Missouri law lets you recover money for your injuries, even if you are partially at fault. Learn how you can identify if you have a valid personal injury claim.
Personal injury cases can arise from any number of scenarios. You’re probably most familiar with slip and falls, car accidents, medical malpractice, work injuries, and product liability cases (improperly manufactured/designed cars, for example).
If you experience an injury – and you feel it’s not your fault or only partially your fault – how do you know if you have a case that could entitle you to damages?
Here’s a rough way to make that determination:
- Lawyers Think of This as Determining Fault
Once fault is established, the at-fault party is responsible for paying financial damages for your injuries. In reality, it will most often be the fat-faulty party’s insurance company that pays you.
To show fault, a personal injury attorney must:
- Prove the defendant owed you a legal duty of care. For example, when you drive, all other motorists owe you a duty of care. Other motorists must operate their vehicles in a safe and reasonable manner.
- Show the defendant breached that duty of care. If another driver hits a patch of black ice while driving under the speed limit and collide into you, they might not have breached their duty of care. If they were speeding given the weather and road conditions, however, then they have breached that duty of care.
- Prove the defendant caused your injuries. Usually, this is straightforward. But, it can get complicated in cases of medical malpractice. Your injuries, for example, could be the cause of some other condition, not your doctor’s negligence. Other times insurance carriers will suggest you had pre-existing conditions.
- You must incur damages from your injuries. These damages can be economic (loss of earnings, medical bills, etc.) or non-economic (mental anguish, pain and suffering, etc.)
- What If You Think You’re Partially at Fault for Your Injuries?
Relax, because you can still recover damages to the extent to which the other party was at fault for your injuries.
For example, if you are 99% at fault for your own injuries, you can still recover damages for the 1% fault attributable to another party (injury lawyers can help you understand when this makes sense).
This is a Missouri state law. Some states do this too, but most are different. In neighboring Kansas, for example, they fellow the “50 Percent Bar Rule.” If you have 50% responsibility, or more, for your injuries, you cannot recover any money for your injuries.
It Never Hurts to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer
So if you think the other party was even at least partially responsible for your injuries, talk to a personal injury lawyer.
They don’t charge anything to listen to the facts of your case as you present them, so you risk nothing. And the worst that can happen is you learn you don’t have a case.