Personal injury law, often referred to as tort law, exists to protect you if you or your property is injured or harmed because of someone else's act or failure to act. In Missouri, like in every state, there are specific laws that govern these types of claims. This comprehensive guide is here to provide a better understanding of personal injury law in Missouri.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law provides a legal framework for establishing fault in personal injuries and deciding on compensation. This legal field encompasses civil law cases as opposed to criminal law cases, which are designed to punish the wrongdoer. The keyword here is "civil" – the focus is on dispute resolution and victim compensation, not punishment.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can cover a vast range of incidents and accidents. The common thread for these various incidents, from car accidents to product defects, is that they involve harm caused by the negligence of another party. This broad category includes car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, wrongful death, product liability, and more.
Missouri's Specific Laws About Personal Injury
Understanding personal injury law in Missouri begins with understanding the state's specific laws about personal injury. One unique characteristic of Missouri's personal injury law is the adherence to the "pure comparative fault" rule. This rule stipulates that you can recover damages in a lawsuit, even if you're 99 percent at fault. However, your recovery would be reduced by your degree of fault.
Missouri also has a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This means you have five years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.
Rights of the Victim
In a personal injury case, victims have the right to seek compensation for their damages. These damages can include, but are not limited to, medical expenses, loss of income, property damage, and pain and suffering. In cases where the defendant's conduct is deemed particularly egregious or outrageously careless, a personal injury plaintiff may be awarded punitive damages on top of any compensatory damages award.
Role of a Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer in Missouri represents clients who have been injured due to the negligence of another party. The attorney's role is to guide the client through the legal process, advocate for their rights, and work to secure the most favorable outcome possible. This includes determining the value of the claim, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, and if necessary, litigating the case in court.
While personal injury law can seem complex, it doesn't have to be. With the help of an experienced Missouri personal injury lawyer, navigating through this legal maze can be made significantly easier. Understanding personal injury law is your first step towards ensuring that you are adequately protected and compensated for your losses. Whether it's a car accident, a slip and fall, or a medical malpractice case, knowing your rights and having the right representation are key to a successful outcome.