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Will the Statute of Limitations Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

|Posted on March 9, 2017 in Personal Injury |

When you suffer an injury, it always makes sense to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Not only because it is easier to preserve evidence after your injury, but there is also a legal limit on how long you have to file any personal injury claim.

Under the legal rule known as the statute of limitations, you must file your lawsuit within a specific amount of time or it is barred forever. All states have this rule in place. It protects defendants from being sued decades later and restricts the plaintiff to filing their lawsuit within a timeframe so that the evidence is fresh enough for both parties.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations will vary depending on the state where you plan to file your personal injury claim, as well as the type of claim involved. Generally, the clock begins to run” from the time you are injured. There are some very limited exceptions that will extend this time to when the injury is “discovered” or if the defendant concealed evidence. But, these exceptions only apply to very specific circumstance and specific types of claims. There is no guarantee that these exceptions will apply in your case. Therefore, it is important to seek out an attorney as soon as possible. While the rules is that you must file your personal injury claim lawsuit within that timeframe, but it does not have to settle in that time. Instead, you must submit the initial petition to start the process. It is also important to note that in some jurisdictions (including Kansas) you must also formally serve the Defendant with the lawsuit within a certain timeframe after filing in order to preserve your statute of limitations.

The Statute of Limitations in Kansas and Missouri

Every state has its own statute of limitations for personal injury claims. Further, causes of actions for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims are governed by different statute of limitations as well. Finally, there can be different time frames depending on who you are suing. Therefore, it is important to seek counsel immediately. Generally, for garden variety personal injury claims, the limitations are as follows:

Kansas: The state of Kansas limits you to two years for general personal injury, product liability, and wrongful death actions. K.S.A. § 60-513(a)(4); K.S.A. § 60-513(a)(5). You are also given two years to file your claim for medical malpractice. K.S.A. § 60-513(a)(7) & (a)(7). Importantly, there are also general notice provisions when you are suing specific entities that are shorter than this time frame. Kansas also has a statute of repose, K.S.A. 60-3303, that defines the useful safe life of a product at ten-years for product liability actions.

Missouri: Missouri limits you to five years for general personal injury and product liability actions. R.S.Mo. § 516.120. You have three years for a wrongful death case from the date of death. R.S.Mo. § 537.100. You have two years for a medical malpractice action. R.S.Mo. § 516.105 
There are also general notice provisions applicable when you are suing specific entities that are shorter than this time frame.

Consult a Lawyer As Soon As Possible

Most victims are aware that they were harmed by someone’s negligence long before the statute of limitations runs out. However, there are rare cases where someone may not discover the injury until sometime later.

Regardless of how much time has passed (whether days or years), do not assume you do not have a case. Instead, contact a personal injury attorney.

An attorney can review the facts and help determine whether you are within the statute of limitations and if you will have any exceptions that you can present to the court.

The team at Wendt Law Firm, P.C. is here to help you with your claim. We understand the local statutes, and we can assist you with your personal injury lawsuit today. 
Schedule your free consultation with our Kansas City personal injury attorneys by contacting us toll- free at 866-539-4415 or request an appointment online.