Missouri Attorneys Answer Your FAQs About Car Accidents
Car accidents involve insurance as well as personal injury law, so it is very important that victims of an auto accident contact a St Louis car accident lawyer immediately. Personal injury attorneys will mediate between the persons involved in the incident and the insurance companies. A St. Louis personal injury attorney will attempt to prove liability by preserving evidence and interviewing witnesses. Attorneys also ensure that you receive proper medical care, and document your injuries so that you receive full compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What should I do after a car crash?
- Why should I consider filing a lawsuit in Missouri?
- Will I have to go to court if I file a car accident claim?
- How long do I have to think about filing a car accident lawsuit in Missouri?
- How can I tell who’s legally at fault for my accident?
- I think the accident might have been partly my fault. Can I still file a claim?
- The other driver’s insurance company keeps on calling me to offer a settlement. Should I just take it so I can end this thing?
- What if the person who hit me didn’t have any insurance? Or it was a hit-and-run accident?
- How much does it cost to hire an attorney at Page Law to file a Missouri auto accident claim?
- What should I do at the scene of the car accident?
Q: What should I do after a car crash?
A: Of course, your first priority should be making sure everyone involved is safe and gets the medical attention they need. But afterward, try to avoid saying anything that could be interpreted as accepting blame for the accident, because it may be used as evidence against you later. Call the police for help.
If you think you were injured in any way, see a doctor. Even if it’s just a minor injury, this is a good precaution for both your health and any lawsuit you may file in the future. Save all the papers and photos you get from law enforcement, doctors, repair shops and other agencies you visited because of the accident. If you decide to file a claim, they’ll be valuable evidence.
Q: Why should I consider filing an auto accident lawsuit?
A: If everything is happening the way it should, you may not need to pursue legal action after a crash. But it’s rare that everything happens the way it should. The other driver (and his or her insurer) may claim the collision was your fault in order to avoid paying; your own insurance company may refuse to pay a legitimate claim; or you may have injuries that go beyond what they are willing to cover. In all of those cases, and in any other case where you feel your rights are being violated, you should at least speak to an auto accident lawyer in St. Louis to see whether you have a case.
Q: Will I have to go to court if I file a car accident claim?
A: It’s not likely that you’ll end up on the witness stand. Most Missouri auto accident lawsuits are settled out of court, because once you hire a lawyer, insurance companies realize that you mean business. Depending on how far along in the process you get before settling, you may have to give a deposition, which is legal testimony given outside of court. If a case does go to court, it’s a sign that the insurance company refuses to pay the full value of your claim. In that case, you may still be able to avoid testifying, depending on the case.
Q: How long do I have to think about filing a car accident lawsuit in Missouri?
A: It depends. That is why it is crucial to contact a St. Louis Missouri auto accident attorney immediately. Because the difference is often not clear, it’s always better to start your claim as soon as you decide you’d like to file one. And if a government agency is involved, the limitations become more complicated — so it’s important to move fast.
Q: How can I tell who’s legally at fault for my accident?
A: There are no hard-and-fast rules, but there are a few situations in which one driver is usually assumed to be at fault. For example, in a rear-end collision involving two cars, the driver in the back is almost always legally liable. Similarly, drivers turning left are almost always at fault in a crash involving another vehicle that was going straight, assuming the straight driver had a green light. And drivers who hit pedestriansand bicyclists are usually found at fault. But in all of these cases, there are exceptions, especially if the other party was breaking a law. For a free consultation on your case, call Page Law.
Q: I think the accident might have been partly my fault. Can I still file a claim?
A: Yes! For one thing, your judgment may have been impaired in the heat of the moment, especially if you sustained a serious injury. And the law often assigns fault differently from the way a human being might. But more importantly, Missouri law uses a principle called comparative fault to determine compensation in auto accident lawsuits.
