• Wrongful Death Suits and Accidents in Missouri

    There is nothing more devastating than losing a family member due to a terrible accident. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to bring your loved one back, but there are some steps you can take to start the grieving process and pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the accident. When a person dies because of the fault of someone else, the survivors may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the perpetrator. Wrongful death occurs when a person causes the death of another due to negligent or intentional acts. Since a person who is deceased cannot pursue a cause of action for a person’s wrongdoing, the wrongful death lawsuit allows close family members to recover for damages on the deceased’s behalf. Wrongful death claims are usually appropriate in fatal accidents involving cars, motorcycles, trucks, or pedestrians. However they also occur in cases related to medical malpractice, product liability and even dog bites. As experienced St. Louis wrongful death attorneys, we understand how difficult it can be to lose a loved one in a fatal accident.

    Missouri’s Wrongful Death Statute

    One unique aspect of wrongful death cases is that they are governed by individual state statutes rather than case law decided by judges. According to Missouri law, an action for wrongful death can be brought in circumstances where, if the victim had not deceased, he or she would have been entitled to recover damages for the accident. For example, in a wrongful death suit involving a car accident, the person bringing the suit must prove a cause of action for negligence since that is what the victim would have pursued had he or she lived. In addition, the statute specifies who is eligible to bring a wrongful death suit. According the Missouri’s wrongful death statute, the following family members can file a wrongful death suit on the deceased’s behalf:

    ·      Spouse;

    ·      Children;

    ·      Grandkids (natural or adopted); or

    ·      Father or mother (natural or adopted).

    The statute further states that if none of the above members of the family are alive, the deceased’s brother or sister can file suit as long as they can establish their right to do so under this section.

    Recovery in a Wrongful Death Claim

    Survivors in a wrongful death suit can be eligible to the same damages that the victim would have been eligible for if he or she would have been alive, in addition to pecuniary damages resulting from the victim’s untimely death. These damages include:

    ·      Economic damages: The amount of financial contributions the deceased would have made to the survivor if he or she had been alive.

    ·      Non-economic damages: Although these are not easy to compute, they include loss of companionship, consortium, comfort and support.

    ·      Punitive damages: Damages intended to punish the wrongdoer for egregious conduct.

    Please note that Missouri’s wrongful death statute does not include recovery for grief and bereavement due to the victim’s death. In addition, Missouri law mandates that a suit for wrongful death be filed in a timely manner. A claim for wrongful death can be complex, thus it is imperative to contact a knowledgeable St. Louis personal injury attorney to ensure that your legal rights are well represented.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC

  • Missouri Pedestrian Accidents

    Nowadays, many organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and American Heart Association, promote walking as a way to increase physical activity in Americans and to prevent various chronic diseases. Although walking is an environmentally safe and healthy way to get from point A to point B, pedestrian injuries and fatalities are unfortunately a common occurrence throughout the country. Pedestrians are exceptionally vulnerable to accidents because of their lack of protection while on the road. Drivers and passengers in vehicles are usually restrained inside of a steel cage that, in the event of an accident, can offer additional safety through airbags and seatbelts. Pedestrians, on the other hand, have no outer shell to protect them and are susceptible to serious injuries when they are involved in an accident. According to Smart Growth America, in a ten-year period between 2003 and 2012, approximately 47,025 people died while walking the streets of America. During that same period, 676,000 people were injured. Smart Growth America believes that these accidents can be prevented by taking certain steps and by imposing better regulations. St. Louis pedestrian accident lawyers recognize the severity of this epidemic and know firsthand how awful an accident involving a pedestrian can be.

    Wentzville Man Killed while Crossing the Street

    It was reported last week that 62-year old Thomas Dmytryk was struck by a vehicle around 9:52 while attempting to cross Wentzville Parkway located in Wentzville, Missouri. Dmytryk was taken to the hospital after the accident but was unfortunately pronounced dead. Police claim that Dmytryk crossed in area that was not designated for pedestrians. However, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MDOT), 27.1% of accidents involving pedestrians occur when crossing the street with no signal. Additionally, St. Charles County, where Wentzville is located, is ranked number 5 in all of Missouri for most pedestrian involved crashes in 2011. Fortunately, MDOT’s report also indicates that pedestrian accidents in Missouri are on a decline. Nonetheless, the cornerstone to recovery in a pedestrian accident case involving a vehicle is establishing the exact duty of care owed by the involved parties.

