The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry feels state lawmakers should evaluate whether the state’s statute of limitations in certain civil cases, including personal injury claims, best serves all parties involved in potential cases.
This year, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R- Parkville) has introduced SB 117 which modifies the statutes of limitations and liability of private contractors.
Under current state law, actions for personal injury can be brought within five years from the time the injury occurred. This bill would shorten that to within two years from the time the injury occurred.
During a recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, which Sen. Luetkemeyer chairs, he said Missouri’s lengthy statute of limitations increases uncertainty for all parties, and a shorter time period would promote prompt resolution to potential disputes.
“For every day that passes following an injury, the risk increases that evidence will be lost or inadvertently destroyed that will disprove a claim, including faded memories, death of key witnesses or the loss of physical evidence,” Luetkemeyer said.
The Missouri Chamber supports modifying the statute of limitations called for in Sen. Luetkemeyer’s bill. During this hearing, Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs Heidi Sutherland testified that the five-year statute of limitations on personal injury suits is double or more the amount of time provided by many other states. Only three other states, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota, have statute of limitations longer than Missouri for personal injury lawsuits.
“Allowing a longer time before filing means you lose witnesses, you lose documents, memories get hazy, and that really slants the system against the defendant, which often includes businesses,” Sutherland said.