How Serious Does My Injury Have to Be to File a Case?
Some accidents cause devastating injuries—amputations, paralysis, even death. But other accidents leave only minor physical damage. At Schultz & Myers, many of our clients tell us that they almost didn’t contact a St. Louis personal injury lawyer because they thought their injuries were too minor. We’re glad they contacted us. In truth, your injury does not need to be life-threatening to file a legal claim.
The Law Does Not Require Serious Injuries
To bring a lawsuit in Missouri, you only need to show that you suffered some injury. Depending on the circumstances, you might suffer:
- Cuts, scrapes, and lacerations
- Broken bones
- Pinched nerves
None of these injuries are life-threatening. However, they might keep you out of work for weeks as you try to recover. You might also experience intense pain that lasts for weeks or months.
Furthermore, some injuries develop slowly. Immediately after an accident, you might feel perfectly fine. However, over the next week or so, serious ailments can develop. It isn’t unusual for back, neck, and shoulder injuries to take days or weeks to develop after a sudden jolt. Instead of immediately assuming you are okay, you should visit a hospital or doctor immediately and pay attention as to whether symptoms develop. You should also reach out to a St. Louis car accident lawyer for help with your case.
Not All Injuries are Physical
Some of the most serious injuries are invisible. Accident victims in Missouri can receive compensation for emotional distress, including:
In most accidents, you will suffer emotional distress along with a physical injury, however minor. In a few situations, you can receive emotional distress damages even if no one contacted you.
Remember to carefully document your emotional distress by keeping a journal in which you note how you are feeling. Also hold onto any prescription drugs if you take them to deal with your emotional distress.
Analyze Your Economic and Non-Economic Losses
If you win a lawsuit you can receive financial compensation for your injuries. Some of your injuries will be economic, for example:
- Money spent on medical treatment
- Lost wages, if your injuries kept you out of work
- Damage to your property, such as damage to a car after a wreck
These damages are easy to calculate because a receipt or bill is attached, or because you can estimate the costs with precision.
Non-economic injuries include pain and suffering, as well as emotional distress. These are harder to calculate but typically are some multiple of your economic losses. For example, someone who suffers $5,000 in economic losses might receive 1 to 5 times that amount in non-economic damages.
Of course, it is entirely possible that your injuries are too minor to warrant a lawsuit. For example, you might have suffered a small wound after being bit by a dog. In this case, you only spent a couple dollars cleaning your cut and suffered no real pain or emotional distress. You don’t miss any work. In this situation, the maximum financial recovery would be less than $100. However, it is still in your best interests to contact a St. Louis dog bite injury lawyer to determine whether or not you have a viable case.
Contact a St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney
Whether to bring a lawsuit is a complicated decision. At Schultz & Myers, we will review the facts surrounding your injury and identify whether you have a valid legal claim. To schedule a free case evaluation, call us today at 314-444-4444.