    The Importance of Duty of Care in Pedestrian Accidents Involving Vehicles

    Generally, drivers of vehicles are expected to exercise “the highest degree of care under the circumstances.” A driver’s failure to do so may result in an insurance claim or lawsuit for negligence. Typically, the following factors contribute to a driver’s negligence:

    ·      Distracted driving;

    ·      A driver’s failure to obey speed limits, traffic signs or traffic signals;

    ·      Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; and

    ·      A driver’s failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians at crosswalks that are marked for pedestrians.

    The law imposes a higher duty of care on drivers in areas where children are likely to be present. Thus, it is imperative that a driver be extra cautious when close to residential areas and schools where children are known to frequent.

    Contact a St. Louis Pedestrian Accident Attorney

    Pedestrians must also exercise reasonable care towards their own safety. Although their failure to do so can result in less recovery for their injuries, they may still be entitled to some compensation. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pedestrian car accident, seek medical attention immediately and then contact an experienced St. Louis pedestrian accident attorney. We can help you establish all of the required elements of a negligence case and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC

  • Drunk Driving Car Accidents in St. Louis This Summer

    Summer is a great time to relax with family and friends by getting together to have BBQs. Consequently, it is also a time for people to sit back and enjoy alcoholic beverages. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012 more than 10,000 people died due to car crashes where alcohol was involved. This equates to a death almost every 51 minutes. Although drinking and driving is a year around epidemic, it is even more prevalent during holidays. In fact, just behind New Year’s, the 4th of July is the second most deadly holiday period of the year due to impaired driving. According to data by the NHTSA, 765 people lost their lives in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more during the July 4th weekend in a 5-year period between 2008-2012.  Not only is drinking while driving dangerous and may result in a car accident, but spending the summer dealing with a Driving Under the Influence charge (DUI) would be miserable. As experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys, we know firsthand how devastating the consequences can be when a person gets behind the wheel while under the influence. This summer, we urge you to keep St. Louis residents safe by avoiding drinking and driving.

    How You Can Prevent Driving Under the Influence

    It’s easy to get carried away when enjoying some drinks with family and friends and to forget that you eventually have to get in the car and drive home. However, by following these tips, you can safeguard yourself and others from making a grave mistake:

    ·      Designate a Sober Driver Before Drinking Alcohol: Before attending an event where alcohol will be served, decide who is going to be drive home. Not discussing this beforehand can result in confusion when it actually comes to the time for everybody to drive home. Once you designate the sober driver, make sure they are aware of their responsibilities as sober driver. Always remember that a sober driver is not the person who has consumed the least amount of alcohol out of the group, but rather the person who has refrained from consuming any drinks.

    ·      Be Aware of Your Surroundings and Look Out for Friends and Family: Even if you have not been drinking or have designated a sober driver, pay attention to others around you. If you spot a friend trying to drive home after having too many drinks, confront him/her. It may result in some conflict at the moment, but they will end up thanking you later.

    ·      Be Willing to Give up Your Keys: The truth is that alcohol impairs your judgment. A person may think they are fine to drive but in reality they should not be operating a vehicle in their current state. Listen to those around you and if someone urges you to refrain from driving, you probably should.

    ·      Call a Taxi or a Sober Friend to Take You Home: If you think that you might be impaired and should not drive home, call someone who can. There’s nothing wrong with being careful; it could save someone’s life.

    We know how horrible car accidents involving drunk drivers can be and we hope these tips can help prevent them. If you have already been injured in a drunk driving car crash, contact our St. Louis car accident attorneys immediately for help.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC

  • St. Louis Car Accidents with Minors This Summer

    Summertime means that high school students and college students are home and excited to drive around town with their friends. Although our hope is that they practice safe driving all year round, the reality is that students are more likely to be reckless while driving in the summer. In fact, The Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) reported that in 2011, the majority of accidents involving young drivers occurred during the months of May through October. MODOT also reported that 85.2% of the crashes involving young drivers occurred when the roads were dry. The warm weather may prompt them to stay out late and drive late at night, take road trips or be tempted to drink and drive. As experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys, we know how important it is to keep young drivers safe.

