Missouri Personal Injury Overview
Missouri has some unique personal injury laws you should know about. The most unusual pertain to punitive damages, of which the state takes half. Like all states, Missouri has specific time limits for filing different types of lawsuits and rules on how you can collect your compensation.
Caps and punitive damages
Non-economic damages include things such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
Basically, they are real losses that have not cost you a specific dollar amount. In most types of cases in Missouri, there is no cap on non-economic damages, but in medical malpractice cases non-economic damages are capped at $350,000.
Punitive damages are not awarded to compensate you, the victim, but instead they are used to punish the party who caused you harm. In most cases, in Missouri, punitive damages can be no more than $500,000 or five times the amount of compensatory damages. However, you will only see half of that. The state takes the other half.
Statute of limitations
For most types of personal injury, in Missouri, you have five years to file your lawsuit. Some types of cases have a shorter time limit. If your case is a medical malpractice case you only have two years to file, in some types of malpractice that two years can start on the date that the malpractice as discovered as long as it is no more than ten years from the date that it occurred.
In some cases there are special exceptions for minors, giving them more time. The statute of limitations is a critical aspect of your case and can be difficult for the laymen to determine. If you miss your deadline you will have no case, so it is very important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney if you are even considering a lawsuit.
Sharing the blame
In Missouri you are entitled to compensation, even if you are partly at fault for your injuries. You can be 99% to blame and still collect compensation for the one percent that was someone else’s fault. You can receive compensation for an amount that is
proportionate to the other party’s share of responsibility. This is called “pure comparative negligence.”
Joint and several liability
When you win your lawsuit, you still have to collect. When there is more than one responsible party, Missouri makes it much easier than some states by applying joint and several liability. That means that each party is held liable for the full amount of compensation. This works in your favor, especially when one or more of the defendants cannot afford to pay. You can collect all the money you are owed from one defendant, and then they sort it out amongst themselves.
If you think that you may have a personal injury lawsuit in Missouri, please contact one of our Missouri personal injury lawyers for a free claim evaluation.