- May 21, 2020
- Kelvin Birk
- Personal Injury
Thousands of people are injured in accidents every year in Missouri. The amount of time you have to sue after an accident depends on what kind of accident it was. This can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the law and the statutes of limitation.
Injured parties have up to two years to file a lawsuit for some personal injuries – such as work accidents, burns, and slip-and-falls – as well as medical malpractice. However, they have up to five years to file a civil lawsuit for car and truck accidents resulting in injury and/or property damage.
To complicate matters further, if an accident results in someone’s death, and a spouse or family member wants to file a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver, the claim must be filed within two years in Missouri. In wrongful death cases, the clock starts ticking on the date of the person’s death, which could be days or weeks after the car accident.
So, if you’re asking yourself “how long do you have to sue after an accident?” the answer is – it depends on the kind of accident it is. Because these laws are complicated, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer to assess your situation and file the proper kind of lawsuit. The attorneys at Birk Law Firm have years of successful experience in handling all kinds of personal injury lawsuits. We fight aggressively on behalf of clients to secure the compensation they deserve. To learn more about how we can help, call us at 573-332-8585. The initial consultation is free.
How long after a car accident can you sue in Missouri?
According to Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.120, persons injured in a vehicle accident – including drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists and bystanders – have five years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The same is true for property damage resulting from the crash. After the five-year window has closed, your opportunity has passed and you may no longer file a claim. If a crash results in someone’s death, surviving family members or a representative have two years to file a wrongful death claim.
As for car insurance claims to cover vehicle property damage, those claims should be filed right away and no longer than a few days after the crash. Also, it’s always important to call police immediately after a vehicle crash so they can respond to the scene and fill out a police report, which you will use as evidence in your injury or wrongful death lawsuit.
The number of traffic fatalities in Missouri in 2019 was 866, representing a slight dip from the 921 highway fatalities in 2018 and 932 highway deaths in 2017, according to data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The top causes of highway crashes continue to be excessive speed, distraction, impairment by alcohol and drugs, and fatigue. Cellphone-related accidents have increased by 35% since 2014, according to state Transportation Department data.
A car accident lawyer at Birk Law Firm can help you file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. We are committed to helping our clients secure the justice they deserve and receive financial compensation.
How long after a car accident can I claim injury?
Sometimes injuries from car accidents can take days, weeks or months to show up. It’s always prudent to get checked out after a vehicle crash, whether that means promptly driving yourself to an urgent care center or making an appointment with your family doctor. Obviously, if you are severely injured in a car crash, you should follow instructions of EMTs and allow yourself to be transported by ambulance to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Seeking medical attention right away after a car accident is important for two reasons:
- You want to make sure you are treated by a doctor to prevent further bleeding, get stitches, have broken bones set, and be checked out for internal organ damage. Your health is your first concern.
- Getting prompt medical attention is also important because these medical records documenting your injuries will be used later to build your legal claim. Even if you feel like you’re okay after a car crash, it’s best to be seen by a doctor for a check-up.
You can claim injury and file a lawsuit up to five years after a vehicle crash, but you should never wait that long to see a doctor. Seek medical attention as soon as you experience pain or symptoms. To find out more about why medical records matter in these lawsuits, call us at 573-332-8585. We would be happy to answer your questions.
How long after a car accident can you file a claim?
Let’s review how long after an accident you can file a claim:
- For vehicle accidents, you have five years from the date of the crash to file a personal injury or property damage claim in civil court.
- For wrongful death cases, you have two years from the date of the person’s death to file a claim.
- For other kinds of personal injury claims (work accident, slips and falls, burns, dog bites, etc.) you have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim.
In all cases, the sooner you file a lawsuit the better, before evidence is lost and the accident scene is cleared. If at all possible, take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene with your mobile phone immediately after the accident. Get contact information from witnesses, and in the case of car crashes, get the other driver’s phone number and vehicle insurance information. These things will help you build a stronger personal injury claim.
Contact an experienced Cape Girardeau lawyer today
If you or a family member has been injured in a car crash or other accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Courts can award damages to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs. If someone died as a result of an accident, family members can file a wrongful death claim. To find out more about your legal rights after an accident, contact a skilled and experienced Missouri injury lawyer at Birk Law Firm. The initial consultation is free, so call us at 573-332-8585.
Attorney Kelvin Birk
Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas. [ Attorney Bio ]