Asbestos: A Cause of Personal Injury in Missouri

The state of Missouri is home to many different industries – including agriculture, mining and truck assembly plants. The state has spent over 700 million dollars on private industries involving transportation and warehousing, as well as 400 million on private industries involving agriculture. A huge problem with these industries, truck assembly plants and power plants has been the use of asbestos – a deadly mineral that may cause asbestosis, mesothelioma and/or lung cancer.

Righting the Wrong

Over the years, there have been lawsuits filed against cities of Missouri and/or certain companies that have used asbestos. An environmental group, Families for Asbestos Compliance, Testing and Safety (FACTS), has sought to educate the public and private industries on the dangers of asbestos, as well as hold responsible parties’ accountable for the injuries they cause. For example, in 2005, the group filed a lawsuit against the City of St. Louis and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport for using an illegal method of asbestos removal. Other cases involving asbestos in Missouri were also filed in 2006 and 2007.

Personal Injury Attorneys Dealing with Cases Involving Asbestos

A personal injury lawsuit not only compensates the injured parties for damages; it also holds the responsible parties accountable which may lead to positive changes in the future. A personal injury case should be filed within five years of the discovered problem – or three years if the case concerns wrongful death. It is best to take photographs and collect evidence to help prove the injuries and the fault of the defendant, and a personal injury attorney is extremely helpful in proving a case, receiving compensation and settling out of court. There are many personal injury attorneys willing to deal with cases involving asbestos, and the success of the cases are likely as long as the plaintiff is able to prove the existence of asbestos and negligence on the part of the defendant.

Auto Accidents: The Most Common Personal Injury in Missouri

The State of Missouri’s Department of Transportation reported that there were over 100,000 crashes in 2009 on the state highway system. Over 30,000 of these crashes involved injuries or fatalities. Over 80 percent of the accidents involved a motor vehicle in traffic. The responsible parties must be held accountable for the injuries suffered by the victims of the accidents. Often this involves filing a lawsuit for a personal injury claim.

Must-Do’s in an Auto Accident

If you are in an auto accident, you should take photographs of the accident if your health allows you to do so. Take pictures of both vehicles involved, including the license plate of the other party’s vehicle (or at least write this information down, as well as the other party’s name, address, license number and insurance company). If any witnesses exist, it may also be helpful to receive their names and contact information as well. You must also receive medical attention as soon as possible – even if you don’t immediately feel injured. This will prevent a defense attorney from claiming that your injuries are due in part to your own negligence in receiving treatment.

Consult with an Attorney

The next thing you should do is consult with a personal injury attorney. Time is of the essence, since there are statutes of limitations on personal injuries (most have five years, whereas wrongful death is limited to three). Although you are not required to have an attorney to file a lawsuit, it is beneficial to you since legal matters can become very complicated. Personal injury attorneys are skilled at working with insurance companies to settle out of court, which means that you can get your settlement quickly. Many attorneys also will work for a portion of the compensation you receive from the accident – which means you won’t have to pay the attorney anything if you don’t get compensated, and you won’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for the attorney’s fees. Involvement in an auto accident is an overwhelming and painful experience. Be sure you know your rights and the laws that exist to protect you in the state of Missouri.

The Most Common Personal Injuries in Missouri

In 2010 the estimated population of the state of Missouri was just under six million people. With the millions of citizens living in Missouri, the potential for personal injury is huge. Automobile accidents account for most of the personal injury cases in the state; but other problems include the numerous industries and truck assembly plants containing asbestos (which may cause lung cancer or mesothelioma), and accidents at work or due to faulty equipment or product defect. Even pedestrians crossing roads at a crosswalk and then being hit by vehicles account for a percentage of the personal injury cases filed in Missouri.

How Most of the Personal Injury Cases are Handled

In the state of Missouri, most personal injury cases are handled by clients’ attorneys and settled out of court. Since the majority of personal injury cases are due to automobile accidents, the parties in the cases include insurance companies who are willing to settle – rather than waste time and money on legal proceedings in a courtroom. To file a lawsuit for a personal injury case in Missouri, one must act within five years of the discovered problem. For a wrongful death case, the statute of limitations is limited to three years. If the problem involves an amount of money below $3,000, the lawsuit should be filed with a small claims court.

Compensation for Damages

Ideally, the compensation for a personal injury should be enough money to restore the plaintiff to his or her previous condition before the injury occurred. In some cases, this is impossible due to the nature of the injuries or perhaps even death. In these instances, the compensation rewarded is not only meant to aid the plaintiff in his or her recovery – but is also meant to serve as punishment for the defendant’s negligence. A portion of the plaintiff’s compensation will normally go to the attorney to pay for his/her services.

