Columbia Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
June 6th, 2011
If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness it is essential that you make sure certain things are addressed and noted so that your claim can be settled quickly and to your satisfaction.
To Do List
First off, write down everything about the accident, or injury; where and when it occurred, names, numbers and addresses of witnesses, police officers and insurance company representatives, or workers’ comp reps if it was a work-related injury.
Speak with a Missouri personal injury attorney before making any statements, written or verbal, to insurance company representatives. Inform the party involved that you will be making a claim. And gather as much evidence as you can; photos, damaged personal belongings; etc.
Who’s to Blame
In the majority of cases you must prove that the person who caused you injury was negligent. In the state of Missouri that means you must prove: the person who caused your injury owed you a duty; the other party broke that duty; you suffered injury or damages and the other party’s failure caused your injury.
Under Missouri’s Comparative Negligence Law, if your own carelessness contributed to your injury, your damages are reduced by your percentage of fault. So even if you were ninety-nine percent at fault you still may recover, but you’ll receive only 1 % of the damages awarded by the jury or judge.
Now if more than one person caused your injury, each party must pay a percentage of your damages. Any person or party that is deemed to be at 51% at fault must pay all of your damages.
What is the Claim?
Under Missouri law, the person who injured you is responsible for; past, current and future medical expenses, time lost from work, property damage, any permanent disfigurement or disability, emotional distress, change in your future earning ability due to the injury and any other costs that are a result of the injury.
June 4th, 2011
The law regarding personal injury, while some may consider some cases frivolous, truly shows its teeth when a child is involved. Especially when a child is severely injured at a seemingly “safe” play place. And that is the purpose of injury law, not that everybody gets a huge settlement for some seemingly minor injury, but those who host and have children under their watch and care make sure that all aspects of safety are covered.
Injured at Practice
Take the case of a young lady that was injured at basketball practice. Katie Patrick, 14, was rushed to the local hospital after hitting her head against an unprotected, unpadded metal wall directly behind the basket. Although she seemed to be fine and the first tests were negative, Katie continued to suffer nausea and headaches and even dizziness. She was sent to the Mayo clinic in Minnesota were it was determined that she did indeed suffer from mild traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the school. the coach and the church where the practice was held. They stated that it was beneath the standard of care to have a unpadded metal wall so close to the basket. The defendants claimed that there was no requirement for them to have the wall padded.. The defendants also retained their own neurophysiologist who performed tests on young Katie and determined that the severity of the injury was in question. However, the plaintiff’s attorney secured the services of a respected neuro-radiologist with cutting edge technology at his disposal. He was able to show that portions of Katie’s brain had indeed been affected by the injury. A week before trail the parties settled, for 1.5 million.
This is a prime example of having an excellent attorney who will not be swayed by the other side’s expert witnesses. And as such, a strong law firm will make sure that you have the proper and leading authorities present to fight for your case.
May 31st, 2011
While many people have low opinions of personal injury attorneys, they often have a change of heart when they are involved in an accident that they deem was not their fault. And because of this accident, they suffered serious personal injury or damage to their property. While there will always be questionable attorneys, the vast majority of them are there to protect the citizen and consumer.
Missouri Birth Injury Leads to Massive Settlement
One of the great services that injury attorneys provide is to act as watchdogs, so to speak. And this is never more on display than in the area of medical malpractice. The medical area is constructed in such a manner that most people are overwhelmed with the over-all complexity of what goes on in an ordinary hospital. And when something terrible occurs, they are often told that “that is just what happens sometimes.” Although sometimes it is simply a matter of the practicing professionals not being diligent enough and thereby making mistakes, often fatal ones.
Take the case of the 27 year old pregnant woman who had her labor induced, since she was past the forty weeks gestation. The care professionals employed an electronic fetal monitor to keep aware of the baby’s condition. If the strip is monitored carefully, it can tell if the baby is receiving proper oxygen and if not, letting them know that a caesarian- section is warranted. Well, apparently the attending medical professionals ignored some rather ominous signs about the baby’s condition. Sadly the baby was born with severe brain damage and in the need of twenty-four hour care for the remainder of its life.
Due to diligent work, and top-notch legal expertise, the plaintiff was awarded a 4.75 million settlement. Enough to give the child the medical attention he needs throughout the remainder of his life.
