Personal Injury is the branch of law that is designed to protect people who have suffered an injury as a result of the carelessness or intentional act of another. It allows an injured person to make a legal claim to seek monetary compensation for his or her injuries against the person or company who is responsible. Many types of claims are encompassed within the law of personal injury. They include claims for injury or death resulting from automobile collisions, dangerous conditions on public or private property, slip and falls, defective products, injuries at work, boating accidents, and dog bites to name a few.
Depending on the nature of the claim and type of injury sustained, an injured person is entitled to seek monetary damages for such things as past, present and future medical care and expenses; lost earnings; impairment of future earnings; lifestyle changes; incidental expenses; and compensation for the pain and suffering that the injured person has endured and can be expected to endure in the future. In the majority of cases, the compensation that is paid will come from an insurance company. In some cases, more than one policy of insurance or even different types of coverages within the same policy may be available to provide compensation to the injured party.
Not knowing important steps that should be taken early on in a case such as accident investigation, securing evidence, locating witnesses, obtaining medical records, and handling inquiries from insurance companies can cause irreversible damage to a claim’s value and may even prove fatal to its ultimate success. It is essential that an injured person consult with an effective personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that this does not occur. At RTR, the personal injury lawyer team are dedicated to providing each of their clients with the experience and expertise necessary to handle his or her claim and to maximize the recovery, whether it is through a settlement or verdict at trial.
No Fee Unless We Win
If we accept a case, our fee is contingent on a successful monetary recovery. We do not charge our clients any fees unless we win their case. We advance all costs necessary to pursue the claim. There are no hidden costs or upfront retainers.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
In most cases, motor vehicle accidents occur because a driver has been negligent. In Missouri, a driver is considered to be negligent when he or she has failed to exercise the highest degree of care while driving and, as a result, has caused an accident. The phrase “highest degree of care” means that degree of care that a very careful person would have used under similar circumstances. A driver may be deemed negligent for exceeding the speed limit, driving too fast for the road conditions, violating traffic signals, failing to yield, failing to keep a proper lookout or by being distracted (such as when using a cell phone or texting) just to name a few.
It is the burden of the injured party and his or her personal injury lawyer to establish that the driver who caused the accident acted negligently. A thorough investigation into the facts of the accident to include inspecting the scene and interviewing witnesses is very important to the success of a claim. Also, an investigation into all possible sources of recovery must be performed. On occasion, there may be multiple insurance policies and even types of coverages within those policies that are available to compensate an injured person. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney will fully investigate a client’s claim and seek out all potential sources of compensation to maximize a client’s recovery. back to top
A product purchased from a store comes with an implicit guarantee that it is in good condition, without defects, and is safe for a consumer to put to its intended or a foreseeable use. Product liability refers to the field of law that allows those who have suffered injury caused by a defective product to seek compensation for those injuries from the manufacturer, seller and distributor of the product. A product can be deemed “defective” as a result of a design defect, a flaw during the manufacturing process or inadequacies in the warnings or instructions that came with the product. Product liability law encompasses a wide variety of cases to include defective medical devices, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, tools and appliances. The injuries or damages for which relief can be sought include not only bodily injuries but also damage to property such as fire damage to a residence caused by a defective toaster.
Expert review and testimony is a necessity in prosecuting a successful product liability claim. Expert witnesses are able to locate and identify the defect in the product that caused injury and are also able to address alternative design and manufacturing processes that could have improved the safety of the product. Because extensive testing and investigation into the defective product is generally required, preserving the product and surrounding evidence following a product failure is paramount to a claim’s successful outcome. A skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer will know which type of experts are required in a given case and how to structure and prosecute the claim in accordance with the experts’ findings. back to top
Slip and Fall (Premises Liability)
Thousands of people are injured each year when they slip or trip and fall on a dangerous floor, walking surface or stairs. “Slip and fall” refers to the body of law wherein an injured party makes a claim for compensation as a result of such a fall that occurred because of an unsafe condition on another’s property. Oftentimes, the fall is the result of a slippery substance that causes a person to lose traction or an uneven walking surface causing a person to trip. Many people are under the impression that a property owner is automatically liable for an injury resulting from a fall but this is not so.
Generally, an injured party has the burden to establish the elements of a premises liability claim against the property owner. To do this, the injured party must prove that the substance or condition of the walking surface constituted an unsafe condition and that the property owner, using reasonable care, either knew or could have known of the presence of the unsafe condition in time to remedy it. In some instances where the property owner caused the unsafe condition (such as when the property owner or one of his employees caused a spill), a cause of action for traditional negligence may lie as well. A skillful and experienced personal injury attorney will be able to thoroughly analyze a slip and fall claim, gather the necessary evidence to support it, and determine the appropriate legal theories to establish liability on the part of the property owner. back to top
Many people engage in the recreational activity of boating. Although it is generally a fun and relaxing hobby, there are occasions when an operator of a boat or his passengers sustain injuries due to the carelessness of another. As in the case of automobiles, the driver of a boat on Missouri waterways is under a duty to operate the boat using the highest degree of care. The phrase “highest degree of care” means that degree of care that a very careful person would have used under similar circumstances. When a boat operator fails to use the highest degree of care and causes injury to another, the operator is deemed to be negligent and is liable for the injuries he has caused.
Common causes of boating accidents are excessive speed, failing to maintain a proper lookout, operator inattention, operator inexperience, and general recklessness. Not surprisingly, excessive alcohol consumption also plays a role in many boating accidents. It is also the duty of the operator to ensure that the boat is equipped with all required safety devices to include navigation lights, horn, life preservers, and flags for divers or skiers. When making a claim for bodily injuries resulting from a boating accident, it is important to consult a personal injury lawyer that have an understanding of the rules and regulations governing water vessels and who are able to explore all possible theories of recovery. back to top
A dog attack is a very traumatic experience that can cause the victim both physical and emotional injuries. Oftentimes, the victims are children whom are perceived as a threat by the dogs who attack them. These attacks can cause painful injuries that sometimes require surgical intervention to repair the wounds. Dog bites can also result in permanent injuries in the form of scarring to the face, hands and other parts of the body for which a victim is entitled to compensation.
In Missouri, there is a two tier system of liability for dog owners whose dog bites or attacks another. In the first tier, an owner of a dog that knowingly possesses abnormally dangerous or vicious propensities is held strictly or automatically liable for injuries caused by the dog regardless of the steps taken to warn or protect others. Under this theory of liability, however, it is the injured party’s burden to establish that the dog possessed abnormally dangerous or vicious propensities of which the owner knew or should have known. Generally, this element of proof can be established through evidence of prior bites, attacks or instances of overly aggressive behavior.
Under the second tier of liability, a dog owner can be held liable under a premises liability theory when a person is attacked or bitten at the residence or property of the dog owner. In this instance, a dog owner can be held liable to a visitor to his property if it was foreseeable by him that the normally dangerous propensities of the dog created a danger to the visitor but he did nothing to warn the visitor or take steps to prevent the attack from occurring. back to top