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In the state of Missouri, how long do I have to settle a case involving personal injury?

Saint Louis, MO |

Five years ago, my 12-year-old son (7 at time of injury) suffered a shattered elbow while in the care of the YMCA latchkey program at school. They turned the claim over to their insurance company. They have admitted fault and said they would not fight us and will pay for everything. We have not yet settled with them because we want to ensure his growth plates are going to close correctly and that he will not require an additional surgery. How long can we wait until we have to settle with them?

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Best Answer

The Missouri statute of limitations for tort claims is 5 years. However, 516.030 applies to minors as follows:
If any person entitled to commence any action in sections 516.010 and 516.090 specified or to make any entry be, at the time such right or title shall first descend or accrue, either within the age of eighteen years, or mentally incapacitated, the time during which such disability shall continue shall not be deemed any portion of the time in sections 516.010 to 516.090 limited for the commencement of such action or the making of such entry; but such person may bring such action or make such entry after the time so limited, and within three years after such disability is removed; provided, that no such action shall be commenced, had or maintained or entry made by any person laboring under the disabilities specified in this section, after twenty-one years after the cause of such action or right of entry shall have accrued.

As you can see, the statute provides a substantial additional time for a minor to bring a claim. However, as you cank also see, the statutes use complicated jargon, written for lawyers, and you are well advised to contact a Missouri personal lawyer to discuss your claim. The best personal injury attorneys will talk to you, in phone and in person, for free and with no obligation. also, there are always exceptions to limitations periods, for example when medical malpractice is involved. With any significant injury, you are well advised to contact an attorney immediately. The liability is only one small part of the equation. The injuries and damages claim, including the treatment choices such as when, where and who, all need to be considered from both a health and claim standpoint, and an attorney good attorney will make a big difference all along the way. Claims are always well defended and your claim must be strong in every way to obtain the compensation your child deserves. The YMCA is a wonderful organization but like any other organization they or their insurance carriers have professional claims people who will work to minimize any potential claim. They will only pay for the injuries and damages that are expertly, accurately, and throughly documented. Finally, you don't pay anything until the claim is solved.


You are making a big mistake by not consulting immediately with a Missouri personal injury attorney. You son's injury sounds too severe, and with future possible medical needs & permanent disability issues, to not have professional legal representation!!! Since you son is rapidly approaching the age of majority do not take any further risk of allowing a statue of limitations to forever bar your recovery. I am a California attorney not licensed to practice in California _ Please obtain representation immediately!!!!

This is not intended to be legal advise or as legal representation. I am a California personal injury attorney . Be aware that every state has its own statute of limitations; and statutes & case laws that govern the handling of these matters.


I would recommend taking the advice of the other attorneys. You really need to find an experienced personal injury attorney for your son if you do not have one due to the severity of your son's injury. Although they (YMCA) "have admitted fault", have they done so in writing? Naturally, you should select a personal injury attorney from your local area. I am sorry that this happened to your son. Best of luck.

Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


As my colleagues have indicated, you would be best served by being represented in this matter. The insurance adjusters or representatives from the YMCA said they would "pay for everything," but their definition of "everything" is likely very different from an experienced attorney's. Please remember, an insurance adjuster's job is to get you to settle your claim for the least amount of money, and they are very good at it. You might be surprised to find out just how much your claim is worth.

Many of the attorneys on offer free consultations. It literally costs you nothing to speak with an attorney about this potential claim.

I wish your son the best in his recovery.

This answer is being provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be interpreted as, legal advice. An attorney-client relationship has not been created. Attorney is not obligated to pursure, or responsible for, your claim unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.


Without a personal injury lawyer, you would only recover a tiny fraction of the case's true worth.


I strongly urge you to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. You should not assume the insurance company will be fair to your son. I understand that a lot of people don't want to share a percentage of the settlement with an attorney and think they can do better by themselves, but that is rarely the case. Here's a little story. A few years ago, an acquaintance of mine was in an auto accident in which he suffered a broken arm. It was a bad break and he needed two surgeries, a plate and screws to hold his arm together and was out of work for a total of about six months. He was pleased that he settled the case for $35,000 and didn't have to pay an attorney to get it. His problem was that his case was probably worth at least $75,000 and maybe as much as $100,000. By doing it himself, he left a significant amount of money on the table. I am not suggesting that your situation will turn out the same, but you could end up shorting yourself.

A response to a question posted on Avvo is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is informational only. Allan E. Richardson, Esq. Richardson, Galella & Austermuhl 142 Emerson ST., Woodbury, NJ 08096 856-579-7045.




You have been given good advice. The statute of limitations for personal injury in Missouri is 5 years, is extended because your son is a minor. Your statute for medical bills is 5 years, but your son's for pain and suffering, future medical doesn't begin to run until his 18th birthday. Since it has been longer than 5 years, only your son will have a cause of action.

I would not trust nor rely on anything the insurance company says. Their job is adversarial to your son's interests.

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