The world of personal injury lawsuits has often been subject to derision. The suits are sometimes referred to as frivolous, even when the person calling them that knows little about the case or the individual bringing the suit. The reality is that personal injury lawsuits serve a necessary and compelling purpose.
Insurance isn’t always enough
Everyone has an obligation to act with a reasonable degree of care at all times so as not to injure others. The duty exists when we drive cars, when we maintain our property and when we design, manufacture or sell products.
When a person or business fails in their duty, and someone is injured as a result, they are considered legally negligent. In many cases the negligent party will have insurance and that insurance will take care of the injured person. But often it will not. This is when personal injury lawsuits come in. They allow the injured to be made whole again when normal avenues of compensation fall short.
What’s available through a lawsuit?
A successful lawsuit allows you to collect damages from the negligent party. One form of damages is known as compensatory damages. This covers actual losses resulting from the negligent conduct. This can be everything from medical bills to lost wages.
A second type is known as punitive damages. Although much less common, Missouri does allow punitive damages to be awarded in special circumstances. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish a grossly negligent party and there is no legal cap on their amount in Missouri.
Filing a personal injury lawsuit is a right, which exists for your benefit. When you’re injured in a car accident, by a dangerous condition in a store or any other incident, it’s the means by which Missouri allows you to receive the compensation to which you’re entitled and to hold the responsible party accountable.