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March 20, 2023

How long do I have to file a lawsuit?

Cases are governed by Missouri’s Statutes of Limitations (“SOL”). If your claim is not resolved through a settlement prior to the end of the applicable SOL, you must file a lawsuit. Failure to settle or file within the SOL means your claim is forever barred. Claims have different SOL. Here are some:

  • 1 Year SOL (RSMo 516.145): actions against the department of corrections
  • 2 Year SOL (RSMo 516.140): libel, slander, injurious falsehood, assault, batter, false imprisonment, criminal conversion, and malicious prosecution. Employment claims mut be brought within 2 years (unpaid wages, discrimination, unpaid minimum wages/overtime, FLSA actions). Additionally, all medical malpractice lawsuits must be filed within two years (RSMo 516.105).
  • 3-Year SOL (RSMo 516.130): acts against a sheriff, coroner, or other officer in their official capacities. Wrongful death claims must be filed within 3 years as well (RSMo 537.100).
  • 5-Year SOL (RSMo 516.120): certain contracts, liability created by a statute (other than a penalty or forfeiture), trespass on real estate, injuries to goods/chattels, injuries, fraud (however, the cause of action does not accrue until the discovery by the aggrieved party).
  • 10-Year SOL (RSMo 516.110): actions upon a writing for the payment of money or property, actions related to a covenant of warranty contained in a deed of conveyance of land.

These are just a few Missouri SOL. Federal claims have limitations as well. There are other considerations when addressing a SOL. For example, there are special rules for minors, where the statutes do not begin to run until the minor is 18. Because of the additional considerations, it is important to speak to an attorney immediately.

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