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Missouri Civil Statute of Limitations Laws

States impose time limits for filing a civil lawsuit. These time limits are called "statutes of limitations." Criminal prosecutors also have time limits for bringing charges against suspects. These are also referred to as statutes of limitations.

While all states have statutes of limitations for filing civil actions, these time frames tend to vary from one cause of action to another. Also, courts typically don't start the "clock" on a statute of limitations until an injury is discovered or until the point when an injury should have been discovered.

These statutes of limitations are intended to ensure the efficiency of the legal process. They are also meant to prevent a potential plaintiff from threatening a lawsuit indefinitely. Additionally, statutes of limitations help preserve the integrity of evidence and witness testimony. The majority of lawsuits carry a time limit of between one and four years in most states.

Missouri Civil Statutes of Limitations at a Glance

In Missouri, plaintiffs have up to five years to file a lawsuit for personal injury, defamation, and medical malpractice. However, a maximum of 10 years is allowed for discovery of an injury. Injury to property, trespassing, and enforcement of written contracts carry a five-year statute of limitations. The longest time limit for civil suits is reserved for fraud, rent collection, debt collection, and judgments. This time limit is 10 years.

The following table lists all of these time limits for civil cases in Missouri, with links to additional sources. See FindLaw's section on "Injury Law Basics" to learn more about the process of filing an injury action.

Injury to Person

Five years (Refer to §516.120.)


Two years (Refer to §516.140.)


10 years (Refer to §516.120(5).)

Injury to Personal Property

Five years (Refer to §516.120(4).)

Professional Malpractice

For medical malpractice claims, the statute of limitations is two years from discovery. A maximum of 10 years is allowed. (Refer to §516.105.)


Five years (Refer to §516.120(3).)

Collection of Rents

 10 years (Refer to §516.110(3).)


  • For written contracts, the statute of limitations is five years. (Refer to §516.120(1).)
  • For payment of money or property, it's 10 years. (Refer to §516.110.)
  • For oral contracts, the statute of limitations is five years. (Refer to §516.120(1).)

Collection of Debt on Account

For collection of debt on an account, where there is an agreement in writing, the statute of limitations is 10 years. (Refer to §516.10(1).)


10 years (Refer to §516.350.)

Note: State laws are constantly changing. Contact a Missouri personal injury attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Consider reviewing the following resources for more information about all laws in Missouri, including those related to statutes of limitations:

  • At Missouri Law, you'll find links to all laws in the state, including those related to statutes of limitations.
  • At Official State Codes, you'll find links to the official online statutes (laws) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Civil Statutes of Limitations: Related Resources

Consider reviewing the following for more information about laws and legal issues related to statutes of limitations:

Learn More About Missouri Civil Statutes of Limitations from a Lawyer

Missouri's civil statutes of limitations varies depending on the circumstances of the case and the type of claim involved. If you're dealing with a personal injury or business-related injury and aren't sure how to file a lawsuit, it's in your best interest to contact a litigation attorney in Missouri for guidance.

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