You’ve been hurt—and it’s someone else’s fault. Living in the St. Louis area, you feel that you have a solid case in a Missouri court, and the settlement money could really help you with your medical bills. So, naturally, you look for a personal injury lawyer in St. Louis, Missouri.
If you live in Missouri, it’s important to find an attorney who is familiar with the issues and laws that may be different in the state. For example, did you know that Missouri is only one of two states that still allow texting while driving? They do limit it to people over 21, but it is still the cause of many accidents where innocent people suffer personal injuries. Crashes, slip and fall incidents, product malfunctions—they can all cause life-altering harm. When the harm is not your fault, you need a personal injury lawyer.
There are hundreds of thousands of personal injury claims filed in the U.S. every year, but only about 4% ever go to trial. The rest are negotiated out of court. But the only statistic that truly matters is how likely you are to get the compensation you deserve—whether that’s through an out-of-court settlement or a trial. Hipskind & McAnintch, LLC, personal injury lawyers in St. Louis, Missouri, have recovered millions for their clients with a 98% success rate.
How to Know if You Have a Case
When someone’s carelessness or negligence is the cause of an injury, the law recognizes the victim’s right to be “made whole.” That means they are owed compensation to get them back where they started before the incident. Damages paid out can include reimbursement for medical expenses, paying to have a damaged car or property fixed, and replacing lost wages if the victim can’t work because of their injuries.
A personal injury lawyer can assess the details of your case and determine the chances of success. This will mean proving that an injury occurred, that there was a financial effect, and that someone else was to blame.
Take auto accidents, for example. Auto accidents account for more than half of all personal injury cases. In Missouri, 14% of all crashes are due to distracted driving such as texting or using a cellphone. This is a clear-cut case of carelessness and breaking the law.
Other types of cases include slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. It may be surprising to hear that dog bites are the cause of quite a few cases!
Personal injury also sometimes comes into play as part of some criminal cases when the victim is intentionally harmed. In cases of assault and battery, or even defamation (libel or slander,) a personal injury case can be filed. Even if the perpetrator goes to jail, the victim still has expenses to deal with related to physical injuries or financial damage. A personal injury lawyer can see that they are fairly compensated for the harm done.
Odds of Winning a Personal Injury Case in Missouri
In order to be compensated for a personal injury, the victim must demonstrate that they were harmed, that it was someone else at fault, and that the incident has cost them. The cost can be much more than just the financial cost of doctors, hospitals, and car repair. If the victim misses work or can no longer do their job, they deserve to be paid.
You need a personal injury lawyer in Missouri to calculate a fair amount—including whether it is appropriate to sue for punitive damages. Punitive damages go beyond compensating for bills and lost earnings. When a person or company is reckless or neglectful, punitive damages act as a punishment for their actions. For example, if a company knows their product can be harmful, but fail to make improvements or adequately warn customers, they may have to pay punitive damages if someone is hurt.
If an individual has a valid personal injury case that goes to trial, successful outcomes vary by the type of claim and that particular state where the trial is held. As a rule of thumb, car accident cases find for the plaintiff roughly two thirds of the time, while.product liability cases are successful about a third of the time. Medical malpractice cases are more difficult to prove, and so only 1 out of every 5 are successful.
Agreeing to a settlement before the case goes to court is less of a gamble. A lawyer can usually work something out with the defense attorneys and insurance companies. Going to trial always comes with the risk of an unsympathetic judge or jury. A settlement might not get a plaintiff exactly what they’re hoping for, but they will get something. And an experienced attorney will do their best to make sure the settlement is fair.
Is My Case Worth a Lot of Money?
Cases with the largest payouts are ones that aren’t often litigated, such as medical malpractice. And in general, the worse the injury or chance for injury, the higher the awarded amount. High profile product liability and malpractice cases can generate 6-figures or even millions in damages. Auto accident cases settle for much less.
The important thing is to make sure that a personal injury settlement restores the victim to a situation—both physical and financial—that is as close to their pre-incident life as possible. This might mean simply reimbursing some bills. In more serious instances it could include ongoing surgeries, treatment, and therapy. Worst-case scenarios may see life-altering injuries leaving victims with brain injuries, paralysis, loss of limbs or even death.
It is difficult to place a monetary value on a lost life or even a painful emotional or physical trauma. Hipskind & McAninch are able to assist victims in navigating these confusing decisions. The dollar amount of a settlement is only part of the equation. Their goal is to make sure their clients are satisfied that justice has been served.
Will I Have to Go to Trial?
About 95% of plaintiffs never need to enter a courtroom. Defendants, along with their attorneys and insurance companies are usually anxious to settle out of court. If they are reasonable in their offer to the plaintiff, the can avoid the time and expense of a trial.
This is beneficial to the victim in many cases too. They have already suffered from their injuries. Having to fight a long battle in court can be stressful. And the outcome is uncertain until the judge or jury decides. Each individual will have his or her idea of what is fair. With the advice of a seasoned attorney, they will be able to know when accepting a settlement offer is their best option.
How Long Will This Take?
When personal injury victims decide to sue, one thing they don’t realize is how long a trial can take. Car accident cases can take about 20 months to make it to court. Medical malpractice cases can drag on for more than 30 months.
When a lawsuit involves very serious injuries and complicated circumstances, it may make sense to proceed with a lawsuit. Those involving less harm, for example, a car accident without grave injuries, might be better off settling.
Let’s say that after a long, drawn-out trial, the plaintiff is awarded a large sum. The defendant may be able to appeal the decision, dragging everything out even longer. This doesn’t mean one should accept a settlement offer that is less than fair and just. But if they do go to trial, they must realize it will be stressful, time-consuming, and without a guaranteed outcome. They will need a personal injury lawyer who will be with them for the long haul.
How Do I Pick a Personal Injury Lawyer?
There are hundreds of personal injury lawyers in St. Louis, MO, but how do you find one who will fight for you?
First, opt for someone with a local connection like Hipskind & McAninch, LLC. The practice has been right here since it was founded. They know St. Louis and have experience with the state and local laws.
Don’t be swayed by the flashy marketing and television commercials of some big-name firms. Those things say more about their marketing budget than how hard they will work for you.
The legal process can feel quite impersonal. The attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch take the time to get to know you and your case. We focus 100% on getting you your life back.