to court may give you the leverage you need to achieve maximum compensation. For help with your Kansas City, Missouri claim, contact a car accident attorney in Kansas City at Krause and Kinsman Law Firm for a free consultation.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.