You set out on a sunny morning to go shopping or have lunch with friends, and all of a sudden, another car plows into you. Your car is damaged, and you’re jostled about and suffer injuries. It’s not your fault, but you still must deal with the property damage and your own injuries.
Personal Injury FAQS
If you have been injured, you have questions about your personal injury claim. At The Law Office of Steven Slough, we have answers.
Don't wait until you're in dire straits to consider pursuing a personal injury claim. When mounting medical bills coincide with a loss of income—leaving you unable to cover essential expenses like rent, gas, or groceries—it's crucial to explore the option of holding the negligent party accountable for your injuries.
Our attorney is here to provide experienced representation and answer your questions truthfully. We're committed to providing you with the information you need. That is important because every decision that must be made should be yours to make.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Missouri
If you are wondering, “Is Missouri a fault state?”, the answer is “Yes.” As such, if you have been injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, they bear the legal responsibility of compensating you for your injuries and damages. However, that won’t happen on its own. You need to file and pursue a personal injury claim.
Missouri is also a pure comparative negligence state which gives you even greater latitude. That is because you can bear some of the fault for the injury-causing accident and still pursue a claim against the other party. Your settlement or jury award will be reduced by your percentage of fault, but you can still collect funds that will help support your recovery.
Now that you understand the foundation of Missouri personal injury claims, here are some frequently asked questions about personal injuries and our initial responses.
What should I do after an accident?
You should seek medical treatment immediately after an accident. Even if you don’t think you are injured, aren’t sure you are, or think your injuries are minor, have a physician examine you for the sake of your own health. Some injuries aren’t readily apparent, so symptoms may not occur for days, weeks, or even months. Delaying treatment may hamper your recovery.
You also need to recognize that, without injuries, you cannot make a personal injury claim. You can file a claim for damages to your vehicle if you were in a car accident or a claim for the cost to repair or replace your expensive smartphone if it was damaged in a slip and fall.
However, your claim only bears weight if you are diagnosed with injuries and that diagnosis relates them to the subject accident. Copies of your medical records and bills are some of the many documents you will need to submit to the other party’s insurer to substantiate your claim.
What if I’m injured and the other party has no insurance?
First, you should never take at face value a party’s claim that they have no liability insurance or their insurer’s claim that their policy was lapsed or does not cover liability for the type of accident they caused. Even if they have no auto liability policy, for example, they may have an umbrella policy that might indemnify them against your claim. Insurance companies always look for ways to deny coverage, so they must confirm, under oath and in writing, that a policy was not in effect. If they claim the accident is excluded in a policy, you have the right to review the policy to challenge that statement as well.
Second, if you were in a car accident and you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage included in your own auto insurance policy, you can file a claim against that coverage.
Third, if the negligent party has assets or employment, you can sue to obtain a judgment against them. They will then be obligated to pay that judgment.
Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney?
We would argue that you do need to hire a personal injury attorney after you have been injured in an accident. Perhaps reading the answers to the previous questions has given you a glimpse into how much work there is in successfully pursuing just compensation for your damages.
The negligent party, their insurance adjuster, and their insurance company attorneys are all working against you. Your personal injury attorney is the only one who will be working for you and your interests.
Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?
The other party’s insurance adjuster will attempt to contact you and ask to record an interview with you. The adjuster will ask questions designed to get you to admit fault, to contradict yourself, and to provide detailed information about your injuries. Of course, the insurance company is entitled to certain information in weighing the value of your claim. However, you should never talk to the adjuster, answer verbal or written questions, or sign any documents without first consulting with your attorney.
Who pays for the damages after an accident?
The point of a personal injury claim is to force the negligent party to pay for the economic and non-economic damages you suffer as a result. That said, it will not happen quickly. Their insurer will work diligently to lower the value of your claim, settle before you know the full extent of your damages, and to place the majority of fault on you rather than its insured.
In the meantime, you will accrue medical bills and lose wages if you can’t work due to your injuries. After being in a car accident, your insurance company may go ahead and pay the property damage claim, and then attempt to recover the cost from the other party’s policy. But if you have medical payment coverage on your auto insurance policy, you can claim those benefits regardless of who is at fault. And if you have health insurance, it may pay for your treatment, although your plan may make you repay what it has spent if you receive a personal injury settlement.
We can't guarantee that your financial situation will be completely fixed, but we can guarantee you that we will use every tool we can to help ease the burden.
Get the Answers to Your Important Questions
These are just a few of the hundreds of questions you are likely to have in pursuit of a personal injury claim. At The Law Office of Steve Slough, not only will we answer every question you raise, but we will patiently explain them to you until you fully understand. We believe that is why our firm exists.
Start getting honest and complete answers to all your questions by calling our St. Louis, Missouri office now to schedule a free case consultation. We’re proud to serve the communities of St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Madison County, Missouri, as well as those located in St. Clair County, Illinois.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance system for employees who are injured or fall ill due to toxic exposure or other causes at work. No-fault means that the injured or ill employee cannot sue their employer but must seek compensation for their medical expenses and lost wages (if unable to work for a period of time) from the employer and/or their workers’ compensation insurance company. In turn, the employer cannot sue an employee for a workplace injury or illness.
If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.