Personal injury attorney Missouri
Personal Injury Attorney Missouri
Kimberly J. Benjamin, Founder & Managing Attorney
Published: June 11. 2021.
Fault in Missouri
The general rule in personal injury law is the party who is responsible for causing the injuries is responsible for paying expenses related to them. Sometimes, the defendants in personal injury cases will use the state’s comparative fault laws to reduce the amount they are ordered to pay to the victims. What are the comparative fault laws? How can these laws affect your case? Here’s what you should know:
Comparative Fault Laws in Missouri
The state of Missouri has established a pure comparative fault system. This system is used to determine how fault should be divided between the parties and how much compensation should be awarded to the plaintiff.
For example, let’s say a woman is injured in a car accident and files a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. It is determined that she has suffered $100,000 in damages as a result of her car accident injuries. If the jury believes that the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident, she will be awarded $100,000 in damages. But, a review of the evidence could convince the jury that she is actually 20% at fault for the accident. In this case, the total amount of compensation awarded to her will be reduced by 20%, so she will receive $80,000.
This is how a pure comparative fault system works. Basically, if there are multiple at-fault parties, each party must share the legal obligation of compensating the victim. If the plaintiff is one of the at-fault parties, she can still recover compensation for her injuries even though she was partly to blame. However, the award will be reduced to account for the role she played in the accident.
How Comparative Fault Laws Affect Personal Injury Cases
The defendant in your personal injury case could attempt to place some of the blame on you in order to reduce the amount of compensation he is ordered to pay. It’s important to work with an attorney who can disprove this argument so you can recover the full amount of compensation for your injuries.
Another way the defendant could reduce his liability is by placing the blame on third parties. For instance, the defendant could argue that a third driver was partially responsible for the accident. If the defendant shares liability with the driver, he will also share the responsibility of compensating the victim with the driver.
Have you been injured? If so, contact The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center as soon as possible. Let our experienced personal injury attorneys fight to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call our law office at 816-281-0941 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation today.
Adjuster for Car Accident
Shortly after an accident, an insurance adjuster from the at-fault party’s insurance company will contact you. This insurance adjuster will be your main point of contact with the insurance company, so it’s important to understand their role in your car accident claim. Here’s an overview of what an insurance adjuster does:
Investigate the Claim
An insurance adjuster’s first task is investigating the claim. The goal of their investigation is to determine liability for the accident and verify the victim’s injuries. To meet this goal, the insurance adjuster may interview witnesses, obtain a copy of the police reports, analyze the victim’s medical records, work with expert witnesses, and examine evidence from the scene of the accident. The insurance adjuster will only move forward with the claim if it is clear that their policyholder is liable. Otherwise, the insurance company is not responsible for compensating the victim.
Calculate the Value of the Claim
Next, the insurance adjuster will begin the process of calculating the value of the claim. Insurance adjusters typically start by adding up all of the victim’s compensation for medical and lost wages. The victim should be able to provide proof of these expenses and losses, which makes it easy for the adjuster to add them up.
Many victims ask for compensation for future expenses or lost wages as well. In these cases, insurance adjusters will need to work with medical professionals to verify that the injuries will continue to affect the victim’s life in the future.
The insurance adjuster will also need to calculate how much the victim should be awarded for their pain and suffering. There are no set rules that adjusters must follow when calculating a victim’s pain and suffering, but they usually use a formula that takes the severity of the victim’s injuries into account.
Negotiate With the Victim
The insurance adjuster will start negotiating with the victim after calculating the value of the claim. No matter how nice the adjuster seems, it is important to remember that they are looking out for their company’s best interests, not yours. It is every insurance adjuster’s goal to settle a claim for as little as possible in order to save their company money. To reach this goal, insurance adjusters often make low offers or put pressure on victims to accept unfair offers. They can also use sneaky tactics to delay settlement talks or lower the value of your claim. For these reasons, it is strongly recommended that car or motorcycle accidents victims allow an experienced personal injury lawyer to handle the negotiations.
Have you been injured? Don’t let the insurance adjuster convince you to settle for less than you deserve. Let the personal injury lawyers at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center negotiate with the insurance company to secure a sizable settlement.
