Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Bill Threatens to Shorten Missouri’s Statute of Limitations

A bill has been filed in Missouri’s Legislature to shorten the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. The statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a personal injury case. Once it’s passed, you are forever barred from making a recovery for your injuries in a personal injury incident.

Currently, the statute of limitations in Missouri is 5 years, generally speaking. The bill, HB 272, shortens the statute of limitations to two years. As a personal injury lawyer practicing mainly in Missouri for almost 20 years, here are the reasons why I think shortening the statute of limitations is a bad idea.

1. It would cut off too many valid cases.

There are many reasons why someone would wait longer than two years to bring a personal injury case and often those reasons are through no fault of their own.

For example, it might not be apparent the victim’s injuries were caused by someone’s negligence, or the victim might still be getting medical care for their injuries and unable to bring a case. For many valid and legitimate personal injury cases, two years just isn’t enough time to bring a case, and too many people would lose out on their rights.

2. It would infringe on your rights.

Shortening the statute of limitations in personal injury cases would also infringe on our constitutional rights. Personal injury cases exist because of our constitutional right to a jury trial.

Without the ability to hold wrongdoers accountable for their negligence, there would be no deterrence to wrongdoing. You would have no ability to get monetary compensation for injuries you receive from someone else’s negligence. It is a constitutional right. Shortening the time to use that right is an infringement that should not be allowed.

3. It would incentivize cover-ups.

If a wrongdoer can cover up their negligence, then their victim wouldn’t have the chance to sue them for compensation. Therefore, shortening the time to bring a case from five years to two years would encourage wrongdoers to delay or conceal their negligence. It’s much easier to hide for two years than it is for five years.

These are but a few reasons why you should encourage your legislature to vote no for HB 272. It is too harmful for victims of negligence.