What Types of Personal Injury Damages Are Awarded to Victims in Missouri?

What Types of Personal Injury Damages Are Awarded to Victims in Missouri?People who are injured in car crashes, slip and falls, and other accidents caused by another person’s negligence are entitled to compensation for their injuries. There are several types of compensation, also known as damages, that victims can recover in a personal injury case. Here’s a look at the different types of personal injury damages:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are awarded to victims to cover injury-related expenses, such as medical bills, or actual losses, such as lost wages. Victims should receive compensation for both their current and future expenses and losses. For example, if a victim can prove that he will need additional treatment in the future, he should be awarded economic damages to cover these expected expenses. Likewise, if a victim proves that he will need to take more time off of work in the future as a result of his injuries, he should be awarded compensation for his future lost wages.

Non-Economic Damages

The second type of compensation is known as non-economic damages. These damages are often referred to as pain and suffering damages because they are awarded to victims who have experienced mental or physical pain and suffering as a result of their injuries. For instance, if a victim is experiencing depression due to her injuries, she is entitled to compensation for this emotional distress.

It’s fairly easy to calculate the value of medical expenses and lost wages, but it’s much harder to quantify pain and suffering. For this reason, it’s important to let an experienced personal injury attorney calculate the value of your claim.

Punitive Damages

Some personal injury victims will also receive punitive damages. These damages are only awarded in cases where the defendant acted with indifference or a complete disregard to the safety of others. They are not awarded to compensate the victims for specific expenses or losses, but rather to punish the defendant for his grossly negligent behavior and deter others from engaging in similar behaviors.

Unfortunately, the victim will not get to keep all of the punitive damages that are awarded to him. In Missouri, half of the punitive damages awarded to the victim must be paid to the state.

Have you been injured? If so, contact the attorneys The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC right away. Compensation is never guaranteed in personal injury cases–especially if you are not represented by an experienced attorney. Our team will ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.

What is an SR-22?

What is an SR-22?The term “SR-22” is often used in DWI cases, but many defendants do not understand what it means. More importantly, they are usually unaware of how an SR-22 can impact their lives if they are convicted of or plead guilty to DWI. Here’s everything you need to know:

The Basics of SR-22 Certificates

Many people refer to an SR-22 as “SR-22 insurance,” but it’s not an actual insurance policy. An SR-22 is a certificate provided by your car insurance company that serves as proof that you are meeting the state’s minimum insurance coverage requirements.

Who Needs An SR-22?

Anyone who has pled guilty or been convicted of DWI will need to obtain an SR-22 in order to reinstate their driving privileges. You are not allowed to file the SR-22 certificate on your own–your car insurance company will need to submit the SR-22 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on your behalf. This lets the DMV know that you are fully insured so they can reinstate your driving privileges.

How Do I Obtain An SR-22?

It’s your responsibility to ask your insurance company for an SR-22 certificate after a DWI conviction or guilty plea. However, it’s important to note that some insurance companies do not offer SR-22 certificates because they do not want to insure high-risk drivers. If your insurance company does not offer SR-22 certificates, you will need to look for a new insurance provider in order to regain driving privileges.

How Does An SR-22 Affect Insurance Rates?

The insurance company knows that you have engaged in dangerous behavior while behind the wheel if you are asking for an SR-22 certificate. Because of this, the insurance provider will most likely change your driver classification to “high-risk,” which will affect your insurance rates. High-risk drivers pay more for their coverage because they are more likely to be involved in accidents, and thus more likely to file claims with their insurance provider. Therefore, it is important to understand that your insurance rates will significantly increase if you are required to obtain an SR-22 certificate. Don’t expect rates to drop down right away, either. The spike in insurance rates can continue for years following a DWI offense.

Have you been charged with DWI? If so, seek legal representation from the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC at once. Our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience helping the accused fight for their freedom. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.

Four Common Sentence Enhancements in DWI Cases

Four Common Sentence Enhancements in DWI CasesEvery crime in Missouri carries a range of possible sentences. If a defendant is found guilty, the judge decides how to sentence him based on the range of possible penalties. But, the judge is allowed to increase the penalties imposed upon a defendant under certain circumstances. These circumstances that lead to more severe penalties are known as sentence enhancements, and they often come into play in DWI cases. Here are four sentence enhancements in DWI cases:

Prior Offenders

The prior offender sentence enhancement applies to defendants with one intoxication-related offense on their record. Typically, a DWI charge is a class B misdemeanor, but this sentence enhancement increases the charge to a class A misdemeanor. This means you will face more severe penalties, including a mandatory 10-day jail sentence that you must serve before becoming eligible for probation or parole.

Persistent Offenders

Persistent offenders are defendants with two intoxication-related offenses on their criminal record. A defendant can also be classified as a persistent offender if he has one intoxication-related offense in addition to one involuntary manslaughter, assault, or assault of a police officer on his record.

This sentence enhancement increases your DWI charge to a class D felony, which carries serious penalties. A persistent offender who is convicted or pleads guilty can face up to seven years behind bars and up to five years of probation.

Aggravated Offenders

Another sentence enhancement applies to aggravated offenders, which are defendants with three or more intoxication-related offenses on their record. This sentence enhancement also applies to defendants with one intoxication-related offense on their record plus one violent offense such as involuntary manslaughter or murder in the second degree.

Defendants who are classified as aggravated offenders will face class C felony charges, which means they could be sentenced to spend up to ten years behind bars.

Chronic Offenders

Finally, there is the chronic offender sentence enhancement. This enhancement is applied in cases where the DWI defendant has four or more prior intoxication-related offenses on his record. It can also apply to other defendants who have a combination of intoxication-related offenses and violent offenses on their record.

This sentence enhancement will increase your DWI charge to a class B felony. If you are convicted or decide to plead guilty, you will face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 15 years behind bars. You will not be eligible for either probation or parole until this minimum sentence has been served.

Are you facing DWI charges? If so, the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC are ready to help. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about protecting the rights of the accused. Let our team fight to reach the best possible outcome in your case! Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at info@benjaminlawkc.com or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation today.