If you’ve been hurt because of something someone else did, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against them. Understanding how to do so is the first step to demanding justice and compensation for what you’ve suffered.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim arises when someone suffers physical or emotional harm due to somebody else’s negligence, recklessness, willful conduct, or other legal fault. This injured person can pursue a personal injury claim against the person to blame for their injuries, seeking to recover compensation for the harm they’ve suffered as a result. This harm could include medical expenses, costs of long-term disability care, lost wages/future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Various kinds of incidents can lead to personal injury claims, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Defective products
- Construction site accidents
- Premises liability accidents (e.g., slip and fall accidents, dog bites)
- Workplace accidents
- Dangerous/unsafe drugs and medical devices
Deadlines for Personal Injury Claims in Missouri
Under Missouri’s statute of limitations, you typically have five years to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your injuries and subsequent losses. Although this deadline may be extended in limited circumstances, you must file your lawsuit before the limitations period expires on your claim. Otherwise, the trial court can dismiss any untimely filed claim, and you may lose the opportunity to seek compensation.
If a government entity or employee is to blame for your injuries, you may have less time to file your claim. Depending on the governmental body at fault for your injuries, you may have as few as 90 days to provide the appropriate agency with written notice of your claim. A lawyer can review your claim to determine what deadline applies to your case.
Steps to File a Personal Injury Claim
The process of filing a personal injury claim in Missouri involves several steps. First, contact a lawyer. They can help you with every subsequent step of this process, and likely at no upfront cost to you.
Your lawyer will start by investigating the incident that caused your injuries to recover all available evidence you might need to build your claim. This evidence could include police crash reports, surveillance footage, medical records, and eyewitness testimony.
Your attorney can then review this evidence to identify the parties who could be to blame for your injuries and consequent losses. Depending on the circumstances, this blame could extend beyond the person most immediately at fault for your injuries. For example, employers are typically liable by extension for any accidents their employees cause in the execution of their job-related duties.
Once your attorney has established