When an accident is caused by the negligence or recklessness of another, state law allows you to hold the responsible party financial responsible for the harm they have caused you. Known as damages, legal recourse could compensate you for the financial, physical, and emotional losses you have suffered as a result of an accident.

However, in order to recover damages, you must first establish that the other party is legally liable, which can be difficult without help from an experienced attorney. A Maryland Heights personal injury lawyer could help you file a civil claim to recover a fair damage award to meet your unique needs.

What is Negligence?

In a personal injury lawsuit, the injured person, or plaintiff, must prove that the person they are suing, called the defendant, was negligent. The legal understanding of negligence is someone failing to take the degree of care that another reasonably prudent person would take in the same or similar circumstances.

To demonstrate legal negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff and breached that obligation. The plaintiff also must prove that the defendant’s failure caused the accident and resulted in actual losses to the plaintiff. As this can be difficult to accomplish without legal experience, it is often advisable to seek guidance from a local attorney who has successfully handled personal injury cases in the area before.

Accidents That Could Give Rise to Civil Action

Virtually any accident might involve a degree of negligence on someone’s part and could cause someone else to suffer harm. However, the most common incidents that could give rise to a civil claim include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse
  • Slip and falls
  • Drownings and near-drownings
  • Defective products
  • Harmful medications
  • Animal attacks

As these cases can vary greatly, it is important to work with an accomplished lawyer who has experience working with a variety of personal injury cases in Maryland Heights.

Proving Damages in Injury Cases

Damages in personal injury cases fall into several categories to meet different needs. A plaintiff must present proof of their losses, and a local accident attorney could help them compile the documentation they need.

Economic Damages

Fixed and documentable expenses are called economic damages. These damages often account for medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, transportation, and diminished future earning capacity.

Non-Economic Damages

Plaintiffs also could receive compensation for their pain, suffering, humiliation, and loss of ability to participate in activities they formerly enjoyed. A person could prove their non-economic damages by presenting prescriptions for pain medication and testimony about their ability to participate in and enjoy certain activities before and after the accident.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are sums a defendant must pay to the plaintiff as punishment for egregious behavior. They are not available in most personal injury cases. To get punitive damages, a plaintiff must prove that a defendant acted intentionally to harm them or with flagrant disregard for others’ safety.

A plaintiff must present their evidence of the defendant’s wrongdoing and then a judge decides whether it merits a request for punitive damages. If the court permits the plaintiff to seek punitive damages, Missouri Revised Statutes §510.265 limits the amount they could receive to $500,000 or five times the amount of economic and non-economic damages combined, whichever is greater.

Seek Guidance from a Maryland Heights Personal Injury Attorney

If someone else’s negligence caused an injury to you or a loved one, you could hold them financially liable for the losses you have suffered. However, trying to do this on your own can be challenging.

Working with a local personal injury lawyer could help you better pursue justice after an injury. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.