May 29th, 2011
In regards to personal injury cases, they usually fall into about six categories. Serious injury and wrongful death, truck and auto accidents, construction and workplace accidents, medical malpractice, bad faith insurance claims, general and product liability. Perhaps the most common fall into the category of truck and auto accidents. And it is
here where we will look at a few recent cases in Missouri.
Truck and Auto Accidents
Cruising along highway 43, a narrow two-lane highway that runs all though central Missouri, Michael Smith(in his Ford Escort)was side-swiped by a tractor trailer operated by Simmons Foods. The state troopers found that Mr. Smith’s vehicle had been struck by the dual wheels of the big rig, as they met on a perilous curve. The trailer was found to be slightly over the center line and the trailer crashed into the Escort’s compartment and sliced through Mr. Smith’s shoulder. After extensive surgeries and rehabilitation, Mr. Smith was able to return to work. Although he did suffer permanent limitations to the use of his range of motion. The case was settled a month before trial with Mr. Smith receiving an $800,000 dollar settlement.
An elderly man was on his way home when he was struck by a drunk-driver head-on. He was air-lifted to the University of Missouri, where he was treated for a shattered pelvis and compound fracture to the right leg. The attorneys found that there was limited insurance on behalf of the drunk driver. However, with a little digging into the drunk-driver’s background, it was found that he had some assets that were not insured from the wreck. This is a good example of hiring an attorney that will look into every nook and cranny, some attorneys are simply satisfied with a quick insurance settlement.
It is essential to hire a firm that is known for it’s strong work ethic and diligent attention to the smallest details. One that treats you as a trusted partner.
February 1st, 2011
We’ve known for some time that the Missouri Second Injury Fund is in danger of running out. Alarm bells have been sounding since the passage of a 2005 cap on the employer surcharge that funds this type of compensation. Though businesses have countered that the issue is one of overpayment, a state auditor’s report in 2007 found that revenues could begin to fall short as early as 2008. The fund has finally begun to reach its limits in 2011. The Attorney General’s office has just circulated a memo stating that available funds have dropped to $1.34 million from a 2006 balance of $30 million.
The Purpose of the Fund
The second injury fund was originally created to benefit both employers and employees. The idea was that employers would be more likely to hire a worker who had already suffered from injury or debilitation if they knew that a further on the job injury would be covered by a second fund—one administered by the state rather than the employer. So the employer would have an employee whose potential worker’s comp claims were covered by an outside source, the employee would have a job and the promise of worker’s comp if necessary, and the state would have more employed residents. Everyone wins.
The State of the Fund
Now, however, the fund is in imminent danger of running dry and the Missouri Attorney General is moving to prevent it from becoming overdrawn. Although a number of different solutions to the problem have been discussed, there has been no governmental consensus on the matter as of yet. Until there is, or until more funds accumulate, the Attorney General has halted second fund offers. That means that no new second fund claims will be honored for the time being. No one is really sure at this point how his decision will ultimately affect current and future cases, but some things will definitely have to change.
January 30th, 2011
Plaintiffs Thomas Edwards, Betty Edwards, and Slay Transportation thought that their case was closed after a jury trial awarded them approximately $3 million dollars in damages. But after what they allege was a thorough and even lengthy trial, they’re faced with a defense attempt to overthrown the verdict. According to the plaintiff’s motion, “After one week of trial and the testimony of twenty witnesses, Defendants have thrown the proverbial kitchen sink into their post trial attack on the Court’s rulings and the findings of a jury of their peers.” Upon reflection of the defense’s argument, it certainly seems that way.
The case in question relates to a two year old accident. Thomas Edwards was injured when his tractor-trailer crashed into part of another rig. The tanker that Gary Collier was hauling came loose after he ran off the road and ended up in Edward’s lane of traffic. In the suit, Edwards, his wife, and his employer sought to hold Collier and his employer responsible for the accident. They argued that Collier had pulled and 18 hour day and had no business driving at the time. The defense responded that Edwards was suffering from an out of control case of diabetes that impeded his vision as well as his reaction times. They felt that he was the one who should not have been driving. In the end however, the jury awarded Edwards $2.5 million in damages, his wife $800,000, and his employer $110,863.08.
