AIM's top tort priority, statute of limitations, heard in committee
January 11, 2022- Today, Associated Industries of Missouri president/CEO Ray McCarty testified in support of SB 631, sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman, a bill that would change the statute of limitations for filing personal injury lawsuits in Missouri from five years to two years. The bill was heard in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence, chaired by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer.
Missouri law provides plaintiffs with among the lengthiest statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in the country. Only three other states states have a longer statute of limitations period on personal injury than Missouri. The state’s general tort statute of limitations gives a plaintiff five years to file a claim—double or more the amount of time provided by almost every other state. Two years is the most common limit on such suits.
Why is this a problem?
AIM believes this is necessary because over time many things can happen. Memories fade, records are lost or discarded and witnesses die or cannot be located. This loss of evidence over time can impair the ability of judges and juries to properly evaluate what occurred initially and the ability of the person sued to defend themselves.
A two-year statute of limitations is sound public policy:
The proposed legislation will bring Missouri into the mainstream by setting a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims.
A two-year period provides sufficient time for an injured person to obtain representation and file a lawsuit while preventing unnecessary delay during which evidence is lost and memories fade.
Missouri already has a two-year statute of limitations for other types of claims including medical malpractice, libel, slander, assault and battery. Wrongful death cases must be filed within 3 years.
The Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys opposed the bill while many business advocates and the insurance industry testified in support. No action was taken by the Committee today. We will keep you posted of the bill's progress.