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Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Missouri?

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Missouri?
Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Missouri with help from Noland Law Firm

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Personal injury claims in Missouri can comprise economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Most economic damages are relatively simple to prove through bills and receipts. However, non-economic damages like pain and suffering can be far more challenging. Without legal experience, it can be difficult to prove the impact that the injuries have had on your life, which can limit your claim.

Injuries can drastically affect people’s lives—and if these injuries were caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, they should be compensated by claiming the maximum possible under Missouri law.

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What is pain and suffering in Missouri?

“Pain and suffering” refer to the intangible, non-economic losses, such as physical discomfort and emotional distress that injuries can cause. Pain and suffering can include:

  1. The pain and discomfort associated with your physical injuries—both now and in the future,
  2. emotional distress, anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, fear, and any other psychological impact of the injuries.

How is pain and suffering calculated in Missouri?

There is no one formula to calculate pain and suffering. It generally depends on the nature and severity of the injury, the recovery time required, the long-term implications of the injury, the impact of the injury on daily life, and the emotional/mental impact of the injuries.

  • Some people suffer injuries that last many years, and the full extent of the impact cannot be accurately estimated without the input of expert medical witnesses.

This complicates personal injury claims for serious injuries and often requires experienced legal assistance to claim what you deserve.

However, a seasoned Missouri personal injury lawyer can usually provide a guideline estimate of a claim value once the facts of your case are known.

Elements of pain and suffering claims

Let us summarize what pain and suffering awards can include in Missouri:

  • Physical pain and distress
  • Mental anguish (the psychological effects of the injuries)
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Emotional distress, such as PTSD, depression, etc.
  • Disfigurement

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Challenges with claiming maximum pain and suffering damages

Even in cases where the liability for injuries seems clear-cut, you should expect the insurance company of the liable party to propose defenses that attempt to limit the claim. Their interests are in direct conflict with yours.

So, let us look at some of the challenges and limitations that you might encounter when claiming pain and suffering:

The causation defense

Sometimes, insurance companies claim that the plaintiff’s injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident. This can be a substantial roadblock and you will need to prove that the injuries (and associated pain and suffering) were caused by the accident in question.

The comparative fault defense

Claimants may also be accused of being partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries.

Under Missouri’s pure comparative fault laws, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident, the court will subtract the proportion of fault from the award. So, if a claimant is deemed to be 25 percent at fault for a car accident and was awarded $400,000, they would receive $300,000 in total.

The failure to mitigate damages

The court may reduce your claim if it is found that you failed to mitigate damages, i.e., you did not take reasonable steps to avoid pain and suffering. A good example is not following medical advice after treatment was administered.

The limitations of the insurance coverage

No insurance company will voluntarily pay a claimant an amount over its existing coverage limits, regardless of how much the true value of the pain and suffering is.

Sometimes, however, experienced lawyers can find a second defendant, such as an employer, manufacturer or another business that can be held liable for the losses, optimizing the claim that way.

How do you prove pain and suffering in Missouri?

For a valid pain and suffering claim in Missouri, you will need to prove four essential elements:

  1. The defendant owed a duty of care to you
  2. The duty of care was breached
  3. The breach of the duty of care resulted in your injuries
  4. You suffered losses due to your injuries

An experienced personal injury lawyer is accustomed to gathering evidence to prove both economic and non-economic losses. Proving pain and suffering usually involves the following strategies:

  • Gathering medical records that document the extent of the injuries
  • Obtaining expert testimony on the expected long-term impact of the injuries
  • Gathering any other evidence that documents the full extent of the injuries (e.g., a journal or the plaintiff’s testimony/statement)
  • Collecting statements from family, friends, colleagues, and mental health professionals about the emotional/psychological impact of the injuries

Many claimants are still recovering from injuries and require legal assistance to maximize their claims.

If you require legal assistance with filing a claim for pain and suffering and other damages in the Liberty area of Missouri, please contact the seasoned personal injury lawyers at Noland Law Firm, LLC for a free case evaluation. Call us at (816) 781-5055 or contact us directly online.

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