If you’ve been involved in a car accident, the last thing you need to worry about is if there will be any financial repercussions for the injuries and damages you’ve sustained. Unfortunately, financial devastation is always a risk in serious accidents. You’ll want to protect yourself, your rights, and your finances with the help of a Columbia, MO car accident lawyer from Thomas Law Offices.
What To Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents are traumatic experiences. In the immediate aftermath of a car crash you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. The most important thing to remember is to prioritize the health and safety of yourself and everyone around you. Call 911 right away if anyone appears seriously injured.
After that, you’ll want to do the following when it’s safe to do so.
Obtain Contact Information From the Other Driver
Exchange contact information with the other driver, including name, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and license plate number. Don’t discuss blame at all, as some insurance companies will try to shift liability in accident cases based solely on these discussions.
Take Pictures of the Accident Scene
To preserve important information, take pictures of the accident scene, skid marks, debris, the other driver’s license plate, and your damaged vehicle. An experienced car accident lawyer will be able to use these photos to support your claim.
Obtain Contact Information From Any Witnesses
Firsthand accounts from witnesses can help support your claim. If anyone saw the accident occur, ask them if they’d be willing to speak on your behalf and get their contact information.
Keep Records of Everything Related to the Car Wreck
Keep records of absolutely everything, including the police report, your medical records, and proof of any time you spent off work. An experienced personal injury attorney can sift through these documents and decide what is important.
Contact Your Auto Insurance Agency
After a car accident, you’ll need to contact your auto insurance agency. Keep track of every conversation you have, including:
- The name of the person you spoke with.
- What you discussed.
- When the conversation took place.
Avoid speaking to the other driver’s insurance company. They may try to force you to sign off on the insurance claim before you’re ready or may even try to pin the blame on you.
Contact a Columbia, MO Car Accident Lawyer
If you feel the case may be difficult, it’s in your best interest to contact Thomas Law Offices for legal assistance as quickly as possible. Our Columbia car accident lawyers understand how state laws impact the claims process.
Facts About Missouri Car Accidents
Agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Missouri Department of Transportation collect data on car accidents in Missouri. This information can help us better evaluate our own safety and driving practices on the road.
Fatal Crash Statistics
Consider some of Missouri’s NHTSA traffic safety performance data collected in 2019:
- There were 910 traffic fatalities.
- 335 fatalities were speeding-related.
- 116 traffic fatalities were caused by drivers aged 20 or younger.
Unexpectedly losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, but you may be able to seek compensation on their behalf. A personal injury lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help you better understand your rights in this and other types of car accident cases.
Accident Injury Statistics
According to NHTSA, there were 4,678 serious car accident injuries in 2019. This figure only accounts for injuries that were considered serious, and does not paint a full picture of the harm that car crashes cause.
All it takes is one act of negligence to permanently alter the course of your life. Below are notable accident injury figures:
- Drunk driving injured 3,480 people in 2014.
- Drivers under the age of 21 caused 8,647 accidents in 2014.
- In 2017, distracted driving caused 21,058 accidents, more than speeding (19,535 accidents) and drunk driving (5,321 accidents).
You might think that you will never be in a wreck because you drive safely. In reality, negligent drivers who speed, drive drunk, and text can still hit your vehicle even if you do everything right.
Catastrophic Injuries in Serious Car Accidents
Your Columbia, MO car accident lawyer knows how auto wrecks can result in debilitating injuries. At our law office, we’ve worked with clients who have suffered serious injuries like:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Nervous System Damage
- Internal Injuries
- Back and Neck Injuries
- Broken Bones
Some of these are referred to as catastrophic injuries—they cause permanent damage and can limit the ability of victims of auto accidents to remain gainfully employed and earn a living.
Medical Care for Accident Victims
Post-accident medical care will vary. You may require weeks, months, years, or a lifetime of medical treatments. The entire process is not only expensive, but can also be physically and emotionally draining.
After being involved in an accident, you need to understand the types of treatments you may undergo as well as who might be providing that care.
Medical Treatments After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Medical providers routinely provide the following for victims who suffered a serious injury at the hands of a reckless driver:
- Physical Therapy
- Prescriptions for Pain Relievers and Anti-Inflammatory Medications
A reputable law firm will always advise that you prioritize your health. You should promptly seek medical care after an accident. Adhere to all treatment plans, take medications as prescribed, and show up for appointments.