Cass County Accident
While it is not something we want to think about, odds are you will experience a vehicle accident at some point in your life. It is very important to be prepared before a car accident occurs. Always wear your seat belt, avoid distractions, don’t drink and drive, and don’t drive fast, especially in bad weather conditions. If you follow these rules, even if you do experience a car accident, your chances of escaping serious injury will be much higher.
You also need to carry your insurance card with you at all times. Keep a pen and notepad in the glove compartment so you can write down important information if an accident occurs. You will need to record the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate number, and insurance information after a vehicle accident. Keep your health insurance card in your car and medical information including information regarding current medications and allergy information in your vehicle.
It is also a good idea to keep jumper cables, first aid kit, flashlight, and other emergency tools in your vehicle at all times. Remember to record important numbers in your cell phone including medical providers, the car insurance company, and other emergency contacts.
If there is a possibility that you may have been at fault for the accident, for example if you were driving while intoxicated, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
If You Are Involved in a Car Accident Remain Calm and Get out of Harm’s Way
If you are involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is remain calm. Keeping cool will help you take the necessary actions to protect yourself. Call for help, especially if you or someone else is harmed, dial 911 immediately. Get yourself out of harm’s way and move your vehicle out of the roadway if possible. Many accident fatalities are caused when drivers leave their vehicles following minor accidents only to be struck by another vehicle like truck accidents.
Avoid commenting on the accident to others. Insurance companies will use your words against you. If you admit to any portion of a fault it could be used against you, especially if you are not at fault.
Take photos of everything including the general area where the accident occurred, any nearby signage or road obstructions, car damage, traffic lights, weather conditions, and skid marks. Write down anything you observe including roadway conditions, weather, remarks made by other drivers, passengers, and witnesses, including witness meeting information.
Seek Medical Help Immediately If You Are Injured in a Vehicle Accident
If you are wounded, seek medical treatment immediately and save all documentation of the treatment. Some soft tissue injuries take days to feel symptoms so get checked out even with minor pain or problems, better to be safe. Following these rules will help prepare you and your family for any problems could happen on the roadway.
Missouri Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The law limits the amount of time that a victim has to take legal action against the party that caused them harm. This is known as a statute of limitations, and it varies from state-to-state. Here’s what you need to know about the statute of limitations on personal injury case in saint louis, Missouri:
The Statute of Limitations in Missouri
In Missouri, the statute of limitations on personal injury cases, in general, is five years. This means victims have five years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party. The five-year countdown usually begins on the date when the injuries were sustained. However, in some cases, the five-year time period does not begin until the date the victim discovered his injuries.
Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations in Missouri
There are several exceptions to the five-year statute of limitations. If the at-fault party is a government entity, the victim may not have five years to take legal action. Depending on the claim asserted and the size of the government entity, the law may require the victim to file a formal claim with the government entity within 90 days of the injury.
The standard statute of limitations does not apply to victims who are under the age of 21 or incapacitated, either. These victims have five years to file a personal injury lawsuit, however, the five-year clock does not start until the victim has either turned 18 or been declared legally competent.
There’s also an exception for medical malpractice cases. If you have been crushed by a negligent healthcare provider, you must file a lawsuit within two years of the alleged malpractice. The two-year clock may begin either on the date the malpractice was committed or the date the victim discovered his injuries. For example, let’s say a patient is misdiagnosed on July 1st but is unaware of the misdiagnosis until September 1st. In this example, he will have two years from September 1st to file a lawsuit against the negligent healthcare provider.
If the medical malpractice victim is under the age of 18, he will have until his 20th birthday to file a lawsuit. This means someone who is 15 years old at the time the malpractice was committed would technically have five years to file a lawsuit.
It may seem as if victims have plenty of time to take legal action, but the time will run out faster than you may expect. For this reason, it is best to seek legal representation as soon as possible instead of waiting until the last minute to take action.
The experienced attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can explain what specific statute of limitations applies to your case.
Missouri Dog Bite Law Louis MO
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million dog bites occur every year. Some of these dog bites are minor, but about 334,000 of them are serious enough to require emergency medical treatment. Dog bites are painful-not to mention expensive to treat. For these reasons, it’s important for victims to understand who is legally liable for their injuries.