This rule says that if you were partly at fault, the amount you can collect is reduced by the amount of fault you bear. That is, if a jury decides you were 35% at fault for your accident, the amount of damages you’ll receive will be reduced by 35%. Of course, if you’re not at fault at all, you can collect the full amount of your winnings. If you’re not sure how much fault you bear or whether you have a good case, call Page Law for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.
Q: The other driver’s insurance company keeps on calling me to offer a settlement. Should I just take it so I can end this thing?
A: If you’re sure that the amount of money they’re offering will cover all of your costs and injuries, you might want to accept their offer. But it’s important to know that accepting money from an insurance company usually means you can’t pursue legal action. So if you’re not yet sure what your costs will be, or you know their offer won’t cover everything, you should politely decline. Call Page Law for help in determining how much your claim is really worth.
Q: What if the person who hit me didn’t have any insurance? Or it was a hit-and-run accident?
A: In both of those cases, you should be able to file a claim with your own insurance company, as long as you have collision coverage or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. (A hit-and-run driver legally counts as an uninsured motorist, since you can’t get his or her insurance information.)
If you don’t have the insurance, you may still be able to sue a third party, such as a government agency that didn’t maintain the road well enough. Unfortunately, insurance companies often find thin excuses to avoid paying legitimate UM/UIM or hit-and-run claims. If you’re having this kind of trouble, call Page Law for help.
Q: How much does it cost to hire Page Law to file an auto accident claim?
A: Attorneys at Page Law work on contingency, a special kind of fee arrangement where we never take payment up front. If you win, our fee will be paid from a percentage of your winnings, which we will agree on before we formally take your case. If we lose, we get nothing. So there’s very little risk for the client. This arrangement allows everyone to have access to justice, even people who don’t have enough extra money for attorneys’ fees. For the same reasons, we also offer free consultations to potential clients. If you’re considering a Missouri car crash lawsuit, call Page Law for a free evaluation of your case. We can be reached by calling (314) 322-8515.
What Should I Do at Scene of the Car Accident?
It is important to collect as much information as possible at the scene of a car accident. The following is a list of data that should be collected:
- Names and addresses of drivers, driver’s licenses
- Names and addresses of passengers
- Names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses
- Names and addresses of registered owners of the vehicles
- Names of insurance companies, policy numbers
- Location of the car crash
- How the collision occurred
- Did any of the drivers seem to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
- Damages to vehicles
- Names of police officers that responded to the scene
- Did anyone claim responsibility for the car accident?
There are several things that you should do following a car accident. Your insurance company should be informed of the crash. A police report must be filed if any personal injury occurs or if damages to either vehicle exceed a certain amount – this varies from state, usually anywhere from $200-500. If you sustained any injuries in the car crash you must receive regular medical care. In addition, some states may require that you file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles. In order to accomplish these things, it may be helpful to contact a St Louis County auto accident attorney.
Victims who have been injured in a Missouri auto accident are often entitled to compensatory damages. This will include compensation for lost wages, property damage, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. In cases where the car collision was caused by another party’s reckless behavior, punitive damages may be recovered. Punitive damages can also be recovered when the accident or personal injury was caused by a defect in the vehicle.
No Fault vs. At Fault
Liability laws determining who pays for damages in an auto accident differ from state to state. Approximately half of the states in the U.S. have adopted “no fault” liability laws that make everyone involved in the car accident responsible for their own damages. In many states there are exceptions to these laws when someone sustains a serious personal injury or property damage exceeds a specific amount. The other half of the states in the U.S. have “at fault” liability laws that require the person who caused the colllision to pay damages for all parties involved.
When you purchase car insurance you are purchasing both first party coverage, which covers you and your property, and third party coverage, which covers other people involved in the auto accident (either in your vehicle or other vehicles in the crash).
Different types of coverage can be purchased. Comprehensive coverage covers your vehicle in the event of fire, theft, vandalism, and acts of nature. Collision coverage covers your vehicle in the event of an auto accident.
When you have been involved in car crash, your insurance company will require that you contact them in a timely matter. If you do not report an auto accident to your insurance company, they can attempt to deny coverage for the incident.