Missouri legislature enacts Section 537.058 limiting time-limited demands

While much attention has been focused recently on changes made by the Missouri legislature (and signed into law) to Section 537.065 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, not as much attention has been given to a new statute enacted at the same time the Section 537.065 was modified.

Section 537.058 establishes minimum standards for time-limited settlement demands in bodily injury and wrongful death claims, at least as it relates to utilizing those time-limited demands as a basis for an eventual claim against the liability insurer for "bad faith" or other claim for extra-contractual damages. The statute sets minimum time limits of not less than ninety (90) days for such demands, and mandates the following:

  • that demands be sent by certified mail to the insurer and make reference to the statute;
  • the specific amount of money demanded (or the applicable policy limit);
  • specifics about the loss, claim number (if known);
  • a description of injuries sustained by claimant; and
  • the party or parties to be released if the demand is accepted and an offer of unconditional release of the insurer's insured for that occurrence.

A compliant demand must be accompanied by names and addresses of health care providers who provided treatment/evaluation of the claimant, HIPAA compliant authorizations allowing the insurer to obtain records from those providers, a list of all employers at the time the claimant was injured and an authorization allowing the insurer to obtain employment records if the claimant is asserting a loss of wages or similar claim.

With minor exceptions, demands that do not comply with the statute cannot later be used as a basis in any lawsuit filed by either the claimant or the alleged tortfeasor for alleging extra-contractual damages against the insurer.

For any Missouri claim with a time-limited demand being made after August 28, 2017, attention to the demand should be given to ensure that it complies with this statute.

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