St. Louis Attorneys Helping Individuals and Businesses throughout Missouri and Illinois Ensure that Their Claims are Filed in a Timely Manner

Statutes of limitation are laws that govern the time in which a lawsuit must be filed after a certain event. There are statutes of limitation in both civil and criminal cases. If a case is not filed within the statute of limitations, it will be dismissed by a court.

If you are considering legal action, it is important that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. If you do not take action on a lawsuit in a timely way, you risk passing the deadline to file. It does not matter if your case would have easily been won.

Statute of Limitations by Case Type

Different types of cases have different deadlines by which a plaintiff or a prosecutor has to bring a case. Typically, the clock begins ticking on the date of the accident or act giving rise to the claim. For example, in Missouri, a car accident lawsuit must be brought within five years from the date of the accident as this is a personal injury action.

Missouri Civil Cases
  • Personal Injury – 5 years
  • Medical Malpractice – 2 years from discovery, with maximum up to 10 years
  • Product Liability – 5 years
  • Wrongful Death – 3 years
  • Assault and Battery – 2 years
  • Contract (oral or not in writing) – 5 years
  • False Imprisonment – 2 years
  • Enforcing Court Judgments – 10 years
  • Collection of Debts on Account – 10 years if in writing
  • Legal Malpractice – 5 years
  • Libel – 2 years
  • Slander – 2 years
  • Property Damage – 5 years
  • Fraud – 10 years
Missouri Criminal Cases
  • Arson, no time limit or 3 years (depending on the facts of the case)
  • Burglary – 3 years
  • Disorderly Conduct – 1 year
  • Kidnapping – no time limit or 3 years (depending on the facts of the case)
  • Manslaughter, Voluntary – 3 years
  • Manslaughter, Involuntary – 3 years
  • Murder, First Degree – no time limit
  • Murder, Second Degree – no time limit
  • Rape – no time limit
  • Receiving Stolen Property – 1 or 3 years (depending on the facts of the case)
  • Robbery – no time limit or 3 years (depending on the facts of the case)
  • Theft – no time limit, or 1 or 3 years (depending on the type and value of the property stolen)
The Purpose of Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitation are in place to provide fairness for people who are being sued or prosecuted. These deadlines are also in place to only let claims proceed that have suitable evidence. Old causes of action may not be proven or disproven because the evidence in the case is degraded or lost.

Discovery Rule in Injury Cases

In most cases, the clock begins ticking from the date of the accident that gave rise to the injury. However, the statute of limitations may not begin to run if the plaintiff did not know and could not know that the injuries were sustained on that date. Under the discovery rule, the statute of limitation begins to run when the injury should have reasonably been discovered. This rule frequently comes up in medical malpractice cases. If a doctor commits malpractice, it may take a couple of years to determine that malpractice took place. When this happens, victims are often still able to bring a legal claim under the discovery rule even though the actual malpractice took place well outside of the statute of limitations.

Contact a St. Louis Civil or Criminal Defense Attorney

Speaking with an attorney as soon as you are injured or determine that you have a cause of action will also mean that your case can be thoroughly investigated before a suit is filed. To the extent practicable, all claims stemming from the same accident or action should be filed at the same time.

Kilo Flynn attorneys have worked on civil and criminal cases throughout Missouri and Illinois and regularly work with clients in the City of St. Louis and the Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford, and the Illinois counties of Madison, St. Clair and Monroe.

If you believe you have a legal claim, you should talk to an attorney as soon as you can. Doing so will minimize any risk that your claim may later be barred due to the applicable statute of limitations. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call Kilo Flynn today at 314-647-8910 or contact us online.