Personal Injury FAQs

Answering your frequently asked accident and injury questions

Personal injury law developed over centuries, starting with the English common law system, and is now largely codified as state law throughout the country. State law also governs our workers compensation system, which protects employees from losses due to on-the-job injuries. Each area of the law has grown vast and complex over time. At the Law Office of Donna Clark Frayne, LLC, our attorneys appreciate how confusing the law can be, especially to a distressed victim of an accident. We are happy to answer the questions you may have and provide you with these answers to frequently asked questions to get you started:

What kind of damages can I seek for a personal injury?

Personal injury damages are divided into economic damages, or financial losses, which the victim has suffered or will suffer. Medical bills, rehab costs and lost earnings are the most common of the economic damages. In the cases of permanently disabling injuries, a victim may need to remodel a house and hire a car service to accommodate the disability. Noneconomic losses are more difficult to calculate. They relate to lost quality of life, and include pain and suffering, loss of consortium (the ability to have intimate relations within a marriage), and the inability to partake in leisure activities the victim previously enjoyed.

Who can sue for damages in the wrongful death of a person?

Not everyone who had emotional ties to a deceased person can sue for wrongful death. In Missouri, the first class of persons eligible to file suit are the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren (and in some cases, parents) of the deceased. If there is no spouse or children, a surviving sibling may file the case. There are other eligible parties in certain circumstances, including estate executors and others, but immediate family members are most common filers of Missouri wrongful death cases.

Is it necessary to hire an attorney for a personal injury claim?

The law does not require you to hire an attorney, but given the complexity and time-consuming nature of the tasks involved, most plaintiffs who suffer serious injury are simply not up to the task. You have to ask yourself whether, given your current situation, you can expect yourself to learn enough about the legal process and substantive law, then assemble the necessary evidence, track down and depose the witnesses, interview medical experts and do everything else necessary to present a compelling case. And do you know how much to ask for in damages? Can you do all that and match the knowledge and talents of the experienced defense attorney the insurance company keeps on retainer? For most plaintiffs, self-representation does not make good economic sense, nor does it allow them to concentrate on regaining their health, which should be their primary focus.

What happens to a child’s settlement money?

Usually, no one, including the parents, has access to child accident case proceeds. The laws and courts are very strict regarding access to a child’s settlement proceeds. They want to protect children from parents or others who might use the money to benefit themselves, instead of the child. Generally, courts place a child’s settlement money in a restricted bank account until the child turns 18. It is not very common but the judge will sometimes allow withdrawals from a child’s account if the funds are needed for the child’s care and well-being above and beyond what the parent is supposed to provide.

Does it matter when I file my workers compensation claim or can I file it at any time?

Absolutely. There is a very important difference between reporting a job injury and actually filing a formal Claim for Compensation with the Division of Workers Compensation. In Missouri, if the employer/insurer do not provide any benefits, you must file within two years of the date of the injury whether or not a report of injury was filed. If no report of injury is filed and benefits are provided, you have to file within three years from the latest of the date of injury or last benefit to be paid. There are many intricacies in the area of workers compensation so you need an attorney, like Donna Clark Frayne, who is familiar with the laws and stays updated on changes in both Missouri and Illinois.

I slipped on my way to work. Can I file a workers compensation claim for my injuries?

Workers compensation generally applies to injuries that occur at the workplace. If you are injured while you are arriving or returning from work, such injuries are generally not covered by workers compensation. Our St. Louis personal injury lawyers can help determine whether or not you have an eligible claim.

Can I file for workers’ comp if i was injured during a work-related errand?

Under ordinary circumstances, workers compensation covers injuries that occur at the workplace. If your employer sent you out to do an errand for a work purpose, you may file a workers compensation claim, but certain factors must be considered. For example, it is important to know if doing errands is usually part of your job. It would be best for you to speak with a lawyer who can tell you what your rights are in this situation.

How do I know if I have a workers compensation case?

For an injury to be covered under workers compensation, it must be related to your employment, and there are some very specific rules that determine if your injury is work-related. The injury must also be the main reason for the medical condition that you have for it to be covered. If workers compensation does not cover your injuries, you may be eligible to receive compensation under another legal theory. That is why it is important to consult with an attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable in these areas of the law.

Speak with an injury expert