    Parents can help increase the safety of young drivers on the road by urging them to follow these tips:

    1.     Follow the Speed Limit

    Speeding is one of the most popular reasons behind car accidents. Young drivers can be impulsive, engage in risk taking behavior or try and show off while operating a vehicle. Speed limits are in place for road traffic safety and to reduce the probability of being involved in a crash.

    2.     Refrain from Distracted Driving

    Young drivers are notorious for being technologically savvy, however they must be reminded that engaging in such conduct while driving can be dangerous. Distracted driving can include driving while texting, using a smartphone, eating and drinking, reading or even watching a video. It has been reported that 10% of all drivers under the age of 20 were reported as distracted while being involved in a fatal car crash. Educating young drivers about the risks posed by distracted driving can help keep roads safer.

    3.     Always Wear a Seatbelt

    According to the National Safety Council, teens are less likely to use seatbelts. Yet a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of injuries sustained from a crash by 50%. Additionally, Missouri law requires drivers of motor vehicles to wear a seatbelt. Thus, young drivers should be warned that not only is the failure to wear a seatbelt a safety risk, but it is also against the law.

    4.     Never Drink and Drive

    Drinking and driving not only impairs a young driver and puts them further at risk of being in a car accident, but it poses a grave danger to other vehicles on the road. Any young driver who drives a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02 % or more is subject to a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge. Young drivers are not always aware that depending on their size and tolerance, driving a vehicle even after having one drink can put them over the legal driving limit. The best advice is to avoid driving a vehicle after any consumption of alcohol.

    If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, first seek medical attention and then contact a St. Louis car accident attorney right away.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC

  • Common Causes of Dog Bites in Missouri

    Dogs are often viewed as “man’s best friend” and are praised for their loyal and long-lasting companionship. As a result of the important role they play in most people’s lives, they have also gained quite a bit of media coverage. Dogs have had starring roles in movies and TV shows as well as in several news reports. Over the years, there has been an abundance of news coverage on the cracking down of dog fighting rings throughout the country. Dog breeds such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, which are often portrayed as aggressive and dangerous animals, have been victimized due to this cruel and illegal practice. Other breeds that aren’t subject to such negative stereotypes are also targets of senseless abuse. Advocates for animal rights work tirelessly to stop abuse against dogs and to release them back into a home where they will be loved and cared for. Regardless of the reason, the stark reality is that sometimes dogs bite do occur, and as experienced St. Louis dog bite attorneys we have seen first hand how serious the injuries can be.

    What can you do to avoid dog bites?

    Understanding why a dog bites people can make an unsuspecting victim more aware of their interaction with a dog and help avoid being bitten. Additionally, under current Missouri law, owners can be held strictly liable when their dog bites someone. Usually, as long as the victim did not provoke the dog and was on public property or lawfully on private party when the dog bite occurred, they can recover for their injuries. Thus, it is also essential for owners to take the proper steps to train their dog and take certain measures to minimize the likelihood of their dog biting someone.

    Dog Bite Triggers

    Sometimes dogs attack for reasons unknown. However, the following are warning signs to watch for before an attack:

    ·      A dog may attack when they are being territorial and are trying to protect a piece of their property. This property could mean food, toys or their surrounding territory. Small children should refrain from bothering a dog while they are eating.

    ·      Unfamiliar situations or people can provoke a sense of fear in dogs. This can subsequently cause them to feel threatened and react by biting. Proceed with caution when approaching an unfamiliar dog.

    ·      A dog that is enduring some type of pain may react by biting anyone who irritates the sore area. Be gentle when petting a dog and refrain from any rough housing with an unfamiliar dog.

    ·      A dog who has recently given birth to puppies can react aggressively because of their maternal extinct. Be careful when handling a dog’s puppies and teach children not to approach a puppy and its mother abruptly.

    ·      Dogs often react to the element of chase. Bikers, runners and other pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings when passing a dog.

