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What Limits Are in Place for Suing After an Assault/Crime?

Published on Oct 12, 2017 at 2:35 pm in Criminal Defense.
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One of the first things our firm looks at when investigating a case is whether you or a loved one is limited in bringing a lawsuit for personal injuries.  If you or a loved one are the victim of an assault or some other criminal activity and are seeking compensation for your injuries, then you should know that one of the most important things affecting your ability to bring a case is the statute of limitations. A statute of limitation is a law which limits the amount of time for you to bring a case against a person who injured you or a loved one through reckless, negligent, or intentional action.

In Missouri, a criminal act which caused you or a loved one harm would likely be considered an “intentional act”. Under Missouri law, there is a much shorter time period to bring a case involving harm caused by the intentional acts of another person.  As a victim of an intentional act, like an assault or some other crime, you are required bring a case against the person causing the injuries within two years.

This means you have up to two years from the date of the assault, robbery, burglary, or other intentional criminal act to bring a case against the person who harmed you.  If you try to sue the person who intentionally caused your harm after two years, the court will likely dismiss your case.  For example, if you are punched by someone and suffer a severe head injury, you only have two years to bring a case against the person who punched you.

However, even if you have not brought your suit within two years against the person or persons responsible for your injuries, there are still options available to you to bring a case. For instance, our firm has had success in bringing cases against additional or third parties like landowners, property owners, and others who may share responsibility for your injuries. Often times, the statute of limitations in those cases is up to five years.

For instance, our firm has had success in bringing cases against third parties like bar owners, bouncers, property owners, landowners, and others.  Through investigation, we have discovered that these other parties share responsibility for a victim’s injuries because the property owner, landowner, or security personnel didn’t not do enough to protect the victim from a criminal act.  For more information about how types of cases work, see our other blog posts about parking lot injuries.

Unfortunately, there are other limitations which can affect a victim’s ability to hold all parties responsible for his/her injuries.  Typically these cases involve situations where a case resolves and not all the potentially responsible parties were named in a lawsuit or part of the settlement agreement.  Occasionally, a person or an attorney doesn’t do enough initial investigation into a case and will just name the criminal or criminals in the lawsuit.  Sometimes those cases are thrown out because of the short statute of limitations (as discussed above), and other times the case either settles or resolves and removes any chance of a victim suing a third party (like a property owner).

In other words, if you bring a suit against someone responsible for your injuries, the law requires you to sue all the people responsible for your injuries in that suit. If you settle your suit or get a favorable jury verdict and only name the criminal or main actor, then you may be stuck trying to collect against a person who has no resources to help you pay your medical bills or for other injuries.  Then, you will likely have limited your chances to bring a case against a third party who may share some responsibility for your injuries.   That’s why it’s extremely important to do a significant amount of investigation to determine what parties may share responsibility for  your or a loved one’s injuries.

If you’re the victim of a crime and/or an assault in Missouri and have questions about who may share responsibility for your injuries, then you should contact an experienced attorney who has handled cases like yours. At Thomas Law Offices, we have handled a number of cases involving assaults and other types of criminal activity on public and private land which results in injury to others. We look at every potential party and person responsible for your harm, and leave no stone unturned.

Feel free to contact our office today for a free consultation. You may also wish to learn more about limitations by watching our video below: