Tort Victims' Laws and Rules

The Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund exists to help compensate those who have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of another (such as in a motor vehicle collision or a hunting accident), and who have been unable to obtain full compensation because the party at fault (the “tortfeasor”) had no insurance, or inadequate insurance, or has filed for bankruptcy, or for other reasons specified by the law.

Torts and Actions for Damages
Statutes of Limitation

Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 537
Torts and Actions for Damages
Section
537.684
August 28, 2008


Red Line

Filing of a claim, determining compensation, procedure--payment of claims.

537.684.
  1. A claim for compensation may be filed by a person eligible for compensation or, if the person is an incapacitated or disabled person, or a minor, by the person's spouse, parent, conservator or guardian.
  2. A claim shall be filed not later than two years after the judgment upon which it is based becomes final and all appeals are final, except with regard to the initial claims period. If there is no judgment, claims must be filed within time limits prescribed pursuant to section 516.120, RSMo, except for cases resulting in death, in which case claims must be filed within time limits prescribed pursuant to section 537.100, except with regard to the initial claims period. With regard to the initial claims period, any claim may be filed that is based upon a judgment that is not expired or that is based upon a claim not reduced to judgment for a reason allowed by subsection 2 of section 537.678, and which would not be barred by the applicable statute of limitations if the tort-feasor could be served with process or had not taken bankruptcy.
  3. Each claim shall be filed in person or by mail. The division shall investigate such claim prior to the opening of formal proceedings. The director of the division shall assign an administrative law judge, associate administrative law judge or legal advisor within the division to hear any claim for compensation filed. The claimant shall be notified of the date and time of any hearing on the claim. In determining the amount of compensation for which a claimant is eligible, the division shall:
    1. Consider the facts stated on the application filed pursuant to section 537.678;
    2. Obtain a copy of the final judgment, if any, from the appropriate court;
    3. Determine the amount of the loss to the claimant, or the victim's survivors or dependents; and
    4. If there is no final judgment, determine the degree or extent to which the victim's acts or conduct provoked, incited or contributed to the injuries or death of the victim.
  4. The claimant may present evidence and testimony on his or her own behalf or may retain counsel.
  5. Prior to any hearing, the person filing a claim shall submit reports, if available, from all hospitals, physicians or surgeons who treated or examined the victim for the injury for which compensation is sought. If, in the opinion of the division, an examination of the injured victim or a report on the cause of death of the victim would be of material aid, the division may appoint a duly qualified, impartial physician to make an examination and report. A finding of the judge or jury in the underlying case shall be considered as evidence.
  6. Each and every payment shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment or any other remedy available to creditors for the collection of a debt, provided however, this section shall not in any way affect the right of any lawyer who represents or represented any claimant to collect any fee or expenses to which he or she is entitled.
  7. Payments of compensation shall not be made directly to any person legally incompetent to receive them but shall be made to the parent, guardian or conservator for the benefit of such minor, disabled or incapacitated person.
  8. Payment of all claims from the fund shall be made on the following basis, to wit:
    1. With regard to all claims that are made during the initial claims period, the division shall determine the aggregated amount of all awards made on these claims. Such determination shall be made on or before June 30, 2003. If the aggregate value of the awards does not exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid in full on or before September 30, 2003. If the aggregate value of the awards does exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid on a pro rata basis on or before September 30, 2003;
    2. With regard to all claims that are made after the initial claims period, the division shall determine the aggregate amount of all awards made on those claims filed during an annual claims period. Such determination shall be made on or before the thirtieth day of June in the next succeeding year. If the aggregate value of the awards does not exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid in full on or before the thirtieth day of September in the next succeeding year. If the aggregate value of the awards does exceed the total amount of money in the fund, then the awards shall be paid on a pro rata basis on or before the thirtieth day of September in the next succeeding year.
  9. If there are no funds available, then no claim shall be paid until funds have accumulated in the tort victims' compensation fund and have been appropriated to the division for payment to uncompensated tort victims. When sufficient funds become available for payment of claims of uncompensated tort victims, awards that have been determined but have not been paid shall be paid in chronological order with the oldest paid first, based upon the date on which the application was filed with the division. Any award pursuant to this subsection that cannot be paid due to a lack of funds appropriated for payment of claims of uncompensated tort victims shall not constitute a claim against the state.
  10. In the event there are no funds available for payment of claims, then the division may suspend all action related to valuing claims and granting awards until such time as funds in excess of one hundred thousand dollars have accumulated in the tort victims' compensation fund, at which time the division shall resume its claim processing duties.

