Missouri Senate debates bill to reduce statute of limitations; how would that affect you?

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The Brown & Crouppen Legal Lens takes a closer look at everyday legal issues and gives you a better understanding of topics that may affect you.

ST. LOUIS – A proposed bill in the Missouri Senate would shorten the statute of limitations for lawsuits from five years to two years.

“If you’re hurt because of somebody’s negligence, you only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit. And that date really starts on the day of injury,” Andrea McNairy, managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen, said. “There are exceptions, like if there is a minor child hurt, sometimes that statute can be put on hold. But generally, statutes are very strict and if you miss a deadline, you can forever be banned from bringing a lawsuit.”

What’s the reasoning for shortening the statute of limitations in the state of Missouri right now?

“Proponents say shortening the statute will shorten the time and protect possible defendants from lawsuits being filed many years later after the event and make the court system run more efficiently,” McNairy said.

So why would people want to keep it the same way?

“The proponents say there is no need; this is fine, there is no issue with the system. If you look at other states—where they have looked at their statute of limitations—seems to be more clogged than Missouri,” McNairy said. “It also forces people to file a lawsuit before they might be ready. For instance, if they are still seeking medical treatment or they haven’t had a complete chance to investigate to see if a lawsuit is viable or it doesn’t give them a chance to settle a lawsuit…or settle a claim without filing a lawsuit which a lot of cases are settled out of court.”

So what can we do to have our voices heard on this?

“If you want to sound off on this issue or any issue before the legislature, you can contact your senator at www.senate.mo.gov. You can email them; they make it very easy on the website,” McNairy said.

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