When you seek compensation for an accident, you must show the extent of your injuries. If you fail to follow your treatment plan, the insurance adjuster might claim that your injuries are not that serious.
At our law firm, we offer a free consultation during which we make sure injury victims understand their rights in these types of legal matters.
Doctors Who Treat Accident Victims
An emergency room physician might be the first medical professional you see after a wreck, but they probably won’t be your last. Aside from your primary care doctor, you may also see:
- Trauma Surgeons
- Burn Specialists
- Orthopedic Surgeons
Never be afraid to seek a second opinion. You need an accurate diagnosis to secure the full compensation you need for recovery. Don’t settle for less than what you deserve based solely on a doctor’s refusal to take your injuries seriously.
Life After a Terrible Car Accident
Severe car accidents impact every aspect of your daily life. Everyday tasks that might have once been easy can take hours to accomplish or become altogether impossible.
When deciding what a fair settlement is, you will need to consider not only your current needs, but also any lost income and the extent of your injuries.
This is not a task that most people can accomplish on their own. Accident lawyers in Columbia can evaluate the full breadth of your injuries and related damages. They will consider a wide range of factors when calculating possible damages, including:
- Your expected maximum medical improvement.
- The average lifetime medical bills of someone with your condition.
- Any reduced earning capacity.
- Property damage to your vehicle.
Experienced car accident lawyers know where to look for this information. They can further distill this information into a claim that addresses the full scope of the harm caused by any responsible parties.
Types of Car Wrecks
Your auto accident attorney in Missouri will determine what kind of accident you were involved in. Often, the kind of accident can relate to specific injuries. Rear-end crashes frequently cause whiplash, whereas side impact collisions are likely to cause shoulder injuries.
A few examples of accidents include:
- Oncoming Traffic/Head-On Collisions
- High-Speed Collisions
- Side Impact Collisions
- Rear-End Collisions
- Rollover Accidents
- Accidents Involving Motorcycles
- Accidents Involving Tractor Trailers
Your attorney will be able to determine the type of wreck you were in based on the police report, your account of what happened, and any eyewitnesses who come forward.
Common Causes of Car Collisions
There are many factors at play in a typical car accident, but one commonality is negligence. Drivers often fail to truly consider the gravity of their actions. What might seem like a simple glance at a text message could be a death sentence for another motorist.
Here are some of the most common examples of negligent driving behavior that can lead to serious or even fatal car accidents:
- Reckless and Aggressive Driving
- Drowsy Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Cell Phone Use
You may need help examining all of the evidence to prove negligence in your car accident case.
At Thomas Law Offices, we know what it takes to help car accident victims recover the compensation they need in a personal injury claim, even if they are unsure how the accident happened.
Vehicles that are in poor condition or have defective parts can also cause an accident. A Columbia car accident attorney can help you check whether there have been any consumer complaints against the other driver’s make and model of vehicle.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are notorious for pushing victims to settle car accident claims as quickly as possible. This might seem like the answer to all your problems, but what the insurance adjuster won’t tell you is that they’re offering you far less than you deserve.
Columbia, MO car accident lawyers at a reputable law firm will tell you to never rush insurance claims. Car accident injuries are not something that can be easily rectified with a small settlement.
It may take more time to fully hold the negligent driver responsible for your injuries, but victims who hire experienced car accident attorneys will benefit in the long run.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
Is filing an auto accident lawsuit in your best interest? Columbia, MO car accident lawyers will advise their injured clients that there are two basic requirements to proving fault:
- That you sustained serious injuries in an accident.
- That the accident was directly or indirectly caused by the fault of another’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness.
If your case is successful, you may be financially compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of earning capacity. Your Columbia car accident attorney will fight for a settlement that accurately reflects the damages you incurred.
The Car Accident Lawyers at Thomas Law Offices Can Help
No one should have to pay for an accident that wasn’t their fault. With the right Columbia, MO car accident lawyer on your side, you can seek compensation that supports your recovery and removes unfair financial burdens by filing a lawsuit against the negligent driver.
Do not delay—personal injury cases have a statute of limitations. In Missouri, you have only five years to come forward with your claim. Your legal representation will help you move forward without worrying about deadlines or a dismissal of your case because you waited too long.
The experienced car accident lawyers at Thomas Law Offices have dedicated their careers to fighting for injured individuals in Columbia, MO, and we will advocate for you until you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.