    Dog bites can result in serious injuries and if untreated can lead to even bigger complications. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in the St. Louis area, seek immediate medical attention. Then, contact an experienced St. Louis dog bite attorney to help you receive the compensation you deserve.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC

  • Sharing the Road with Motorcyclists in Missouri

    With summer temperatures finally full speed ahead in the St. Louis area, more and more people are choosing their motorcycle as their preferable mode of transportation. And since colder temperatures dominate the majority of the year, it is no wonder that motorcycle enthusiasts use this time to take their bikes out as much as they can. Unfortunately, as seasoned St. Louis motorcycle accident attorneys, we know that more motorcyclists on the road can also mean an increased risk of motorcycle accidents. Although motorcyclists need to take certain precautions to make sure that they are safe while on the road, they do not share this responsibility alone. Other occupants of the road can also take certain safety precautions to ensure that they safely share the road with bikers and reduce the likelihood of an accident.

    Safety Tips for Avoiding an Accident with a Motorcycle

    According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, 2,404 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in 2012. Whether you are a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorist you can ensure that you take certain steps to reduce the risk of an accident or serious injury and keep St. Louis roads safe for motorcyclists as well as passengers in your own vehicle. When you are on the road, make sure to follow these steps:

    ·      When turning into an intersection or switching lanes, pay close attention to the vehicles around you. Always be wary of blind spots and double check to make sure there are no motorists in your path. Since motorcycles are smaller than standard automobiles this may require extra time but it is worth it.

    ·      Avoid sharing a lane with a motorcycle. Although it may seem like there is enough room for both vehicles, a motorcycle requires a full lane so that it can maneuver safely.

    ·      Avoid following a motorcycle too closely and allow extra stopping distance between you and the motorcycle. What typically may constitute a “fender bender” between two cars can be fatal when a motorcycle is involved.

    ·      After you spot a motorcycle on the road, assume that it is closer than it actually is and proceed with caution. Due to its smaller size, it’s often difficult to determine what speed the motorcycle is traveling at and exactly how far away it is.

    ·      Make sure you use your turn signal well before you are about to turn. This will inform motorcyclists of your intention to turn and allow them to be on notice.

    ·      Be extra careful and aware in danger zones and construction zones. Sometimes the reduction in lanes or a sudden emergence of traffic can be precarious for motorcyclists.

    Contact a St. Louis Motorcycle Accident Attorney

    If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle accident in St. Louis, contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney right away. The disparity in size between a motorcycle and a vehicle can cause serious injuries to a motorcyclist who is the victim of a crash and can have long-term effects on their quality of life. A knowledgeable attorney can advise you of your rights and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

    ~Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC
    1717 Park Avenue

    St. Louis, MO 63104

    Tel. 314-932-5790

    Fax. 314-932-5792

  • Missouri Trucking Accidents

    Semi-Trucks are an essential mode of transportation when it comes to moving raw materials and commercial goods across the United States. According to the American Trucking Association, 70% of all of the freight moved in the United States is by truck. Without the trucking industry, our economy would take a major hit. Yet according to the Missouri Department of Transportation, in the year 2011 the number of people killed or injured from traffic crashes involving trucks was 3,599. Accidents involving trucks can result in serious or even fatal injuries and should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a truck in Missouri, a St. Louis truck accident attorney can help you recover for your injuries.

    Clash of the Titans: Two Truck Accidents Shutdown I-55

    It was recently reported that two separate truck accidents in close proximity to each other caused major delays for commuters traveling through I-55. A trailer truck that was carrying a hazardous material caught on fire. It was eventually put out but the traffic caused by the truck fire caused another accident to occur. The driver of a UPS truck collided with another trailer truck causing an explosion to occur upon the impact. The driver of the UPS truck survived, but unfortunately the driver of the other truck died.

    Factors that Make Truck Accidents Dangerous

    Accidents involving trucks are dangerous for several reasons. First of all, a semi-truck exponentially outweighs other vehicles on the road. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, semi-trucks with a maximum weight of 20,000 pounds are allowed on Missouri interstate highways. A typical vehicle can weigh between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds. It is not surprise that a collision between a car and a truck weighing 5 times as much can have catastrophic consequences.  Furthermore, cars are not the only vehicles at risk. Motorcyclists are even more likely to suffer deadly injuries if they crash into a truck due to their smaller size.

