Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident in Missouri?

Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering After a Car Accident in Missouri?

While the injuries and property damage from a car accident can be substantial, when the accident causes pain and suffering, it can be even more devastating and destructive to quality of life. Most people know that you can recover the costs of monetary expenses — such as medical bills, lost wages, and damage to your vehicle — through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. However, in recognition of the fact that the emotional and psychological trauma that accident victims go through can be as debilitating as physical injuries, Missouri law allows you to seek compensation for pain and suffering as well. Pain and suffering falls into the category of noneconomic damages, and, in some situations, the amount you may receive can far exceed the award for economic or monetary losses.

In Missouri, there is no specific cap on amounts that can be awarded in damages for pain and suffering in personal injury cases. However, proving pain and suffering can be more challenging than proving economic damages, because it involves subjective experiences. In addition, in order to pay out as little as possible, insurance companies and their lawyers will do everything they can to deny or minimize claims, including trying to make at seem as if the accident was your fault.

It is very difficult to go up against them on your own, and making mistakes can be costly. Missouri has a “comparative fault” rule, where the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced if you are found to be even partially at fault for the accident. That is why it is desirable to retain an experienced lawyer who knows the system, how to prove noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, and how to fight for your rights and the settlement you deserve.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Prove Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages from a car accident are those that do not have an easily calculable dollar amount, but still negatively impact your life. These include pain and suffering that can result from physical injuries; emotional pain and suffering, such as depression, mental anguish, and post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD); and also the suffering that goes along with things like permanent disability, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and wrongful death, should a fatality occur.

In considering what dollar value to place on pain and suffering, weight will be given to factors such as the nature and severity of the injury and whether you are expected to recover. In addition, consideration may be made for the effects on your lifestyle and relationships, such as limitations to daily routine, ability to work, ability to sleep, and ability to have a normal social and family life. The long-term implications of the injury will be considered, including the emotional toll of the accident and its effects on your mental health.

To establish pain and suffering, evidence would have to be produced that might include:

  1. Medical Records: Medical records documenting your injuries, treatments, and prognosis.
  2. Testimony: Your own testimony, as well as that of friends and family members who knew you before and after the accident, and testimony from medical professionals, psychologists, and life-care experts who have observed your pain and suffering and are able to predict how you will be affected into the future.
  3. Diary or Journal: Your own written account that records your daily experiences, including pain levels, lifestyle limitations, and emotional distress

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

Since pain and suffering are is experienced differently by different individuals, the extent of suffering can be difficult to prove. In order to help maximize your compensation, an experienced personal injury lawyer will:

  • Meet with you to discuss how the accident happened, who you think the at-fault parties may be, determine the type and extent of your pain and suffering, and estimate what your case should be worth.
  • Investigate the accident, gathering evidence such as photos and videos from the scene and from police, ambulance and medical reports and interviewing witnesses and first responders.
  • Assess all your damages, including current and future medical bills, lost income, and damaged property, as well as the value of your pain and suffering.
  • Consult with experts in accident reconstruction and experts who can testify as to your costs, damages, and the expected effects on your life.
  • Demand damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
  • Handle all paperwork and filings in a timely manner.
  • Negotiate aggressively with insurance companies and opposition attorneys for maximum compensation.
  • Build your case and take it to court to win full and fair compensation by presenting evidence in a compelling manner and advocating for your rights should your case got to trial.

Get Help with Pain and Suffering from a Car Accident

Missouri has no legal formula for calculating pain and suffering. Since pain and suffering awards are determined by subjective criteria, the amount you may receive is uncertain and will vary greatly from case to case. The skill and negotiating ability of your car accident attorney are likely to affect the result.

If you or a loved one is dealing with pain and suffering from a serious car accident, you can trust the Birk Law Firm to help. When we sign on as your lawyers, you can count on us for personal, compassionate attention as well as aggressive legal counsel, throughout the entire legal process.

Attorney Kelvin Birk is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a lawyer, and this combined expertise allows our law firm to provide an especially high level of service. We understand how terrible it is to be dealing with physical and emotional pain, and we will work tirelessly to establish liability and put together a strong case on your behalf.

We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis, so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case. Call our Cape Girardeau car accident attorney today at 573-332-8585 to get started.

FREE CONSULT 573-332-8585

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.. [ Attorney Bio ]