Time is a crucial factor in the legal world, especially when it comes to car accident claims. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated. At Foster Wallace, LLC, we emphasize the importance of understanding and adhering to these deadlines to safeguard your right to compensation. Let us explore how the statute of limitations can affect your car accident claim.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Missouri
In Missouri, the statute of limitations for most car accident claims is five years from the date of the accident. This means you have five years to file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the accident. If you fail to file within this timeframe, your case is typically barred forever, and you lose the ability to recover any damages for your injuries.
Exceptions to the Rule
While five years may seem like a long time, there are some exceptions (and these are not exhaustive):
- Minor Plaintiffs: If the injured party is a minor, the clock may not start running until they reach 18 years old.
- Incapacitation: If the injured party is incapacitated, the statute may be tolled until the incapacitation is lifted.
- Wrongful Death: In cases of wrongful death, the statute of limitations can be different, often two or three years (depending on a few different factors).
- Certain Cases against Police and Municipalities
Why Timing Matters
Evidence Preservation: Over time, evidence can be lost or destroyed, and witness memories can fade. Prompt action ensures that the evidence to support your claim is preserved. Your lawyer should get video evidence and witness statements quickly after a wreck. People vanish, and evidence can get deleted – you need to preserve all relevant evidence.
Negotiating with Insurance Companies: While the statute of limitations applies to filing a lawsuit, it also indirectly affects negotiations with insurance companies. If you have plenty of time to file a lawsuit, you have more leverage in negotiations.
Seeking Medical Attention: Timely medical attention not only supports your health but also creates a record of your injuries, which is vital to your claim. By hiring a lawyer, the attorney can assist in making sure you see good doctors who can properly diagnose your injuries and tied them back to the wreck as well.
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Assessment: We can navigate you through the waters you never expected to be in before and assess your case and put it in the best possible light for settlement talks or a jury verdict.
Case Preparation: Our team will prepare your case in a timely fashion, ensuring that all filings are done within the legal time limits.
Strategic Action: We take strategic actions early in your case to preserve all your legal options, including settlement negotiations and, if necessary, a lawsuit.
The Importance of Immediate Legal Consultation: Consulting with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident is crucial. The Kansas City-based personal injury lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC offers expert guidance from the outset, ensuring that the statute of limitations does not become a barrier to your claim.