What Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit Cover?
When you file an insurance claim for an injury, you are entitled to recover money from the at-fault party’s insurance to compensate you for both economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages generally include things like medical expenses, and wage losses if you were unable to work while you were recovering from your injuries. Noneconomic damages include money to compensate you for the pain and suffering you experience, loss of companionship, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment, and many others. Often times an insurance company will try to mislead you into believing you are only entitled to recover your out-of-pocket losses, or in other words, they will try to limit you to a portion of your economic damages. They often misrepresent the law to try to save themselves money. Sadly, insurance companies play a win/lose game against personal injury victims and their goal is always to win by making you lose.
Missouri’s Pure Comparative Negligence Law
Another factor to consider is your proportion of fault. Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, meaning that the fault of both the plaintiff (the person suing) and the defendant (the person being sued) will be determined in court.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident resulting in your injury, the jury may find you to be 20% at fault for speeding or any other traffic violation that contributed to the accident. If, for example, your award comes out to be $100,000, 20% will be withheld to account for your level of fault that contributed to causing the accident — meaning you will only be eligible to receive $80,000.
Theoretically, you could be 99% at fault for the accident and still recover 1 percent of damages, but if the other party is also injured, you could be held 99% liable for their injuries.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
The timing of your personal injury claim is a crucial part of preparing your case. In Missouri, there are strict deadlines in which a claim can be filed, which are called “statutes of limitations.” For many personal injury claims, the statute of limitations is 5 years, however, some are shorter. To make sure you don’t lose the opportunity to recover under the law, you absolutely must file all claims within the statute of limitations for each specific type of lawsuit. I have seen insurance companies lie to injury victims repeatedly about the amount of time they have for their claim to remain open and valid. A common tactic to pressure a personal injury victim into an unfair settlement is to falsely claim that the person must accept their offer within some short period of time (often weeks after suffering the injury) or they will close the claim and they will get nothing. Those adjusters are being manipulative, deceitful, and are completely out of line. When we take on a case, we immediately put a stop to those types of dishonorable practices and hold the insurance companies responsible for everything the personal injury law in Missouri provides.
If you do choose to pursue a lawsuit, you’re going to have to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injury. In other words, you’re going to have to show that the other party was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. The legal standard requires you to demonstrate that:
- The other party owed you a duty of care
- The other party breached that duty of care
- The breach caused your injuries
Missouri drivers are all required to exercise due care and attention to driving. Building owners, whether public or private are responsible to maintain a safe environment for visitors. If for instance, a floor is wet and slippery creating an unsafe condition, it is the responsibility of the owner to take steps to warn visitors about the dangerous wet and slippery condition of the floor, like placing a “wet floor” sign in a clearly visible location, and also to make it safe again if possible, such as mopping the floor. This can apply in situations where someone is injured inside a private residence, and also out in a public area or place of business.
If an injury is suffered from a dog bite or animal attack, Missouri is a “strict liability” state, which means the owner of the animal can be held liable without you having to prove negligence.
Again, a personal injury claim or personal injury lawsuit provides money recovery for both economic and non-economic damages. If your injury is covered by Missouri’s personal injury law (with some exceptions), you can recover damages for all the following:
- Medical Bills
- Future Medical Expenses
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of Consortium, or Companionship
- Rehabilitation Expenses, Including Modifications to Your Home or Vehicle
- Lost Wages
- Any Other Injury-Related Expense
You Deserve an Experienced
Personal Injury Attorney
Unless you’ve been involved in a minor fender bender with nothing more than a scratch, you probably don’t want to deal with insurance adjusters on your own. They’ve been taught every trick in the book to get you to say something that they can use to diminish or deny your claim for injuries. That’s why you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney who can protect your rights, negotiate for you, and — if necessary — escalate matters to the courtroom.
So if you or someone you know has been injured in an accident in or around St. Louis, Missouri, or anywhere in Jefferson County or St. Charles County, Missouri, don’t wait. Call our firm — Jett Legal — today to receive reliable legal counsel and support. After a free initial case consultation, we can begin to outline a plan that can help you pursue the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and get your life back.