Missouri, with its rural roads and wide-open spaces, is still no stranger to car accidents, personal injuries and negligence cases. Sometimes it's difficult to even figure out where to place blame and liability. It could be you who experienced a life-changing accident; it could be a friend or family member. Whatever happened, if you need guidance for your personal injury case, Enjuris has the answers.
Missouri Personal Injury Cases & Accident Info
Missouri statutes online
This is where you’ll find Missouri's revised statutes. The website has details about how long you have to bring a case, monetary limits on personal injury cases (which are also known as damage caps), and other important information.
In Missouri, you have five years to bring both a personal injury and property damage claim. That means you have five years to file your paperwork with the court, not that your case has to be completed in that time frame.
The initial meeting with a personal injury attorney is normally free of charge. (Note that other legal specialties, such as criminal defense law or intellectual property law, are different.) After that, lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they will take a third of the eventual reward or settlement, plus whatever office expenses they incurred.
If your case ends up going to trial, the percentage could rise to 40% of the eventual reward or judgment. These numbers aren't determined by law, so don't be surprised if your lawyer suggests something else.
These are some cases of legal significance that came out of the Missouri courts:
Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Public Health, 497 U.S. 261 (1990): This was the first "right to die" case heard by the Supreme Court of the United States. Ms. Cruzan had crashed her car and landed face-down in a ditch of water, surviving only in a vegetative state. Despite having told a friend that she would have wanted to live only if she could live a halfway normal life, the doctors kept her on a feeding tube and living in that state. Her parents petitioned the court to remove the feeding tube, which would have ended her life. The Supreme Court agreed with the State of Missouri, saying that they needed "clear and convincing evidence" that Ms. Cruzan wanted to end her life. This brought about the creation of advanced health directives.
Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162 (1975): After Drope was arrested for raping his wife, he filed a motion for a psychiatric evaluation, which was denied. His wife attested to his strange behavior and that he had tried to kill her prior to trial, but the psychiatric evaluation was still denied. Then, Drope attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself on day two of the trial. The trial continued in his absence and he was sentenced to life in prison. He filed for a new trial, saying that his rights had been violated. The Supreme Court held that his constitutional rights had been violated, as the proper weight had not been given to the psychiatric evaluation, his absence in court, and his overall incompetency. The totality rose to a due process violation.
Missouri v. Jenkins, 495 U.S. 33 (1990): Missouri public schools were attempting to combat segregation in compliance with court directives. In order to attract more white students from the suburbs, they needed to raise revenue – but they didn't have many ways to do it other than raising taxes. Federal district Judge Russell G. Clark ordered an increase in local property taxes for the 1991-92 fiscal year, which was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. However, the Appeals Court also ruled that the courts should enjoin state tax laws that prevented the District from raising the funds and allow the state to set tax rates. The Supreme Court of the United States held that the court order violated Article III of the Tenth Amendment and abused its discretion, though the modifications satisfied "equitable and constitutional principles governing the District Court's power..."
There are a large number of issues you can solve without the help of an attorney, surprisingly enough. If you don't know where to begin, a law librarian can help you. They are usually legally trained, and they can help you both with texts or online research engines like LexisNexis or Westlaw.