What Are The Missouri Car Accident Statute of Limitations?

Remember that car accident you were involved in a few years ago?

It might not be too late to file a lawsuit.

The statute of limitations in Missouri is longer than many other states, meaning you have more time to prepare and present your case.

Not sure if you missed the mark?

Keep reading below to learn more about the statute of limitations in Missouri and when you can and can’t file a claim.

What Are The Missouri Car Accident Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations for car accidents is a time limit that the law sets on your right to file a lawsuit in court.

This gives anyone involved in the crash time to recovery from the accident, figure out the full extent of their injuries, find out how much vehicle damage there was, etc.

Every state has its own statute of limitations, most of them being about two years long. But Missouri is a bit more liberal.

Here’s a closer look at the two different statutes of limitation for car accidents in Missouri.

Car Accident Involving Injury

For a car accident that involves injury, you have five years to file a civil lawsuit. This time limit starts counting down from the day of your accident.

This statute of limitations applies to anyone who was involved in the accident, including drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclist, etc.

Car Accident Involving Death

If someone died in or because of the car accident, your statute of limitations lowers to three years.


Because if you want to file a wrongful death claim against the driver at fault, you only have three years to make that type of claim.

Your three years start the day the person died. Keep in mind, this might be a different date than the car accident itself.

What’s the Purpose of the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations serves two purposes.

First, it gives anyone involved in the accident plenty of time to gather evidence and prepare for their case.

But, more importantly, the statute of limitations is put in place to protect the defendant (the person you’re going to sue). The statute of limitations prevents someone from taking the defendant to court whenever they please, even if that time is 20 years after the accident.

What Happens if You Miss the Statute of Limitations?

If you don’t file your lawsuit within five (or three years) of the accident, you’ve missed your chance to file a claim.

The court will most likely refuse to hear your case even if you try to file it after the statute of limitations is up. The only way they would listen to your case is if you have some very rare exceptions.

What’s the Best Time to File My Lawsuit?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. The best time to file your lawsuit will depend on your individual case.

But it’s better to file your lawsuit sooner rather than later.

Procrastinating until the last possible moment will mean you have to rush, which could make the process more difficult and stressful. You also run the risk of missing the statute of limitations altogether. If this happens, you won’t be able to continue with your case at all.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations in Missouri

The statute of limitations in Missouri gives you five years to file your lawsuit against the driver who’s at fault. If you miss this timeframe, you miss your opportunity to file a claim at all.

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