Motion for a New Trial
The defense has filed a motion asking for a new trial, however, and they have produced a number of different arguments to support their request. They’ve argued that various jury instructions and testimony were improper. They’ve claimed that evidence was improperly utilized, and that award amounts were improperly calculated. In short, they’ve used every argument at their disposal to get their new trial. The plaintiffs claim that the trial verdict was fair and just, but whether or not a judge agrees remains to be seen.
January 28th, 2011
At one point or another in our driving lives we may all expect to be unintentionally involved in an accident. We may even be involved in more than one, as statistics are against us. If you are involved in an accident due to the negligence of another driver, then you need to protect yourself as soon as possible. There are some things that take precedence over summoning legal assistance—medical treatment, for example, but the sooner you can involve your lawyer, the more protected you will be.
The Importance of Protecting Yourself
This type of situation requires you to be extra vigilant when it comes to protecting yourself. There are simply too many potential mistakes that you can make. After an accident, you are likely to be upset and confused at the very least and you may find that you emotions lead you into trouble. You might make statements at the scene that you think better of later, or forget to take care of obtaining crucial evidence of your innocence. Worst of all, you might find yourself making a recorded statement to the insurance company that you will later regret.
The best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You may not have experienced this situation before, but your personal injury lawyer should be more than familiar with the appropriate steps that you will need to take. He or she can best advise you on them. That way, you will be able to collect the information that you need to protect yourself from the legal actions of the other driver as well as to build your own case, if necessary. Don’t get stuck taking on the responsibility for an accident that you didn’t cause. Get help instead.
January 27th, 2011
Always in the case of personal injury lawsuits, a claim is made to state the damages caused by the defendant onto the plaintiff. Though claims can often seem like random monetary values to an outsider, there is a process to the calculating of personal injury claims in Missouri.
What is Your Claim Worth?
Under Missouri law, the person who caused the injury is responsible for the following:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Time lost from work, which includes any time spent visiting the doctor to therapist
- Property damage, such as to a vehicle
- The cost of hiring household help to do the work while you can’t
- Any permanent disability or disfigurement
- Any emotional distress that you may have, which can include depression, anxiety, and interference with family relationships
- Changes in future earnings due to the injury
- Any other costs that are direct results of the injury
In Missouri, there is a $350,000 cap on damages for any personal suffering, either emotional, social, or psychological. There is, however, no cap on economic damages, so lost wages and medical expenses are fully covered.
Speaking with Your Attorney
In most Missouri personal injury cases, you have five years to file a lawsuit. It is important to work with your lawyer during that time so reach an agreement with involved insurance companies or defendants. After five years, the statute of limitations runs out. Also, make sure to ask any and all questions, that is what your lawyer is for, and they always have your best interests in mind.
There are several parties involved in personal injury lawsuits, from the plaintiff to the defendant to the insurance company to the lawyers. Just make sure you know who is responsible for what, and who is on your side.
January 25th, 2011
It is always a difficult situation when you have been injured by someone else’s carelessness, but if you know what steps to take, then it can make the whole process of settling your claim relatively quick and painless.
Immediate Steps to Take
In the exact moment when the personal injury occurs, here are the steps that you should take:
- Write down everything you remember about the accident, including when, where, as well as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses, police officers, and insurance company representatives.
- Talk to a Missouri personal injury lawyer before you make any statements to the insurance company.
- Let whoever you think is responsible know that you intend to file a claim against them.
- Gather together evidence (photographs of your car and the scene of the accident, clothing, damaged belongings, etc.) and keep them in a safe place.
Who is at Fault?
In order to have a solid claim, as the victim, you must prove that the other person caused the injury by being negligent. There are several factors involved when doing this, in Missouri, each of the following facts should be proven true:
- The person who caused the injury owed you a duty
- Said person broke or breached that duty
- Said person’s failure caused your injury
Also in the state of Missouri, under the comparative negligence law, if your carelessness helped cause your injury, then your damages are then reduced by your percentage of fault.
It is complicated and at times drawn out process, stating a personal injury claim and taking it to court. Fortunately, the state of Missouri keeps its resident well informed so that when injury strikes, they will be prepared.