“Strict Liability” Dog Bite Law in Missouri
Each state has its own dog bite laws. Missouri is a strict liability state, which means the dog’s owner is typically liable in dog bite cases. This is true regardless of whether or not the dog had a history of aggressive behavior. Because of the strict liability law, dog owners are held liable even when they did not have any reason to believe their dog was aggressive enough to bite someone.
When Are Owners Not Liable For Dog Bites? A Legal Advice
Of course, there are several exceptions to the strict liability law. If the victim was trespassing on private property when the dog bit him, the owner is not liable. The owner is only liable if the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property at the time of the incident.
Owners are also not liable for dog bite injuries if the victim provoked the dog prior to the attack. Taking a toy or treat out of a dog’s mouth, invading a dog’s personal space, or exhibiting aggressive behavior can provoke the dog to attack. If a victim engages in this behavior and is bitten as a result, the owner is not liable for the victim’s injuries.
What Dog Bite Victims Must Prove
In most personal injury cases, the plaintiff is responsible for proving that the defendant’s negligence caused him harm. But, the rules are slightly different in dog bite cases because of the strict liability law. Victims do not need to prove that the owner was negligent. There’s no need to show evidence that the owner knew the dog was dangerous or that the dog had a history of biting visitors. Instead, the victim simply needs to prove that they were not trespassing on private property or provoking the dog at the time of the attack.
If you have sustained dog bite injuries, meet the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at once. Our award-winning personal injury attorneys go above and beyond to maximize compensation for each and every client.
Statute of Limitations Missouri Personal Injury
Most states have statutes of limitations, or time frames within which you must file certain types of lawsuits. Failure to file a lawsuit with the court within those timeframes will result in you losing an opportunity to pursue the lawsuit. As a result, statutes of limitation are an essential element to consider when you may have a personal injury claim against another party.
In the state of Missouri, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is five years, which begins running from the date of the accident that caused the injuries. This means that if you don’t file your personal injury claim within five years of the date of the accident that led to your injuries, then you lose your chance to recover compensation for injuries or hold negligent parties accountable for their actions in causing the accident.
However, there are some exceptions to this general statute of limitations. One exception is referred to as the Discovery Rule. In some situations, you might be harmed due to another’s negligence, but you might not become aware of the injury on the date on which it happened. If you later discover an injury that you couldn’t discover when it happened, then the five-year statute of limitations does not begin to run until you discover the injury or reasonably should have discovered the injury.
One other exception may occur if the party or parties whom you believe to be responsible for the accident leave the state. In some situations, the statute of limitations may be tolled, or temporarily stop, while the parties are absent from the state.
Personal injury claims that involve government agencies or employees follow different rules. For example, you must file a personal injury claim against an ST louis mo, Missouri city or city employees within 90 days of the date of the injury. Claims against the state government are filed with a separate state agency, or the Office of Administration’s Risk Management Division. At The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center, we know how devastating the aftermath of an accident in which you or a loved one has suffered injuries can be. We are here to look at the facts of your case, apply the law, and build the strongest claim possible on your behalf.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage Missouri
When you are involved in an accident caused by another driver and suffer injuries, the normal procedure is to look to that driver’s insurance policy to compensate you for your losses. However, in some cases, that driver has no insurance coverage as required by law, or the amount available under his or her insurance policy is insufficient to cover all of your expenses. In other cases, you may be a victim of a hit-and-run accident caused by an unknown driver. In this case, you cannot rely on the other driver’s insurance policy to cover your losses. These are the main reasons that Missouri law requires all drivers to carry a minimum level of uninsured motorist coverage, which is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
When a catastrophic accident in which you suffer severe and debilitating injuries occurs, you may be off work indefinitely and perhaps permanently. You may require long periods of rehabilitation, surgeries, and ongoing medical care that can easily cause you to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In this situation, your own uninsured motorist coverage may help, but it certainly won’t help you with all of the medical bills, lost income, and other expenses that you have suffered as a result of the accident. This is why it is so important for you to purchase far more than the minimum uninsured motorist coverage required by law. While it is understandable that you want to pay lower premiums, you put yourself at great risk for financial disaster from a single accident.
