If you have suffered injuries as a result of the actions of another person or group (auto accident, under medical care, while on another person’s property) in Missouri, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is simply a claim that an individual files against another individual or group over injuries that were sustained. You may be able to receive compensation (known as “damages”) for your injuries.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
There are many types of personal injury claims that can be filed. As not all attorneys handle all types of claims, it is best to look into attorneys who handle your type of claim. Also, it is important to have a consultation with any potential attorney to determine if there is a good fit in terms of how you both view the potential claim and the steps to take in moving forward.
Some common types of personal injury claims are:
- slip and fall
- auto accidents
- medical malpractice
- product liability
Statute of Limitations
It is crucial to note that any personal injury claim must be filed within a certain time limit from the date of the incident or death. This is called the statute of limitations (SOL). If a claim is not filed within this time period, you may not ever be allowed to file this particular claim in the future. Generally in Missouri, you have two years from the date of the injury in which to pursue a personal injury claim.
Fault Status in Missouri
Missouri is a “fault” state when it comes to accidents, giving a plaintiff many options when it comes to pursuing a claim. If you have been injured, you may file a claim through your own insurance policy, through the injured person’s insurance company, or directly against the other party in a court of law. A court will examine the amount of percentage that all parties have in an accident, and any party found to be 50 percent or more at fault has no right to damages.
Required Auto Insurance in Missouri
Missouri state law requires every driver to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. In addition, proof of this insurance is required at all times. You are required to carry the minimum amounts of insurance coverage, which are:
- Bodily injury insurance coverage of $25,000 per person
- Bodily injury insurance coverage of $50,00 per accident
- Property damage insurance coverage of $10,000 per accident.
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per accident and $50,000 per accident.
It is worth noting that these are minimum coverage amounts required by law. It is certainly recommended to purchase larger coverage amounts if possible.
Real Life Claim in Missouri
On June 8, 2008, Lori Tindel was in a Toys-R-Us in Joplin, MO when she slipped and fell on plastic material that was on the floor. She filed a lawsuit against the chain after she suffered a knee fracture and damaged cartilage that required surgery. The store alleged that she failed to watch out for the object, thus was at fault. The court found that the store and the plaintiff shared equal fault in the accident. Ms. Tindel was awarded $75,000 in damages.
Damage Caps in Missouri
Many states have limitations on the amount that plaintiffs can collect if they are victorious in their personal injury claims. These limitations are known as damage caps. In Missouri, there is no limit on the amount of damages that a plaintiff can be awarded, except for medical malpractice cases where there is a $400,000 - $700,000 cap (depending on circumstances) for non-economic damages. A court will review your claim and will award an amount that they deem appropriate.