When we drive in St. Charles, we trust that other motorists will operate their vehicles in a safe and careful manner. Unfortunately, not every driver exercises care when behind the wheel. When a careless or reckless motorist causes an accident, that motorist should be held accountable by the other drivers and passengers who are injured.
But pursuing a car accident claim against that driver can be challenging. If you’ve never been in a car accident before, the claim process and civil lawsuit process can seem complex and intimidating. Insurance companies and defense law firms use tactics to give you less than the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pursue your car accident claim alone. An experienced St. Charles car accident attorney can help you secure the financial compensation you need and deserve.
If you or a loved one, through no fault of your own, have been involved in a car accident in St. Charles or elsewhere in Missouri, contact the Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, today. We will schedule a consultation with our St. Charles car accident lawyer to discuss your rights and options for compensation.
How Our St. Charles Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
If you believe you have a car accident claim against a careless driver, our St. Charles car accident lawyer can help you pursue your claim. We will fight to secure maximum compensation for you by:
Thoroughly investigating your accident. Our attorney will recover critical evidence in your case, including the police accident report, accident scene photos, vehicle damage reports and eyewitness statements.
Working with experts to build your legal claim. Our attorney can coordinate with engineering, financial and medical experts to build a strong, persuasive case. We will document how your accident occurred, what kinds of injuries you suffered, and the amount of financial damages you’ve incurred.
Documenting your economic losses and damages. Our attorney can help you keep track of your damage by collecting medical invoices and expenses and calculating your lost wages and future earning potential.
Negotiating with the insurance companies for a settlement. Our attorney will aggressively push back when the insurance companies offer less than full and fair compensation.
Preparing your case for trial. If necessary, our attorney will ensure that your case is timely and properly filed. Our attorney will also vigorously advocate on your behalf to the judge and jury to get you a favorable verdict.
Compensation in a Car Accident Claim
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence or recklessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. In a car accident claim, compensation for may include:
Past and future medical expenses, including hospital stays, doctor’s office visits, surgeries, prescription medication, physical therapy, mobility equipment, or long-term care
Lost income or wages, if you miss time from work during your recovery
Lost earing capacity, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-accident level or type of work
Lost quality of life, from disabilities or physical disfigurement, or from the inability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed
Pain and suffering caused by your injuries
If you are a minor injured in a car accident, the statute of limitations on your claim does not begin to run until you turn 18.
In addition, you may also be compensated for property damage you suffered in the accident, including the cost to repair your vehicle (or the value of your vehicle if it is totaled).
What Is Comparative Fault?
“Comparative Fault” is a concept that comes into play when an injured plaintiff and the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit share fault for the plaintiff’s injuries. Generally speaking, the concept of comparative fault means that a plaintiff should be financially responsible for a percentage of his or her injuries.
Most states use a “modified comparative negligence” rule. That rule states that a plaintiff can recover compensation if his or her share of fault is less than the fault of all other parties combined. The plaintiff’s recovery is reduced by his or her share of fault.
Missouri, however, is a state that allow a plaintiff to recover compensation even if he or she bears a majority of the fault for his or her injuries. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 60 percent at fault for his or her accident and suffered $100,000 in damages, the recovery will be $40,000.
Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
After you’ve been in a car accident in Missouri, you have a limited period in which to file a lawsuit over your injuries and damages. This period is called the statute of limitations.
Under Missouri law, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit for personal injuries is five years, measured from the date of injury.
In certain circumstances, the statute of limitations for your claim may be “tolled,” which means that the “clock” for the limitations period is paused. For example:
In any case, if you fail to file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the court can permanently dismiss your lawsuit. When that happens, you can lose your right to compensation.
If you have a car accident claim against the government, you must also comply with a shorter notice requirement. Typically, notice must be filed in as little as six months or as much as a year after your accident, depending on whether the claim is against the local, state or federal government. If the government is not notified of your claim, you may be permanently barred from seeking compensation.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in St. Charles, these steps, taken shortly after your accident, will put you in the best position to recover compensation for your injuries and damages:
Contact 911 or the police. If you or someone else in the car accident has been injured, call 911 to summon emergency medical services. Even if no one was injured, the police should come to the scene of the accident to prepare an accident scene report. The report will detail the officer’s findings and may state who was at fault in your accident.
Don’t offer an apology or admit fault for the accident. Avoid making apologies or statements that could be construed as admitting fault for the accident. Those statements could be later used to argue that you were responsible for the accident.
Document the accident. Be sure to get the contact and insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident. If possible, photograph or video the accident scene. Show any damage to the vehicles, any skid marks on the road, the road and traffic controls at the scene, and the lighting, weather, traffic, and road conditions at the time of the accident. If you have visible injuries, photograph them as well.
Seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel any pain or injuries at the accident scene, see your doctor or other medical provider for an examination. Pain and other symptoms of injuries may take days or weeks to manifest. Your doctor may be able to identify them at an early stage.
Avoid social media. Avoid talking about your accident on social media. Any posts that contradict official statements you give can be used to undermine your credibility. If you post videos of yourself traveling or participating in sports or outdoor activities, the other side may argue that you aren’t as injured as you claim.
Speak with a knowledgeable car accident attorney. Speak with an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate your rights and options for seeking compensation. An attorney can obtain a favorable outcome in your car accident claim through a settlement or a verdict at trial.
What You Need to Know about Dealing with Insurance Companies
Following your car accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster. The adjuster may want a statement from you about the accident. The adjuster may even offer you compensation for your injuries and damages.
However, remember insurance companies – including your own insurer – may not be on your side. The insurance companies’ goal is to get you to accept as little money as possible for your car accident claim. As a result, the insurance companies will use tactics and strategies to lower settlement amount. The companies may also use your statements to argue that you were at fault or partially at fault for the accident.
When dealing with the insurance companies, turn to an experienced car accident attorney. The attorney can communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that your rights and interests are being protected. The attorney can review any settlement offers you receive and determine whether they represent fair compensation for your losses.
Types of Car Accidents
Although all car accidents seem the same, each of the different types of car accidents have important distinctions that could affect your legal claim. Examples of types of car accidents include:
Drunk driving accidents
Parking lot accidents
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist accidents
The Law Office of Andrew S. Martin, LLC, can help you pursue your claim no matter what type of accident you had.
Types of Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can lead to a wide variety of injuries, depending on the type of accident, the severity of the collision, and whether the car’s occupants were wearing seat belts. Common types of car accident injuries include:
Cuts and bruises
Soft-tissue injuries, including tendon, ligament, and muscle injuries
Internal organ injuries and internal bleeding
Neck and back injuries, including herniated and ruptured discs
Spinal cord injuries
Traumatic brain injury
Although some car accident injuries can be minor, others can leave accident victims with long-lasting or lifelong disabilities. In some tragic cases, an accident victim’s injuries can be fatal.
Talk to a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one have been involved in a car accident in St. Charles that wasn’t your fault, you deserve to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. When you have a car accident claim, you don’t have to go it alone. Remember the insurance companies will do whatever it takes to get you to accept less than the fair and full compensation you deserve.