What You Need to Know About Personal Injury in Missouri

A personal injury claim requires the plaintiff to prove that an injury occurred and that the injury was due to the fault of the defendant. Evidence should be collected as soon as possible, and the plaintiff should consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss whether or not there are grounds for a lawsuit. If, in fact, there are, the attorney will file a lawsuit. It is extremely important to proceed with the lawsuit in a timely manner, since in Missouri the statute of limitations for most personal injuries are five years (with a discovery rule that states the time begins when the plaintiff first became aware – or should have been aware – of the problem); and the statute of limitations for wrongful death is three years.

“Act of God” Defense in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Many personal injury cases result from what is called an “act of God,” and this is a common defense in personal injury lawsuits. For example, this may result from a car accident which is caused by the defendant experiencing a heart attack or seizure while driving. The defendant can claim that the car accident was not his or her fault due to the “act of God” being the health problem he or she experienced. To get past this defense, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent in some manner – perhaps he or she had not taken medicine to prevent the health problem from occurring, for example.

Other Defenses in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Other defenses for personal injury lawsuits include arguing that the plaintiff’s injuries were due to the plaintiff’s “assumption of risk;” that the plaintiff’s injuries were due in part to the failure of the plaintiff to receive medical treatment in a timely manner; or that the plaintiff actually had some part in the accident itself. In the state of Missouri, fault is determined by a pure comparative negligence system. This means that the defendant can be found at fault by an amount or percentage – but the plaintiff may also be found at fault in part (by the remaining percentage). For example, if the defendant is found to be at fault for the accident by 75%, the plaintiff may be rewarded 75% of the damages. To be rewarded 100% of damages, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was fully and completely at fault 100%. For more information on defenses in personal injury lawsuits and how to get past these defenses, consult a personal injury attorney in Missouri.

Pain and Blame: Personal Injury in Missouri

Personal injuries in Missouri can range from seemingly physically harmless incidents – such as a caterer promising to serve beef and then serving pork instead – to much more harmful injuries, like asbestos used in industries and truck assembly plants causing lung cancer and mesothelioma and/or even death. Claiming “personal injury” allows a person a chance to collect money to compensate him/her for damages, and it also allows the wrongdoer(s) to be punished.

Lawsuits, Settlements and More

To file a personal injury lawsuit in Missouri, one must go to the clerk of courts and submit the lawsuit paperwork. If the problem deals with an amount of money below $3,000, one may go through the small claims courts. When filing a lawsuit without an attorney, this is called per-se. However, since dealing with legal situations can become complicated, it is best to have a personal injury attorney. If one can not afford an attorney, there may be one who is willing to take the case on for free (pro bono). Most people seek to settle out of court to avoid costly fees and time. If you do choose to accept a settlement, be sure to have a lawyer look over the agreement for you.

Evidence Speaks Louder than Words

A person must remember to collect evidence as soon as possible (including photographs, any written correspondence he/she may have, etc.). There is also a statute of limitations on personal injuries. In Missouri, this is five years for most injuries; but wrongful death includes a statute of only three years. One should speak with an attorney as soon as possible so he/she will know the statute of limitations for filing. An attorney will also be able to know whether or not there is a reason for a lawsuit and if that person should proceed. The nature of personal injury lawsuits requires clear proof that damage was done to someone and by someone else – and personal injury attorneys are able to make sure justice is served.

How To Find The Best Lawyer For Your Case

There are a lot of opinions on what makes a good lawyer. Not every person thinks that personality matters, or education, or experience. Some put more weight on a specfic area than others. If you need a good lawyer, there are several issues that you really should consider.

Ask About Experience

Every lawyer has to start somewhere, but you should look for one that’s handled your kind of case before. That’s especially true if your case is a complex or difficult one, or if there are extenuating and abnormal circumstances surrounding it.

Find Out Your Lawyer’s Education

Where your lawyer went to school might not be that important, because he had to pass the bar exam to get where he is today. That requires a specific level of knowledge. Still, how long ago he went to school and what kind of continuing education he focuses on could be important to you, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Do Your Personalities Mesh?

You could be working with your lawyer for a while, so you want to find someone you can get along with. If your personalities don’t work well together, it’s best to find a lawyer you feel better about. Too many conflicts can lead to serious communication problems, which could end up being detrimental to your case. A good outcome is important, and communication is needed for that.

Personality, education, and experience should all be taken together when it comes to picking the right lawyer for you. Don’t make your decision based on only one factor, because there is a lot to consider when hiring any legal professional.

Getting Compensation For Your Injuries

If you’ve been hurt on the job or in some kind of accident that’s no fault of your own, you may be interested in seeking compensation for your injuries. This can be easier said than done, depending on what type of injury you had and who caused it.

