Do You Have Grounds for a St. Louis Personal Injury Claim?
Accidents happen all of the time and there is no way to predict if and when an accident will occur. Whether you or someone else is responsible for the accident, the reality is that an accident can cause you injuries that will make it difficult to perform ordinary daily activities. In addition, you may lose days, months and even years of work and pay. Furthermore, what initially seemed like a small problem may actually leave you permanently impaired.
However, if your injury was caused by the negligence of another, be it in a car or truck accident, a slip and fall accident or a defective product, you have the right to be compensated. What follows is a discussion of how you can be sure if you have grounds for a personal injury claim in St Louis or St Charles Missouri.
Grounds for a Missouri Personal Injury Claim
Personal injury law covers a wide array of accidents, the most frequent of which are auto accidents, slip and falls accidents and accidents caused by defective products. Each differs in the primary cause of the accident, but they all require that someone other than yourself be found liable for the accident that caused your injuries.
In order for a person to be held liable for your injuries, they must have either:
- Acted negligently towards you
- Injured you intentionally
- Be strictly liable
You may have grounds for a personal injury claim if your injuries were caused by another’s negligence. In order to prove negligence, the following criteria must be met:
- Duty – A person must have had a legal duty to behave in a certain manner towards you. For example, we have a legal duty to operate our cars with the highest degree of care in regards to the safety of others. Similarly, truck and transport companies have a duty of care to their drivers and other motorists.
- Breach of duty – A person or company must have breached his or her duty to you. Driving recklessly at any time is a breach of a driver’s duty to other motorists on the road. A transport company who scheduled an overweight or overloaded truck has also breached their duty of care.
- Injury – You must have suffered an injury as a result of the accident. These injuries may be either physical (cuts, bruises, broken bones), emotional (pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life), financial (medical expenses, damage to your property), or a combination of the three.
- Cause – the person’s breach of duty must have been the proximate or most direct cause of your injuries. For instance, if a shop owner forgets to clean up a spill and subsequently you slip, fall and injure yourself, his or her forgetting to cleanup the spill is the proximate cause of your injuries.
A person may also be held liable for your injuries if they did something intentionally that caused you to be injured. This can be exemplified by a variety of behaviors including libel, slander, and assault and battery. While intention is not as easy to prove as it may seem, if it can be proven that the person knew that his or her actions would cause you harm, he or she may be held liable for your injuries.
In certain circumstance, a person may be held liable even in the absence of negligence or intention. This is often the case when an individual is involved in activities that are particularly hazardous in nature, such as in the transportation of explosives or other volatile material.
Strict liability is also applicable in cases where a person has been injured by a defective product. In these cases, in order for you have grounds to seek compensation from the designer, manufacturer, distributor of the product, it need only be proven that a defect in the product existed and caused you to be injured.
Your Own Percentage of Fault
Missouri adheres to the theory of comparative negligence. Even if you were partly at fault, you can still sue the other party for your own damages. Missouri follows the “pure” comparative fault rule, whereby your recovery will be reduced by your own percentage of fault.
For example, if you suffer $10,000 in damages as a result of an accident and are found to be 40 percent at fault for the collision, you may only recover from the other party $6,000 ($10,000 minus 40 percent), or 60 percent of your damages. Likewise, the other party would be entitled to recover his damages from you, but reduced by his own percentage of fault.
Contact a St Louis Personal Injury Attorney at Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC
If you or a loved one has been in an accident, contact Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC. We offer a no-cost and no-obligation consultations. We will discuss your case and determine how best to help you. You do not pay any attorney fees unless compensation is recovered for you. Call us today at (636) 946-6886 or toll-free at (855) 772-5291 to schedule an appointment or fill out our contact form. We have offices in both St Charles & St Louis for your convenience.