Personal injuries occur when someone suffer physical trauma caused by someone else’s actions, whether they are negligent or intentional. These injuries can result in substantial medical bills from ongoing treatments and could prevent an individual from returning to work, either temporarily or permanently.

For this reason, state law allows those who are injured to seek legal restitution from the responsible party with the help of a compassionate attorney. If you or a loved one suffered harm caused by another, you could benefit from speaking to a St. Louis personal injury lawyer about filing a claim for damages.

What Damages are Available in a Civil Claim?

Monetary awards in personal injury cases are divided into compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are further divided into economic and non-economic damages. A local injury attorney could determine which damages may be available depending on the facts of an individual’s case.

Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages compensate plaintiffs for the losses they suffered as a result of the defendant’s actions. Economic damages are measurable, and include out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. On the other hand, non-economic damages are subjective. A jury will decide how much a claimant’s pain and suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life are worth, with help from a knowledgeable attorney.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are rarely awarded in personal injury lawsuits and aim to punish a defendant rather than compensate a claimant. These are reserved for cases where the defendant’s actions must go beyond ordinary negligence. If a defendant acted intentionally, maliciously, or with wanton disregard for human life a jury might award punitive damages, half of which are retained by the state of Missouri.

Burden of Proof of a Plaintiff

The burden of proof falls on the plaintiff and their local attorney to prove a defendant actions were negligent. This requires them to prove the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care which they breached and that this violation directly caused the plaintiff to suffer compensable losses.

Different types of civil claims require a claimant to collect different evidence of negligence. Common personal injury claims include:

  • Car wrecks
  • Medical errors
  • Slip and falls
  • Dangerous medications
  • Premises liability
  • Dog bites

Since many circumstances can amount to personal injuries, it is advisable to work with a compassionate attorney in St. Louis who could develop a personalized claim and help establish defendant fault.

Statute of Limitations in Missouri

The statute of limitations sets the amount of time a person has to file a civil lawsuit. Under Missouri Code, Section 516.120, a civil claim must be filed within five years after the accident or the discovery of the injury in some cases. If the claimant is younger than 21, is mentally handicapped, or if the defendant leaves town before the suit is filed, the amount of time to file a lawsuit could be extended. If the defendant causes the injury while acting for the government as an employee, a claim must be filed within 90 days.

Meeting filing deadlines is critical as failure to meet this legal deadline could result in the case being dismissed. A knowledgeable attorney could make sure filing deadlines are met in a personal injury case.

Reach Out to a St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney Now

Severe personal injuries can have a substantial impact on an individual’s life. They may be unable to provide for their family or suffer from permanent disability. Therefore, it is highly advisable to reach out to a local personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for recovery.

If you or a loved one suffered harm due to another’s reckless actions, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance. Call today to book your initial consultation.