Know What Your Injuries Are ‘Worth’

For purposes of insurance, there are values placed on injuries. These are based on how much they debilitate a person and also on whether they are temporary or permanent. While these are not exact values for your specific case, they can help you determine what compensation might be for these kinds of problems.

How To Get Compensation

Sometimes, you’ll simply be offered compensation. Other times, you’ll need to go after it in order to collect. If you’re offered compensation for your injury, make sure it’s realistic and fair. Don’t just take the first offer you get because you assume you can’t do any better.

What Questions To Ask Your Lawyer

If you’ve gotten a compensation offer, ask your lawyer whether he believes that to be a fair price. If so, you may want to take it and move on. It it’s not a fair price, though, you can ask about suing and what will be involved to move your case forward, as well as what you can reasonably expect to collect.

Don’t just assume that your injuries aren’t ‘worth’ anything, or that you have to suffer without compensation. You should work to get the amount that’s fair and just, especially if your injury is permanent.

Does Your Boss Owe You Money For An Injury?

When you work for a living, you need that money to support your family. Unfortunately, an on the job injury can stop you from getting the money you need to pay your bills. If you got hurt on the job and can’t work, it’s important to find out what your boss or company will be doing to help take care of you.

Be Sure You Know Your Rights

You might not know what rights you have as an injured worker, but you can find out by doing a little bit of research. Most people do this online, but there are other ways to get the information, as well. The important thing is that you determine what rights you have.

Ask Your Lawyer About Injury Compensation

If you aren’t sure how much compensation you should get for your injury, or whether you should get any at all, it’s a good idea to talk with your lawyer about what’s realistic. That way, you’ll know whether you want to pursue your legal case or whether it wouldn’t benefit you to do so.

Make Sure You Give Your Company A Chance

For any on the job injury, especially if you’ve worked with the company for some time, it’s a good idea to work with that company for compensation, if possible. Suing right away doesn’t solve the problem.

If you do need to bring a lawsuit, though, be sure to do that in a timely manner. There are often time limits on personal injury issues, so talking with a lawyer if the company won’t help you is very important.

Hurt At Work? You Might Need A Lawyer

Getting injured at work can happen to anyone. Some people are more susceptible to it based on the kind of job they have, though, and others get hurt because of their own carelessness or because of the negligence of others. If you’ve been injured at work through no fault of your own, because of an unsafe condition, you may want to consult a lawyer.

How Did Your Injury Occur?

It’s very important to be honest about how you got hurt. Was there horseplay? Were you careless? If those things are a factor, you might not get the kind of compensation you’re hoping for. You may not be entitled to any kind of compensation at all.

What Is Your Boss Doing To Help You?

If you have a boss who cares about your welfare and is trying to help you with medical bills and other expenses, that’s often enough. However, if your boss doesn’t care about how you got hurt, you may need to sue in order to get needed compensation for your injury.

Are You Getting Compensation?

Whether you’re getting compensation for an injury depends on a lot of different factors, and it’s best to talk to a lawyer in order to make that determination. You can be your own advocate and find a lot of good information, but that doesn’t always tell you everything you need to know.

Trying to work with your boss and company is the best way to take care of compensation for an injury, but sometimes it can’t be done. If you aren’t getting any satisfaction, a lawyer can tell you what your next step should be.

Contingency Fees: How Do They Work?

You’ve probably heard a lot of lawyers talk about working on contingency fees, but if you aren’t familiar with what that means, you could miss out on getting your case heard without having to pay a lot of money. Most lawyers use the contingency fee method for personal injury types of cases.

Ask Your Lawyer About Fees

Just because a lot of lawyers offer contingency fee work for certain cases, that doesn’t mean that all lawyers do or that all cases can be handled off of a contingency fee. It’s always very important to find out exactly what fees you have to pay to your lawyer so you aren’t suddenly surprised later on.

Make Sure You Understand What You’re Paying

Is everything about your case covered under the contingency fee? That’s a good question to ask. You may end up paying some other costs, so it’s very important to get information in writing and to ask questions about any and all payments that you may need to make to your lawyer. Get your information up front and straight from the source.

What If Your Lawyer Loses The Case?

If your lawyer is unsuccessful, you shouldn’t owe him any money. That’s how contingency works – no fee unless you win the case. Keep in mind, though, that you should still clarify that. If your lawyer has spent a lot of money on court fees and other things, it’s important to know whether you’ll be responsible for any of that, even if you don’t have to pay the lawyer’s hourly fee.

Also ask about a win in your case if the guilty party doesn’t have any money to pay the judgment. It would be important to know how you’re going to pay your lawyer at that point.