There are many types of personal injury lawsuits and each carries its own set of rules from state to state. Three of the factors that can vary from state to state are caps on the amount that can be received for non-economic or non-material damages, comparative fault, and statute of limitations.
No matter what kind of personal injury case is being filed, substantial emotional, physical, and/or monetary damages must have been incurred in order to warrant a lawsuit. In Missouri, there is a cap on the amount of non-material/economic damages, such as pain and suffering, you can receive. The cap in Missouri is $350,000, but does not apply to damages in common law medical malpractice causes of action.
Missouri adheres to the standard of comparative fault. Comparative fault means that even if you, the plaintiff, are partially at fault, damages can still be collected from a liable party. However, in states that adhere to pure comparative fault, such as Missouri, the damages received are reduced by an amount equal to the percentage of fault. Therefore, if the total damages in a personal injury case are $100,000, and you are found to be 30 percent at fault, you can still receive $70,000, or 70 percent of the damages.
The statute of limitations determines how long after an incident occurs that a personal injury lawsuit can be filed. It can vary from state to state and by type of case. In Missouri, the statute of limitations for:
- Medical malpractice is two years after the date of the incident. Note, however, that there is also a two-year discovery period if the medical malpractice case involves foreign objects.
- Medical malpractice against infants is two years after the child’s 18th birthday.
- Personal injury resulting from caretaker abuse, slips and falls, auto accidents, and dog bites is 5 years.
- Wrongful death is three years from the date of death. (Note that Missouri law will not grant bereavement of family members and grief to be figured into the award for damages.)
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury, you should always consult with an experienced attorney in a timely manner before deciding whether or not to pursue financial damages or compensation through a lawsuit.