    The disparity in size between trucks and other vehicles on the road can cause other problems. Truck drivers are required to pay extra attention to the road and to their surroundings because of poor visibility through rear-view mirrors and the increased likelihood of blind spots. They must also maintain longer braking distances and exercise caution when making a turn. Unfortunately, a heightened sense of awareness while on the road can be difficult when a truck driver has been on the road for 10 hours straight. Although there are regulations in place to deter fatigued driving, it is no secret that it happens anyway.

    Contact a St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyer

    Truck accidents are actually quite common and can leave a person with debilitating and life-threatening injuries. If you are seeking compensation for your injuries you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer in Missouri that focuses on handling truck accidents. Often times they will work with industry experts to thoroughly investigate the accident and gather enough evidence to build a strong case.

    ~Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC
    1717 Park Avenue

    St. Louis, MO 63104

    Tel. 314-932-5790

    Fax. 314-932-5792

  • The Basic Framework for a Car Accident Lawsuit in Missouri

    Being involved in a car accident can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. If you have sustained injuries in an accident it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately. Although surviving a car accident can make you feel lucky to be alive, being faced with excessive hospital bills and debilitating injuries can prevent you from seeing the silver lining. When you are a victim of a car accident, there is no reason to face it alone. A St. Louis car accident attorney can alleviate some of the pressure and help you pursue the proper legal recourse.

    Contact an Experienced St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

    Once you have been medically treated for your injuries, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer to determine whether you want to file a lawsuit against the defendant (the person being sued). A reputable personal injury law firm will usually offer a free consultation to review the facts of the case and to engage in an exploratory investigation to determine who is at fault and what theory of liability to pursue. Additionally, many lawyers work on a contingency fee basis meaning you will not owe any legal fees unless you win the case. Thus, it is typically in your best interest to hire a lawyer who will fight to represent your legal rights.

    File a Personal Injury Petition

    A Petition is the first official document of the case, which broadly spells out some of the facts of the case and alleges the defendant’s role in the accident. It is important that upon filing a Petition that no procedural rules are violated and that the Petition is not frivolous. For example, according to the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, once the Petition is filed a copy must be:

    ·      Personally delivered to the defendant;

    ·      Delivered to the defendant’s home and left with a family member who is 15 or older; or

    ·      Delivered to an authorized agent.

    This ensures that the defendant is aware of the pending lawsuit and will be present at the upcoming court date. After receiving a copy of the Petition, the defendant will usually be provided with a lawyer who is hired by the defendant’s car insurance company.

    The Discovery Process

    Prior to heading to trial, each party in the lawsuit will share evidence through the process of discovery. The goal of the discovery process is to participate in a mutual exchange of facts, witnesses and documents to help both parties resolve the dispute. The length of the discovery process varies from case to case and depends on various factors. However, it’s during the discovery process that most parties decide to settle their case rather than go to trial.

    Settling the Case

    Both parties of the lawsuit may settle the case at any point during the litigation process. A “settlement” is when the parties agree on certain terms to resolve the dispute prior to trial. Depending on the facts of the case, going to trial is not always the best option for a victim.

    If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in St. Louis or in any other area of Missouri, contact an experienced car accident lawyer right away. An attorney can help you understand the litigation process and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.

    ~Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney
    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC
    1717 Park Avenue

    St. Louis, MO 63104

    Tel. 314-932-5790

    Fax. 314-932-5792

  • Missouri Motorcycle Deaths While On the Road

    Driving a motorcycle can be an exhilarating experience that often appeals to thrill-seekers and motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy sharing a sense of camaraderie. However, traveling on an open road at high speeds on a two-wheeled vehicle weighing less than 200 pounds can also be highly dangerous. According to a study completed by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the number of fatalities due to motorcycle accidents increased by 9% in 2012. The study suggests that one contributing factor to this increase in fatalities could be the unseasonably high temperatures in 2012. The study states that in 2012, Missouri experienced an “extremely mild weather in late winter and early spring,” prolonging the riding season and causing more motorcycle accidents resulting in deaths. As an experienced St. Louis motorcycle accident law firm, we understand the importance of utilizing certain safety measures to help prevent motorcycle fatalities for both drivers and passengers.

