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Proposal would shrink time for filing personal injury lawsuits in Missouri

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Missouri lawmakers want to reduce the time people have to file personal injury lawsuits

Missouri would shorten the statute of limitations on filing personal injury claims to three years from five years in a bill moving through the state Senate.


The measure is sponsored by Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby. He suggests shortening the time frame will bring Missouri’s legal climate into the 21st century.

“Missouri has not amended the five-year statute since 1939,” he told the Senate government reform committee Wednesday. “While five years may have made sense in an age when transportation and communication were more challenging, there is no reason today for an injured person to need so much time to file the action.”

Other supporters argue that shortening the statute of limitations would help improve Missouri’s overall legal climate. The bill is part of a push at reducing the number of lawsuits, known as tort reform.

David Klarich, representing the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, spoke against the bill.

“One of the advantages of a five-year statute of limitations over a shorter period of time is it gives plaintiffs, or those people who have been hurt through no fault of their own, the opportunity to settle these cases,” he said.

In last year’s State of the State Address, Gov. Eric Greitens cited a report that referred to St. Louis as the nation’s worst “judicial hellhole,” and has made tort reform one of his top priorities.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.