Being attacked or injured by another person’s dog can be unexpected and frightening. We see dogs every day, and more often than not they do not attack. But when the worst happens, juggling everyday life on top of the injuries and betrayed sense of safety can be extremely difficult. On top of that, the long-term costs and care can feel burdensome and unmanageable.
It is important to retain relevant documents and bills and to take legal action as soon as possible when you have experienced a dog attack. If you wait too long, you may miss out on your chance to be compensated for your injuries. That is because of a law called the statute of limitations, which assigns a specific amount of time to file certain types of lawsuits. Simply put, they are time limits. Every state has different statutes of limitations for different types of claims.
The Statute of Limitations in Missouri
Missouri’s statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims, which includes dog bite cases, is five years from the day of the injury. That means a person who suffers a dog bite must be ready to file a lawsuit within five years after being bitten.
There are some exceptions to the rule. In Missouri, if the injured party is a minor, the statute of limitations does not start until they turn 21. That would give them until the age of 26 to file their claim. Another exception is when the parties agree to lengthen or shorten the statute of limitations. Further, the statute of limitations can be “tolled” or stopped under specific circumstances.
Five years may seem like a lot of time, but it is amazing how busy life can get. If you fail to file your claim within the five-year mark, you will most likely lose your chance to recover financially for your losses. That is why it is best to not delay and consult with a trusted attorney soon as you can after the incident.
What Is the Point of a Statute of Limitations?
You may be wondering why states enact statutes of limitations. One reason is to protect defendants from untimely litigation. It encourages plaintiffs to practice due diligence in pursuing their claims and to file their cases in a timely manner. Timeliness is important because evidence—for both defendants and plaintiffs—can get lost or forgotten as time goes on.
Statutes of limitations also exist to preserve justice. Litigating a long-forgotten claim can be more cruel than just. For example, imagine if someone were to attempt to file a claim regarding a bite from 30 years ago. Both parties would have very little evidence to support their positions.
Get in Touch With a Proactive Dog Bite Lawyer at OnderLaw
When you or a loved one suffers a dog bite injury, you do not need to handle what comes next alone. The legal system can be complicated, especially if some time has passed since the date of the incident. Reach out to a legal professional today to help you navigate your rights in the legal process.