Statute of Limitations Missouri Statute of Limitations, Civil Actions

  1. The Missouri Statute of Limitations for civil actions sets a time limit after an injury or civil wrong occurs, during which an injured party can file a lawsuit. After that period of time expires, the injured party is no longer permitted to file a claim in a Missouri state court to litigate that matter. The statute ensures that lawsuits that have merit and worthy of being heard are filed within a reasonable time or not at all.

    How Does the Statute of Limitations Operate?

    The period of time to file a claim will vary depending upon the type of incident that occurred. A claim against a doctor for medical malpractice may be for a different length of time than against an accountant for negligence or fraud. The Missouri statute of limitations can generally be found within the Missouri Revised Statutes and covers the following rules and exceptions in greater detail.

    When does the Missouri Statute of Limitations Begin?

    Other than for specific exceptions, the Missouri statute of limitations generally begins to run at the time when a "cause of action arises" - in other words, at the time when an injury occurs that would qualify for a lawsuit to be filed in a Missouri state court.

    What is the Discovery Rule?

    There are times when a person is unable to discover that they have been injured. It wouldn't be fair or reasonable to require the injured party to file a lawsuit when they could not have detected the injury. As a result, in some instances the Missouri statute of limitations begins to run from the time the injured party discovers or should have discovered that they have been injured.

    Delaying or Tolling the Missouri Statute of Limitations

    In certain circumstances, fairness would require that the statute of limitations be delayed for a period of time. A party may not have the ability to bring a case even though they are aware of an injury or damages. Delaying or "tolling" the statute of limitations typically occurs when the plaintiff is "disabled" - such as a minor child or a person who is mentally incompetent. Once the disability ends, the statute of limitations begins to run.

    Calculating the length of time that a plaintiff has to file a lawsuit is complicated and involves many factors and exceptions. Parties that have suffered significant injuries or damages may wish to consult with a Missouri attorney to ensure that all claims and notices are filed within the time limits set forth by law.

    Missouri Legislature: Missouri Revised Statutes

    Personal Injury and Negligence

    5 years, generally. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 516.120, §516.140
    • (1) All actions upon contracts, obligations or liabilities, express or implied, except those mentioned in section 516.110, and except upon judgments or decrees of a court of record, and except where a different time is herein limited;
    • (2) An action upon a liability created by a statute other than a penalty or forfeiture;
    • (3) An action for trespass on real estate;
    • (4) An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the recovery of specific personal property, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not herein otherwise enumerated;
    • (5) An action for relief on the ground of fraud, the cause of action in such case to be deemed not to have accrued until the discovery by the aggrieved party, at any time within ten years, of the facts constituting the fraud.

    Wrongful Death

    3 years. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 537.100

    Medical Malpractice

    2 years. Within two years from the date of occurrence of the act of neglect complained. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 516.105

    Professional Malpractice

    5 years. Accountant Malpractice. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 516.120

    Products Liability

    5 years. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 516.120 - Regarding discovery, use § 516.100 to determine when the cause of action accrues (and the Statute of Limitations begins to run.) Also see § 516.190.

    Intentional Torts

    2 years, generally.

    Assault and Battery

    2 years.

    False Imprisonment

    2 year.


    • Written contracts 5 years, for those concerning payment of money or property - 10 years. Oral contracts 5 years. §516.120(1); 516.110; Oral: 5 yrs. §516.120(1)
    • Employment agreements - 2 years. See Mo. Rev. Stat. § 516.140


    10 years. §516.120(5)

    Personal Property Damages

    5 years. §516.120(4)


    5 years. §516.120(3)

    Libel / Slander / Defamation

    2 years from the date of publication (or the date when spoken).

    Debt Collection Accounts

    10 years, if in writing. §516.10(1)

    Collection of Rent

    10 years. §516.110(3)

    Judgment Enforcement

    10 years. §516.350

    Liability of State and Municipalities

    Yes, although claims are permitted typically for general negligence, including the operation of motor vehicles by municipal employees.

    No-Fault Insurance


    Discovery Rule

    Generally the statute of limitations runs from the date injury is, or should have been, discovered. See the medical malpractice statute for specific application.

    Comparative Negligence

    Missouri has a comparative negligence statute.

    Consumer Fraud Complaints

    Missouri Attorney General

    Telephone: (816) 889-5000
    Main Office: (573) 751-3321
    Consumer Protection: (800) 392-8222

    Please Take Note: The statute of limitations laws presented are strictly provided to you “as-is”. While we believe that the legal information is accurate as of the date created, we cannot and do not provide any guarantee, analysis or conclusions. The law may have changed since this article was published. The only way to ensure that the statute of limitations law you are reading is up to date and applies to your specific issue, is to have a legal consultation with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri.
    • Missouri
    Lawsuits, Disputes:
    Statute Of Limitations

    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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