If you are injured and it may be the fault of another person, company or someone other than you, then you might have a personal injury claim. It doesn’t matter in most states, but certainly not in Missouri, that you may be somewhat at fault for the incident. You can be partially at fault and someone else can be partially at fault, and you can still recover. This partial fault is called contributory negligence. In very few cases contributory negligence makes you unable to recover.
If there is a trial, fault of the parties is compared. Percent of fault is assigned to each party. Once you go below 50%, say you were 45% at fault, you can still recover damages. If you are 90% at fault, you will recover 10% of your damages.
Two Critical Questions
There are two critical questions to ask regarding if you have a personal injury claim or not:
- Level of injury — Is something different about you after the event happens? Are you changed physically or emotionally? If so, what is the extent of damages? Am I different than I was before the accident? Whether you get a cut on your finger or your injuries result in being a quadriplegic, you have been injured. You are changed. If someone did something that was negligent that made you different than you were before they did it, then you deserve to be compensated.
- Negligence — Did the conduct of the other person cause or contribute to causing the accident, such as running a stop sign? If yes, then you can recover damages. That party is responsible for the harm they caused. You will have a personal injury claim if you got in a car accident or another type of accident happened, as long as the other party did something wrong or if you both did something wrong.
Anyone who ever gets hurt by a product or a car accident or walking down the sidewalk — even if you trip on a hole in the sidewalk — someone was involved in causing this incident. Someone built the sidewalk. You may not know who, but that’s why you come to me. I will find out who they are. If you walk past a construction site and a rock flies by and hits you, someone else is at fault.
If you’re not sure if you have a case, you can always call a lawyer and they will tell you for free if you have a case. No reputable personal injury lawyer should ever charge anyone to tell them whether they have a case or not. Ever.
I don’t like to call these incidents “accidents.” Someone caused the injuries to happen. The word “accident” implies that no one is at fault. I prefer to call them events, crashes or incidents. If you were injured in an event, you deserve to be compensated. That is why we have laws for personal injury cases.