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An injury can be life-changing – and not in a good way.

A serious injury comes with financial burdens like medical bills and lost wages. But it can also pile on emotional burdens, like mental distress and a decreased quality of life.

When your injury occurs due to someone’s negligence, you may feel a deep need for justice. A law firm with experienced personal injury attorneys can help you pick up the pieces by getting you the compensation you’re entitled to for your damages.

What is Personal Injury Law?

Missouri personal injury law allows those who were hurt or who experienced loss due to someone else’s harmful actions or negligence to seek financial compensation. The person who was injured, called the “plaintiff,” must be able to prove that:

  • There was harm that occurred, whether physical or financial.
  • The actions or negligence of the responsible party – the “defendant” – caused the harm in question.

Personal injury lawsuits take place in civil court and ensure that those who are careless or reckless are held financially accountable for their actions.

What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you’ve been injured as a result of someone else’s actions or negligence, the loss you incur as a result of your injuries comes in many forms. That’s why damages in most personal injury lawsuits are often broken into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages

Economic damages incurred by injury victims often include:

  • Medical bills and expenses
  • Property damage
  • Lost wages
  • Decreased future earning abilities

These types of damages are measurable. They often require the plaintiff to present documentation to prove financial loss, like medical bills, income verification, or doctor statements for financial recovery.

Non-Economic Damages

There are other forms of injury or loss that are not measurable and are, therefore, more difficult to put a price tag on in the settlement.

Some examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Reduced quality of life due to the injury
  • Living with a permanent disability after the incident

Non-economic damages are more difficult to prove but experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of personal injury litigation.

Types of Personal Injury Cases

Since there is a wide range of harm that individuals can cause, there are several different types of injury cases. Most fall into a handful of categories, depending on how and where the injury occurred.

Accidental Injury

This is the most common type of personal injury claim and typically involves accident victims who suffered injuries during vehicle collisions like:

Accident victims usually seek financial compensation from the at-fault driver’s auto insurance company.

Intentional Injury

When someone causes harm with intention, whether it’s bodily injury to another person or intentional damage to property, it’s often called an “intentional tort.”

Some common instances of intentional injury cases include:

  • Assault and battery
  • Domestic violence
  • Vandalism
  • Inflicting emotional distress intentionally

There are sometimes criminal charges brought against the party responsible for intentional injuries, but civil claims can also be filed so that personal injury victims can attempt to recover damages.

Workplace Injury

An accidental injury that occurs in the workplace usually results in a workers’ compensation claim. However, if an employee can prove that the injury or harm occurred as a result of the employer’s negligence, a personal injury claim can often be filed to recover damages.

Employer negligence can include:

  • Unsafe working conditions
  • Improper maintenance of equipment
  • Lack of proper training

In a workplace personal injury claim in Missouri, the plaintiff can often receive compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or reduced quality of life. In workers’ comp claims, however, only medical expenses and lost wages can be recovered.

Product Liability

A person who incurs harm due to a product malfunction can seek financial compensation in the form of a product liability claim. These injury cases are often prompted by product recalls on items like vehicles, home improvement equipment, or even medical devices.

Premise Liability

When someone is injured while on someone else’s property, they may be able to seek compensation from the owner of the property. The plaintiff will have to prove, however, that the property owner’s negligence caused the injury.

One of the most common examples of premise liability claims is a slip and fall accident that occurs due to unsafe walking conditions.

Medical Malpractice

An injury or illness that happens as a result of a medical professional’s negligence can have dire consequences. Patients must be able to prove that the medical professional acted with inappropriate or unlawful actions during treatment.

Defamation

Not all injuries are physical, and defamation claims are proof of that. These civil lawsuits typically happen after the defendant made slanderous or libelous statements about the plaintiff that caused irreparable harm to the plaintiff’s reputation.

Personal Injury Statutes in Missouri

Personal injury claims in the Show-Me State are subject to certain guidelines according to Missouri Law.

What is “Comparative Fault”?

Missouri is an “at-fault” state when it comes to personal injury claims, which means the insurance company of the responsible party is required to pay damages associated with the incident.

However, the state uses a Comparative Fault system, which determines what percentage of fault is assigned to each party. In the case of a car accident, for example, it could be determined that the at-fault driver shares only 70% of the fault for the accident, which means they’ll only have to pay 70% of the awarded settlement.

How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Missouri?

The deadline for when legal action can be initiated is called a Statute of Limitations. According to Missouri personal injury law, injured victims have five years from the date of the injury to file a claim.

What Happens When a Government Entity is Negligent?

If someone is injured due to the negligence of the state of Missouri or a state employee, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed, but the statute of limitations is much shorter. Injured parties have only 90 days from the date of the injury to file a claim or complaint.

Lawsuits brought against the state or its employees have complicated restrictions, so it’s crucial to speak with experienced St. Louis personal injury attorneys to be sure you’re fairly compensated by the state government so you can receive maximum compensation.

Let a Personal Injury Attorney Help

If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, having legal representation on your side has some vital benefits:

  • You’ll have legal knowledge on your side throughout the process.
  • You’ll have access to an attorney’s network of connections, including medical and economic experts.
  • You can focus on getting better instead of the stress of all the legal legwork.

Make sure you get the compensation you deserve for serious injuries by speaking with a St. Louis personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about your case. At Jett Accident & Injury Lawyers, we operate on a “contingency fee basis,” meaning we don’t get paid unless you get a settlement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you sue for pain and suffering in Missouri?

Injured parties in St. Louis, MO, can seek non-economic damages like pain and suffering in injury cases. There is no cap on the amount of pain and suffering compensation a plaintiff can be awarded in the Show-Me State, with the exception of medical malpractice lawsuits.

What’s the typical settlement amount in a Missouri personal injury case?

Settlement amounts in St. Louis, MO, personal injury cases have a massive range. That’s because the amount of compensation is proportional to the following:

  • Whether catastrophic injuries occurred
  • Whether a wrongful death occurred
  • How the injury impacts the victim’s quality of life
  • The insurance coverage of the responsible party
  • The type of personal injury case

Car accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases, and since the severity of injuries in a car accident can vary wildly, settlements in Missouri fall anywhere between $15,000 and over $1 million.

Medical malpractice claims are also common among personal injury lawsuits, and the average payout for Missouri medical malpractice settlements was around $290,000 in 2018.

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