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Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 516
Statutes of Limitation
Section 516.120

August 28, 2008


Red Line

What actions within five years.
516.120. Within five years:

  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.

(RSMo 1939 § 1014)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 862; 1919 § 1317; 1909 § 1889

(1967) Five year statute of limitations applies to action by city to collect delinquent city earnings tax and the statute begins running at the time the grace period for the payment of the taxes due expires whether or not a return was filed as the tax became delinquent at that time. State v. Robertson (A.), 417 S.W.2d 699.

(1967) In action for broker's commission the statute of limitation begins to run when payment on which commission is based is paid, not when last service is rendered by broker. Boyd v. Margolin (Mo.), 421 S.W.2d 761.

(1968) The filing of a petition and the issuance of summons halt the running of a statute of limitations even if the summons is not served until after the statute would have run out if the plaintiff makes a good faith attempt to obtain service before the limitation period has run its course. Emanuel v. Richards (A.), 426 S.W.2d 716.

(1969) An application by a surviving spouse for a year's allowance from the estate of decedent is not an "action" within the meaning of this section but is a special proceeding, and limitation period of section did not apply. In re Estate of Guthland (A.), 438 S.W.2d 12.

(1970) The concealment of a cause of action founded upon fraud does not toll the period established by subdivision (5) of this section. Anderson v. Dyer (A.), 456 S.W.2d 808.

(1970) The period of limitation under subdivision (5) of this section accrues the moment the right to commence the action comes into existence, but is deferred until the actual discovery of the fraud at any time within ten years of its perpetration. If the fraud was not discovered or discoverable during the ten-year hiatus, the cause of action will be deemed to have accrued at the termination of such period and the statute of limitations will commence to run at that time, thereby permitting a maximum of fifteen years for commencement of the suit. Anderson v. Dyer (A.), 456 S.W.2d 808.

(1974) Failure to request an instruction on the statute of limitations constitutes an abandonment of that defense. Yeager v. Wittels (A.), 517 S.W.2d 457.


(1975) An action to collect sum allegedly due for holiday pay for firemen where such claim was based on a city ordinance is a claim on an "obligation" and must be brought within five years. Barberi v. University City (A.), 518 S.W.2d 457.

(1976) Action to recover liquidated damages for breach of a covenant in a lease not to assign or transfer interest in the lease was not based upon a writing for the payment of money but was based on contract and therefore was governed by five-year statute of limitations, section 516.120, and not by section 516.110. Bangert v. Boise Cascade Corp. (C.A. Mo.), 527 F.2d 902.

(1977) Held, in a continuing trespass to real estate recovery is limited to the five-year period immediately preceding institution of the action. Cacioppo v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., (A.), 550 S.W.2d 919.

(1985) Five-year limitation period held applicable to civil actions under the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. § 1961, commenced when plaintiff had reasonable ground to suspect fraud. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. v. Current Components, Inc., 616 F.Supp. 862 (D.C.Mo.).

(1993) Five year statute of limitations applies to claims for breach of fiduciary duty. Claims for relief based on fraud accrue, not when resulting damage is capable of being ascertained, but when facts constituting fraud are discovered. Koester v. American Republic Investments, Inc., 11 F.3d 818 (8th Cir.).

(1993) Statute of limitations for actions for alienation of affections is governed by this section for any other injury to person or rights of another; therefore, statute of limitations is five years. Miller v. Neill, 867 S.W.2d 523 (Mo. App. E.D.).

(2001) Subdivision (4) of section applies to inverse condemnation actions seeking compensation for damage to personal property. Shade v. Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, 69 S.W.3d 503 (Mo.App. W.D.).

(2005) Replevin action with five-year limitations period applies for return of seized weapons legally possessed by owner and not used in commission of crime. Elam v. Dawson, 156 S.W.3d 807 (Mo.App. W.D.).

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