Personal Injury -- Plaintiff Law
Recovering from an injury can come with many challenges. From the cost of medical care, the missed work, and the general disruption to your normal way of life, an injury can do more damage than just the physical harm itself.
When the injury is caused by someone else’s conduct, you may not need to pay for your recovery on your own. A personal injury lawsuit could compensate you for the cost of your medical care, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering.
The exact rules and processes for a successful personal injury suit depend on the state. After an injury in Columbia, Kansas City, or Saint Louis, it is important to follow Missouri’s specific standards.
A personal injury is any physical, mental, or emotional harm you have. A lawsuit for personal injury is an attempt to collect financial compensation from someone who caused that harm. In Missouri, both intentional and accidental acts could lead to a personal injury suit.
Personal injury lawsuits are civil cases, as opposed to criminal ones. The actions tried in civil courts are generally called torts, and not crimes. Rarely is “punishment” a factor in a civil case; usually the aim is financial restitution to the person harmed.
If someone has hurt you purposefully, such as through an assault or a battery, you may be able to recover for the cost of your injuries. When proving an intentional injury, you’ll need to show that the person who harmed you purposefully made some kind of contact with you that led to the injury. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they intended to harm you, only that they intended the contact that led to the harm.
A negligent injury is accidental as opposed to intentional, but an accident that could have been avoided if the injurer had been more careful. Negligence often comes into play in car accidents when a driver was speeding or runs a red light. Most medical malpractice suits are also cases of negligence.
Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, which means even if you were more at fault for the accident, you could still collect money from the other party for the damage their particular actions caused.
So what if someone accidentally hurts you, but they were reasonably careful? In those circumstances, you may have a case under strict liability.
Suing for product liability is typically a strict liability claim. Even if the manufacturer followed proper safety procedures, if you’re injured by a product they made, you may be able to recover financial damages.
Homeowners can face strict liability cases when their guests get injured on their property, if the owner knew that a potential danger was present but didn’t fix it. So if a homeowner has a weak step on their porch but fails to fix it, they can be strictly liable if an invited guest steps on it and falls through.
Typically, you have five years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury suit in Missouri. If you wait longer than that, you may not be able to recover any compensation. This is the statute of limitations, or deadline, specific to the state’s laws.
There are some exceptions that can extend your deadline, like being so injured that you couldn’t file your case right away. If that happens, your time starts once you’re no longer incapacitated.
Other circumstances may shorten the amount of time you have to file, so it’s always best to look into your specific type of case and file as quickly as possible.
Some personal injury cases in Missouri will have caps on how much money you’re able to recover in a personal injury case.
While there may be some exceptions, you’ll typically see caps on non-economic damages in Missouri. These are things like pain and suffering, versus the economic damages of actual medical bills, and they mostly apply only in cases of medical malpractice or lawsuits against the government. The amount is around $760,000.