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How Does the Statute of Limitations Impact Your Car Accident Claim?

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What is a Statute of Limitations?

Each state has a statute of limitations on both criminal and civil matters. This timeline allows all parties to understand how long they have to pursue charges against someone in court. It will enable memories or evidence to remain fresh in all cases so courts have relevant evidence.

In many cases, crimes like murder or other serious charges will not have a statute of limitations so those cases can be pursued indefinitely.

All parties must abide by the statute of limitations for the charges they are pursuing in order to have a relevant case. It’s important to note that even if there is strong evidence to support a lawsuit if it’s filed beyond the statute of limitations, courts may likely dismiss the case.

The Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents in Missouri

In Missouri, the statute of limitations for car accidents or similar personal injury cases is five years from the date of the accident. While this may seem like a long time, as most states provide only two years to pursue a claim following a car accident, this time period allows for more severe injuries to finalize further or heal to ensure all relevant medical issues can be accounted for and compensated for.

Why Waiting is Sometimes Necessary

While it may seem like years is a long time to wait to pursue charges, those cases where injuries are severe may need years to finalize. For example, if an injury requires multiple surgeries or years of physical therapy, it’s helpful to gather relevant medical bills before pursuing compensation so the numbers are more accurate.

Your experienced personal injury attorney also has the opportunity to forecast estimates of future medical expenses based on the injuries that you have sustained in a car accident. For example, with consistent medical exams and known prescribed future treatment, your attorney can estimate what bills you can expect in the future and account for those in your case.

It’s important to note that future medical expenses, lost wages, or the difference between a new salary level and where you were before the accident may apply.

As an example, if, before the accident, you were able to perform at a different capacity at work and are now limited due to injuries, you may factor this difference in your future wages as part of your total damages.

What Needs to Be Done Immediately Regardless of When I Pursue Compensation?

While you may wish to wait to pursue damages in court, you should not wait to gather relevant evidence. Work with your attorney to ensure you have all relevant evidence fully documented to strengthen a future case.

Evidence should be gathered immediately to ensure accuracy, such as pictures or video of the accident scene and vehicles involved, contact information for eyewitnesses, medical or property damage bills, and more.

By gathering this information right away, you can also ensure that the opposing party can’t refute evidence showing that your injuries or other damages weren’t a direct result of the accident.

For example, suppose you wait to seek medical attention. In that case, this may allow the other party to dispute that the injuries may have occurred elsewhere and were not directly related to the accident and, therefore, aren’t covered in your case.

Types of Damages You May Pursue Following a Car Accident in Missouri

Two main categories of damages are available after a car accident in Missouri. They are economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are more tangible in nature in that they can be easily calculated through medical or car repair bills. Other economic damages may include lost wages, transportation costs, rental car expenses, and more.

Non-economic damages are typically intangible, such as costs for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and more. Your attorney can calculate a reasonable cost of these losses and ensure you are accurately compensated.

Missouri also follows a comparative fault principle, which means that each party is assigned fault following an accident, and this percentage reduces their portion of the damages based on whether they were found to be partially at fault for the accident occurring.

For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident occurring, you may still pursue damages, but your portion of the compensation would be reduced by 20%.

Based on this, it’s crucial to ensure that your evidence strongly supports your level of liability in a car accident so your portion of the compensation is not undercut.

By gathering and documenting evidence immediately following a car accident, you can help ensure that an accurate picture of the cause of the accident is presented in court.

Contact Your Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Immediately

Once you have secured a complete medical exam, it’s essential to reach out to your personal injury attorney promptly so they can begin to gather supportive evidence. Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be challenging if it’s not something you often do. That’s where the experience of a personal injury attorney comes in.

They can reach out to relevant parties, initiate negotiations on your behalf, and handle other necessary communication while you focus on the medical attention your injuries require.

Our office has several years of combined experience helping clients effectively pursue the damages they deserve and avoid settling for less.

Contact our office today at (314) 347-3567 to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about why our clients trust our capabilities and find peace of mind no matter where they are in their lives by relying on us to be their legal advocates.

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