As Kansas City MO personal injury attorneys, one of the first questions we typically hear is, "How much is my personal injury claim worth?" Unfortunately, this is not a simple question to answer, as a personal injury claim isn't defined by the type of claim. Instead, a personal injury claim is dependent on a myriad of factors unique to your case. That said, through a few calculations, and understanding of personal injury law in Missouri, you can calculate a ballpark figure for your settlement.
If you've been injured in an accident caused the negligence and/or wrongdoing of another individual, call the Kansas City MO personal injury attorneys at Popham Law today. Our attorneys will work with you, one-on-one, to help determine a fair and reasonable settlement that covers damages now and potential damages in the future. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call our KC law firm today at (816) 221-2288.
Compensatory Damages in Personal Injury Cases
When injured in an accident, such as a car accident,, there are three ways to seek compensation for the financial expenses associated with the injuries. You can 1) file a claim with your insurer, 2) file a third-party claim with the other party's insurance carrier, or 3) file a lawsuit in Missouri civil courts.By taking the third option, filing a lawsuit, you are essentially holding the other party responsible for his/her negligent actions or wrongdoing; by holding the other party responsible, you are also seeking compensation for expenses incurred. Most personal injury damages are known as "compensatory," meaning that the injured plaintiff can seek compensation for what was lost due to the accident or injury.Below is a list of the most common types of compensatory damages in Missouri personal injury cases:
- Medical treatment and associated expenses. This includes reimbursement for medical treatment you've already received as well as compensation for the estimated cost of medical care you'll need in the future.
- Income and earning capacity. If the accident and/or injuries had an impact on your wages, you can seek compensation for that as well. For instance, you can seek compensation for lost income from work and lost future earning capacity (imagine you injured your back and are unable to make as much as you would in the future).
- Property losses. For damaged property, you are entitled to reimbursement for repairs or compensation for the fair market value of the property.
- Pain and suffering. You are entitled to get compensation pain and serious discomfort associated with the injuries. This includes ongoing pain as well.
- Emotional distress. If you or a loved one suffered severe injuries, or was killed in the accident, you may be entitled to receive compensation for the psychological impact that the crash had.
In addition to the compensatory damages listed above, some personal injury cases may involve punitive damages. It's important to note that punitive damages can be rare, and may only be available if the defendant (the other party) was outrageously careless or reckless. Essentially, punitive damages serve as a punishment to deter others from committing the same reckless behavior.
Comparative Fault Law in Missouri
When calculating and/or negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement, the last thing to consider is Missouri's "comparative fault" law. Like many states, Missouri uses a system where the financial responsibility for injuries is dependent on the percentage of fault for each party.For instance, Driver A is driving through a green light while looking for a restaurant on his GPS. Driver B runs the perpendicular red light and t-bones Driver A, causing severe injuries. In civil courts, Driver A is filing a personal injury lawsuit for $100,000. Because Driver A was distracted and on his GPS, the courts determined that he was 10% at-fault for the accident. Because Driver B ran through a red light, and was ticketed for this infraction, the courts determined that he was 90% at-fault for the accident.Therefore, for the original $100,000 associated with Drivers A's lawsuit, the maximum that is entitled to in $90,000 (10% reduction for Driver A's contribution to the accident). Keep in mind that this is just an example, and the unique details of your case will better determine the settlement amount.
Contact the Personal Injury Attorneys at Popham Law
By calling and working with the Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Popham Law, one of the initial steps we'll take before filing a lawsuit is to figure out a fair and reasonable settlement amount that'll cover injury- and accident-related expenses both now and in the future.If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, call Popham Law today at (816) 221-2288. Free consultations are available.