Negligence – which generally involves a failure to act with due care on the part of one party – can lead to liability. If an individual or business does something that seems unsafe to the average person or failed to do what would reasonably seem necessary for the safety of others, anyone hurt due to that failure might eventually pursue a lawsuit against the negligent party.
Both businesses and individuals could end up financially responsible for medical costs, lost wages and property damage losses caused by negligence. There may be insurance that applies to a harm-related situation, but the most serious cases often end up in civil court. The laws about negligence and financial claims after an injury are slightly different in every state. Those who are hoping to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in Kansas or Missouri need to understand the state’s approach to negligence claims.
Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state
If one party sues someone else, the defendant can raise a claim that the plaintiff contributed to the incident through mistakes or negligence of their own. The approach to such claims in Missouri involves allocating a portion of responsibility to the plaintiff and then reducing the damages based on their responsibility for the incident. Comparative negligence means that a defendant is only financially responsible for their portion of contributions to an incident.
Kansas has a modified contributory negligence statute
Contributory negligence is slightly different than comparative negligence or fault. Rather than simply awarding a plaintiff only the amount that corresponds to the responsibility of the individual defendant, contributory negligence rules can sometimes prevent a plaintiff from receiving any compensation at all.
If the courts determine that they are more than 49% to blame for the incident, that will typically bar them from recovering any compensation from the other parties that are partially to blame. The modified rule allowing for partial recovery makes a lawsuit worthwhile even if the plaintiff made mistakes as well. In both states, the burden of proof is on the defendant claiming the plaintiff contributed to the incident. Partial recovery can still help someone cover their expenses after an injury.
Learning more about the laws that apply to a personal injury lawsuit can help those in Kansas and Missouri determine what step to take next. Seeking legal guidance is generally a good place to start.