Furthermore, Missouri law does not require that you carry any underinsured motorist insurance as part of your responsibilities as the operator of a motor vehicle. However, when another driver causes an accident that leads to your injuries, but he or she carries only a minimal level of liability insurance, then your out-of-pocket costs arising from your accident are likely to quickly exhaust any compensation available under the responsible party’s insurance policy. If you have a sufficient amount of uninsured motorist insurance in place, however, you can look to your own insurance policy for an additional source of coverage.
As you can see, uninsured and underinsured motorist’s insurance is essential to protect yourself from potentially thousands of dollars in medical bills and property damage in the event of a hit-and-run accident or a collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. At The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center, we pride ourselves on helping our clients through their legal difficulties related to traffic tickets and points, DWI defense, and expungements of criminal’s records.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Missouri
The state of Missouri requires all drivers to obtain auto insurance. But, many drivers in this state choose not to comply with this legal requirement. This means you could be involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver at some point in your life. Here’s what to do if it happens to you:
It’s best to gather evidence before leaving the scene of the accident. Take pictures of the damage, the positioning of the vehicles, traffic signs or lights, and anything else that seems relevant. Exchange contact information with the other driver, and if there were witnesses, ask for their information as well.
Seek Medical Attention
Visit a hospital or doctor’s office shortly after leaving the scene of the accident-even if your injuries do not seem serious. Some symptoms can take hours or days to appear, so your injuries will have worsened by the time you notice them. Don’t take this chance-seek medical attention right away to protect yourself.
File An Accident Report
Drivers are required to report crashes with the Driver License Bureau if an uninsured motorist was involved and the accident either injured or killed someone or caused more than $500 in damages. Fill out the appropriate forms as soon as possible after the injury so you do not forget to fulfill this legal obligation.
File A Car Accident Claim
Car accident victims usually file claims with the at-fault party’s insurance company in order to recover compensation for their injuries and property damage. But, what if the other driver did not have insurance?
In Missouri, drivers are required to have uninsured motorist coverage, which applies in claims involving an uninsured driver. This coverage protects you in the event you or your passengers are got accidents as a result of an uninsured driver’s negligence. After car accidents with an uninsured driver, you will need to take advantage of this coverage and file a claim with your insurance company.
It’s your insurance company that is handling the claim, but that does not mean they are looking out for your best interests. The insurer will look for every opportunity to reduce or deny your claim so they don’t have to write you a check for your injuries. Don’t let this happen-let a personal injury attorney handle the claims process on your behalf.
Have you been injured by an uninsured driver? If so, The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center can help. Let our personal injury attorneys aggressively negotiate with your insurance company to secure the compensation you deserve.
Missouri Personal Injury
People who are crushed in car crashes, slip and falls, and other accidents caused by another person’s negligence are entitled to compensation for their injuries. There are several types of compensation, also known as damages, that victims can recover in a personal injury case. Here’s a look at the different types of personal injury damages:
Economic damages are awarded to victims to cover injury-related expenses, such as medical bills, or actual losses, such as lost wages. Victims should receive compensation for both their current and future expenses and losses. For example, if a victim can prove that he will need additional treatment in the future, he should be awarded economic damages to cover these expected expenses. Likewise, if a victim proves that he will need to take more time off of work in the future as a result of his injuries, he should be awarded compensation for his future lost wages.
The second type of compensation is known as non-economic damages. These damages are often referred to as pain and suffering damages because they are awarded to victims who have experienced mental or physical pain and suffering as a result of their injuries. For instance, if a victim is experiencing depression due to her injuries, she is entitled to compensation for this emotional distress.
It’s fairly easy to calculate the value of medical expenses and lost wages, but it’s much harder to quantify pain and suffering. For this reason, it’s important to let an experienced personal injury attorney calculate the value of your claim.
Some personal injury victims will also receive punitive damages. These damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant acted with indifference or a complete disregard to the safety of others. They are not awarded to compensate the victims for specific expenses or losses, but rather to punish the defendant for his grossly negligent behavior and deter others from engaging in similar behaviors.
Unfortunately, the victim will not get to keep all of the punitive damages that are awarded to him. In Missouri, half of the punitive damages awarded to the victim must be paid to the state.
Have you been injured? If so, contact the attorneys The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center right away. Compensation is never guaranteed in a personal injury case-especially if you are not represented by an experienced attorney. Our team will ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries.
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