    Motorcycle Passenger Dies in Fatal Accident on Local Missouri Highway

    Last week it was reported that a Farmington man, accompanied by a 33-year-old female passenger, was driving his Harley Davidson when he lost control of the motorcycle because the rear tire blew out. After the motorcycle ran off the side of the roadway, both the driver and passenger were ejected. They were subsequently hospitalized but unfortunately the passenger died and the driver suffered serious injuries. The accident is still under investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

    Remaining Safe Behind the Wheel of a Motorcycle

    Although many factors can contribute to the likelihood of being in a motorcycle accident, one of the main reasons why they can be so fatal is because the motorcycle does not provide adequate protection in a collision. Compared to a vehicle that has four wheels, doors, seatbelts and air bag features, a motorcycle is much more susceptible to danger while on the road. However, if proper safety precautions are taken while riding a motorcycle, the characteristics that make them prone to accidents can be offset by their maneuverability and agility. The following tips can help ensure that you are safe as a motorcyclist on the road:

    ·      When purchasing a motorcycle, make sure that it is comfortable and is functional for your riding needs;

    ·      Read the motorcycle’s owner’s manual thoroughly and make sure you know where all of the important controls are located;

    ·      Attend a motorcycle-rider training course to learn how to operate your motorcycle safely and skillfully;

    ·      Wear adequate protective gear such as a helmet, shoes, gloves, eyewear and clothing;

    ·      Drive defensively by being alert in intersections, checking rear-view mirrors often, being aware of road conditions and by positioning yourself to always be seen by other drivers on the road;

    ·      Be courteous to other drivers by obeying traffic laws, using signs when appropriate, following the speed limit and by avoiding tailgating; and

    ·      Refrain from drinking alcohol and riding your motorcycle.

    Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

    If you or a loved one has been the victim of a serious or even fatal motorcycle accident, please contact one of our experienced St. Louis motorcycle accident attorneys today.

    ~Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney
    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC
    1717 Park Avenue

    St. Louis, MO 63104

    Tel. 314-932-5790

    Fax. 314-932-5792

  • Statute of Limitations in Missouri Personal Injury Cases

    Unfortunately, we live in a society where accidents are a common occurrence. Whether it is an accident involving a car, motorcycle or a ferocious dog, filing a personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover the costs incurred from being injured in an accident. Depending on the type of case, victims of accidents may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering and the loss of wages. Although receiving monetary compensation for an injury may not be enough to make a victim whole again, it is one way to help with the healing process. Personal injury lawsuits can often times be complex due to the unique nature of each case and the various rules that may determine its outcome. For example, each state imposes certain time limits, referred to as the statute of limitations, that dictate how soon a lawsuit must be filed after an injury occurs. To make sure that your interests are adequately represented, it is best to consult an experienced St. Louis personal injury firm in the aftermath of an accident that occurs in Missouri.

    What is a Statute of Limitations?

    Statutes of limitations are laws that are passed by each individual state that restrict the amount of time a plaintiff (person who is filing the lawsuit) has to file the lawsuit against the accused. It is essentially a timer that starts once the triggering event for a cause of action occurs. Once the timer starts, the plaintiff has a specified amount of time to file the lawsuit. If a plaintiff files a suit after the statute of limitations has run out, they run the immediate risk of losing the case.  Once the accused party files a motion stating that the plaintiff filed suit after the statute of limitations expired, the court can automatically dismiss the case and the plaintiff will be barred from any recovery regardless of the merits of the case.

    Additionally, the statute of limitations not only differs by state, but by different causes of action. For example, the statute of limitations for a car accident case where an injured party survives may differ from the statute of limitations for a car accident case where a party dies, commonly referred to as a wrongful death case. It is also important to note that the statute of limitations for civil cases is different than criminal cases. Thus, it is imperative prior to filing a lawsuit that the injured party understand these rules.

    Missouri’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

    In Missouri, Section 516 states that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is five years from the date the injury occurs. However in some cases, a victim may not be aware of their injuries until many years after the accident occurs. For example, in cases involving a victim who has been exposed to a toxic substance, the injury may not show immediately.  In these cases, the statute of limitations timer may begin after the victim becomes aware of the injury.

    Due to the several nuances present in the law, if you are a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney today.

    Joseph D. Klenofsky  |  St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney

    The Klenofsky Law Firm, LLC