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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Powell

How to File a Lawsuit for Personal Injury in Missouri

People injured in Missouri because of someone else's negligence can file a personal injury claim to recover financial compensation. Understanding the law and how to submit a claim and prepare a lawsuit is a crucial first step toward justice. 


An expert Missouri personal injury attorney at Powell Law Firm can help injury victims seek and win the compensation they deserve. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for construction accident in Missouri. Here is an overview of how personal injury lawsuits work in Missouri. 


What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?


Personal injury claims come in many shapes and sizes. Put simply, they are claims made by people who have suffered damages because of an injury that was caused by someone else. 


Most personal injury cases revolve around an accident or incident that happened because one or more parties acted negligently and failed to perform the duty of care they owed to the victim.


Examples include:


  • Car accidents

  • Slips, trips, and falls

  • Dog bites

  • Workplace accidents

  • Medical malpractice

  • Premises liability


The term personal injury claim covers all of these specific circumstances. Ins and outs can vary, but the general process follows the same structure. 


How to File a Personal Injury Claim in Missouri: Step-by-Step Guide


It can seem like a daunting task- but with the proper guidance and a clearer understanding of how it all works can make it feel less intimidating and more achievable. Here is a step-by-step overview of how to file for personal injury in Missouri.


1: Get Professional Legal Guidance from an Expert in Personal Injury Cases

The first thing to do is secure legal counsel. Personal injury attorneys know every detail of Missouri law and how to use it to ensure justice and fair compensation for clients. They know how to file a lawsuit for slip and fall in Missouri as well.


Some parts of the process can be challenging to deal with alone while recovering. Without a lawyer, victims can feel pressured into accepting low-ball offers during stressful and difficult times. 


2: Gather Evidence to Support a Compensation Claim

Missouri personal injury lawsuits cannot be successful without sufficient evidence to back them up. Gathering evidence is essential. The more there is, the stronger the claim, and the more likely a favorable settlement is to be reached. 


Stage one is collecting evidence that proves negligence. Proving liability is essential for a case to hold up in court. This is achieved through things like police and accident reports, medical reports, photographs and video footage from the accident scene, and witness statements. Having this evidence stops at-fault parties from being able to deny responsibility and refuse payment. 


The next step is to gather details of the compensation owed. Figures are not just pulled out of nowhere- they are based on the actual damages suffered by the victim. 


Damages are divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are the things that come with a set dollar amount- such as lost wages, medical costs, travel expenses, property damage, and any other tangible losses. 


Non-economic damages aim to repay the non-tangible damages- such as lasting impact on quality of life, permanent disability or disfigurement, and other pain and suffering caused to the victim and their loved ones. The requested settlement amount should be based on both of these things. Again, there must be proof to justify the claim. 


3: Send a Demand Letter

Once the case is prepared and evidence gathered, the next step is to have a lawyer send a demand letter to the at-fault party's insurance company. A demand letter lays out the details of the case and claim- specifically how the incident happened, what injuries were sustained, the extent of those injuries, and what compensation the victim is seeking. 


Sending a demand letter starts the ball rolling for settlement negotiations- including a starting figure. It must also state the intention if a settlement is not agreed upon. Usually, this means stating that the case will be pursued in court through a legal lawsuit process.


4: Try to Negotiate a Settlement

Settlement negotiations begin following the demand letter. The insurance company accepts the liability and returns a settlement offer or denies the claim. If they agree to negotiate, communication passes between the claimant and the insurance company until both sides agree on an acceptable amount of compensation to be paid out of court to the victim. 


Hopefully, this process will be successful, and there is no need for further legal action. If not, the legal process continues.


5: Take the Case to Court

When settlement negotiations fail, the next stage is filing an official lawsuit with the Court of Missouri and suing the responsible party for damages. As far as legal options go, this is the final avenue. 


Filing a lawsuit is similar to sending a demand letter, but instead of sending the information to the insurance company, it goes to the court. An attorney takes legal responsibility for filing and serving the lawsuit. 


6: Discovery and Trial

The trial process begins with discovery. During the discovery process, the legal teams on both sides of the case exchange information and hold interviews to learn more. When discovery ends, the trial begins. This takes place in front of a judge and jury, and the outcome is in their hands.


Settlement negotiations often continue during the discovery phase and well into the trial, and an agreement can be reached right up until the last moments before the judge reads the verdict at the end of the trial. 


Other Things to Consider in a Personal Injury Case

Other Things to Consider in a Personal Injury Case


The Statute of Limitations

Missouri has a five-year statute of limitations on most personal injury cases. That means victims have five years starting from the date the accident occurs to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit in court. Miss the deadline, and the likelihood of winning compensation all but disappears. 


Some cases have a different time limit- including wrongful death cases and claims made against government entities. It is advisable to speak to expert personal injury attorneys in St Louis sooner rather than later to determine the available timeline.


Comparative Fault Laws

Proving fault is essential in a personal injury claim. Because Missouri is a pure comparative fault state, an injured party can claim compensation even if they are partly- or largely- responsible themselves. As long as they are not found to be 100% at fault, they can claim.


However, the amount of compensation they can receive is relative to their share of the blame. Someone with no blame who is awarded $20,000 will receive $20,000- but someone who holds 40% of the blame will get 40% less, reducing their compensation to $12,000.


Arrange a Free Consultation with an Expert Personal Injury Attorney at Powell Law Firm


Having the right attorney on your side makes all the difference when facing a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Powell Law Firm is a leading Missouri legal team with exceptional experience and an impeccable track record of getting the best for its clients.


Contact our elite team today to arrange a free consultation to discuss your case- and take the first step towards financial recovery following an incredibly difficult time in your life. 

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