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Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund Update

After a long struggle with your personal injury case, getting a favorable settlement or judgment can feel vindicating. After all, your life was completely altered, and you had to endure great pain due to someone else’s negligence. You and your personal injury lawyer worked hard to put together a rock-solid case to prove the fault of the negligent individual, and it finally paid off. 

Unfortunately, a favorable settlement or judgment can’t help you if the at-fault party has limited insurance or otherwise can’t pay the judgment you obtained. Their inability to compensate you for your injury can halt your progress and leave you frustrated. That is where the Missouri Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund can come into play and provide you with additional compensation for your injury.  

How Does the Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund Work?

The Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund was created in 1987 to help injured individuals who have either obtained a judgment but cannot collect it from the negligent party due to their inability to pay or settled their injury case for the at-fault party’s insurance limits but those limits were inadequate in light of the extent of their injuries. 

The revenue for this fund is generated by a portion of the money paid as punitive damages in other civil lawsuits. From 2015-2019, 136 successful tort victim cases were awarded $12.26 million from the Missouri Tort Victim’s Fund. A large case can create an influx of cash that can pay claimants who have had a successful claim. 

Claimants are paid on a pro rata basis, meaning they receive compensation that is proportional to their case. Each year, a specific percentage is paid out for each dollar awarded in the original case. While the claimant may not receive their total payout, this payment can help them pay off a large portion of injury-related expenses. 

Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund Eligibility

According to the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, you can apply for a claim from the Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund if:

  • You obtained a final judgment in which the appeals are final but the at-fault party was unable to pay the full sum.
  • Your claim was settled for the insurance policy limits of the negligent party but those insurance limits are inadequate to compensate you for your injury.
  • You are the spouse or a family member of a deceased tort victim who wasn’t compensated.

You can’t apply for a claim if:

  • Your injury didn’t happen in Missouri and you aren’t a Missouri resident.
  • You are a commercial entity or company.
  • You were under house arrest or confined to a jail, prison or correctional facility when the injury occurred.
  • You have pleaded to or been found guilty of two or more felonies involving a controlled substance or an act of violence within 10 years of the injury.

How to Apply for a Claim from the Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund 

When you fit the criteria listed above, you can apply for a claim by visiting the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations website. From there, you can download and fill out a Tort Victims’ Compensation Claim form and send it to the Tort Victims’ Compensation Office. 

You will be required to submit information about your injury. This information about your situation helps the Tort Victims’ Compensation program evaluators determine who should be paid first based on need

Why You Need to Apply As Soon As Possible

If your claim is accepted, you will still have to wait for others in “line” to be paid ahead of you. So, filling out your application as soon as possible is essential to maximize your chances of receiving compensation.

Talking With a Lawyer About the Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund

Getting the compensation you need for your injury is paramount to a full recovery. Don’t let the process discourage you from applying. You shouldn’t have to suffer due to someone else’s irresponsibility. 

If you have questions about the Missouri Tort Victims’ Fund or have suffered a personal injury, visit our contact page today. Our team of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys is equipped to handle a wide variety of case types. Our team has the experience and resources to best assist you with filing your Tort Victims’ Fund claim and achieving the best outcome on your behalf.  

To learn more about our team, check out our attorney profiles.

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  • Columbia Office
    903 E. Ash Street
    Columbia, Missouri 65201
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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