Missouri Personal Injury Law
Statutes of Limitations: The amount of time you have to sue whoever caused your injury or damage.
- Personal Injury – 5 years from when the injury was discovered
- Damage to Personal Property –5 years
- Medical malpractice – 2 years from the date of discovery of the injury
- Legal malpractice – 5 years
- Other professional malpractice – 5 years
Where to Sue:
- Personal injury claims under $3,000 – Missouri Small Claims Court
- Personal injury claims over $3,000 – Missouri Circuit Court
How to Sue:
Small Claims Court:
Missouri Petition Small Claims Court (Form SC 40). Summons
- Where to file: In the small claims court where the plaintiff or defendant resides, or where the injury occurred.
- How to notify the defendant (service): Ask the small claims court clerk to mail the Missouri Petition Small Claims Court form and Summons to the defendant by certified or registered mail more than 10 days before the hearing. Alternatively, a sheriff or disinterested person over the age of 18 may serve the defendant.
- Proving the defendant was notified: The certified or registered mail card is adequate proof of service. If the defendant is served personally, the process server must sign and return an affidavit verifying that the defendant received service of process.
- Attorneys: Attorney representation at trial in Missouri Small Claims Court is allowed.
- Appealing a small claim: Either party may appeal to a Missouri Circuit Court for a new trial within 10 days of the entry of the judgment.
Missouri Circuit Court: Prior to filing your case, consult a Missouri personal injury attorney. There are many requirements and deadlines associated with filing a personal injury claim and the forms are complicated. Errors could cause you to lose your right to reasonable compensation for your claims.
- Forms: Complaint – a summons will be issued by the Missouri Circuit Court Clerk when you file your complaint at the Missouri Circuit Court.
- How to File: File your complaint with a Missouri Circuit Court Clerk. The clerk will stamp the complaint and issue a summons, which should be mailed or served on the defendant.
- How to Notify the Defendant: Notify the defendant either by mail with two copies of a notice and acknowledgment of receipt and a postage prepaid envelope, or by personal service by a person 18 years or older who is not a party to the case or a sheriff. If you choose to use mail, you must serve the defendant personally if you do not receive the acknowledgment of receipt from the defendant within 20 days.
What to Do if You Are Being Sued:
- Time to respond to a Summons in Missouri: 30 days.
- Consult a qualified lawyer.
- Contact your insurance company if your injury is related to an occurrence at your business or your home. If insurance covers your claim, your insurance company may provide you with lawyer representation.
What to Do if a Judgment Was Entered Against You:
If you do not reply to a summons in Missouri within 30 days of receiving service, a default judgment may be entered against you. Entrance of a default judgment means, in effect, that the plaintiff has succeeded in his case, and you must pay the money the plaintiff seeks.
- Time to Set Aside a Judgment in Missouri:
- A Missouri Circuit Court can set aside a judgment for mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, or for fraud or newly discovered evidence not more than one year after entry of the judgment
- Get in touch with a lawyer if the court has granted a default judgment against you.
Ways to Collect Your Judgment:
- If you win your Missouri personal injury lawsuit, you may collect your judgment by asking the defendant to pay. If the defendant does not pay, you can ask the court to enter an order demanding satisfaction of the judgment immediately. If the defendant still refuses to pay the judgment, you can file a writ of execution directing a sheriff to seize the defendant’s personal or real property or file a writ of garnishment to garnish the defendant’s wages or bank accounts.
- Consult a Missouri debt collection attorney for help in collecting your judgment.