Personal Injury Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
Probably the most recognized source for personal injury caused by someone else is a traffic accident in which another driver, through negligence, inattention, or recklessness, crashes into you and causes you and/or your passengers to be injured.
While car accidents are frequent occurrences – about 7,500 people are injured in car crashes every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – injuries can occur in a variety of ways because of other people’s actions, inactions, negligence, or intentional acts.
You can be out shopping and slip and fall in a store because of a wet or littered floor that hasn’t been marked off. You can get bitten by a dog. You can be a victim of medical malpractice. In any case, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable by filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been injured and someone else is responsible for what happened, turn to The Morris Firm in St. Louis, Missouri. For nearly two decades, Attorney Ralphael Morris has been helping injury victims throughout the city and surrounding areas of St. Charles and Jefferson County recover the just compensation due them for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. He will go the extra mile to achieve the best result possible.
Personal Injury Claims in Missouri
Personal injury claims are based around negligence. For instance, in cases of car accidents, anyone operating a motor vehicle in Missouri has a duty of care toward others on the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, or parked vehicles. When a driver causes an accident that results injury, then that duty of care has been breached through some action or inaction that amounts to negligence.
If you slip and fall in a commercial property, the owner or operator has a duty to maintain a safe environment and must take “reasonable” steps to ensure that people on the premises are safe. That’s why you will often see signs marking off wet surfaces that have just been mopped, as an example.
Not taking reasonable precautions is another way of saying being negligent. If the owner/operator fails to exert reasonable care in providing a safe environment, then that person can be liable for any resulting injuries. Injuries on other people’s property—whether commercial or residential—fall under the legal concept of premises liability.
Besides negligence, there is also strict liability. In Missouri, the owner of a dog that bites or attacks someone is strictly liable. In some states, there is a “one bite” rule that basically forgives the owner and his or her dog for the first bite, but after that, strict liability sets in.
There is also intentional harm inflicted. Think of a bar brawl. Someone sitting near you doesn’t like your looks and starts making insulting comments. You tell him to mind his own business. Next thing you know, he’s pummeling you. There could be both a civil and criminal case in this scenario, but if you egged him on, you probably would not have a claim.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Missouri is an at-fault auto insurance state, which means that drivers who cause car accidents are liable for any property damage or personal injury. The basic auto insurance requirements are pretty low. Each driver must carry liability insurance for personal injuries and property damage.
The personal injury requirement is $25,000 for a single person and $50,000 for all persons. The property damage requirement is $25,000. These are sums that your insurance should pay when you cause the injuries and damages. They do not cover you or your passengers.
So, if you are struck by another driver who appears to be at fault, you can notify your insurance company, which will then seek a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. Or you can simply file with the at-fault driver’s insurance, or even go straight to filing a personal injury lawsuit. An insurance claim you need to file quickly, but you have five years to file the lawsuit. However, waiting that long may make it hard, if not impossible, to prove your case.
In a slip-and-fall situation, the owner/operator will have general or commercial liability insurance, and you can file a claim with that provider. If you’re the victim of a dog attack, the dog owner’s homeowner’s or apartment insurance likely will cover the claim. A personal injury lawsuit may also be appropriate.
In legal terms, damages refer to the compensation you can receive for your injuries. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you are generally entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. Economic refers to your medical and related expenses, plus any lost wages due to time missed from work. Noneconomic damages refer to pain and suffering and loss of consortium (companionship).
Seeking an insurance claim is going to result in your being contacted by the at-fault party’s claims adjuster, whose sole goal is to try to get you to admit some sort of fault so they can low-ball your settlement, or perhaps even deny it. That’s why you need an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your claim for you and deal with the claims adjuster.
Comparative Negligence in Missouri
Missouri recognizes the principle of pure comparative negligence. For instance, in an auto accident, both drivers may have played a part in what happened. Say you’re rear-ended but your brake lights didn’t work. You might be judged to be 30% at fault by an insurance claims adjuster or by a judge or jury. If you’re seeking $50,000 in damages, your settlement or reward would then be reduced by 30 percent to $35,000.
Personal Injury Attorney in St. Louis, Missouri
When you’ve been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you can seek an insurance claim or file a lawsuit. If you're in the St. Louis area, reach out to The Morris Firm. Attorney Ralphael Morris knows how to deal with insurance tactics and will fight for your just compensation. If necessary, he will also represent you in an injury lawsuit.