If you’ve been involved in a car accident, the last thing you want to think about is if there will be any financial repercussions for the accident or any injuries you’ve sustained. Financial devastation is always a risk in serious accidents, especially if the other involved party was uninsured, driving recklessly, or threatened to file charges. If any of these are true, you’ll want to protect yourself, your rights, and your loved ones with the help of a Columbia, MO car accident lawyer.
During the aftermath following the accident, you’ll most likely feel overwhelmed with everything that needs to be taken care of. Whatever happens, immediately after the accident occurs, make sure to prioritize the health and safety of yourself and everyone around you. Call 911 right away and make sure the help you need is on its way.
After that, you’ll want to do the following when it’s safe to do so—and only when it’s safe to do so:
- Obtain contact information from the other driver. Don’t speak to them regarding who’s at fault for the accident. Don’t mention blame at all. Let the police report do the speaking.
- Take pictures of the accident scene as well as of any skid marks or debris that may have caused the accident, the other driver’s license plate, your damaged vehicle, and your injuries. As your injuries heal, you’ll additionally want to follow up with more photos.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses. If anyone saw the accident occur, ask them if they’d be willing to speak on your behalf and get their contact info so you can contact them later if need be.
- Keep records of absolutely everything including the police report, your medical records, and all treatment plan outlines, doctor’s notes, prescription records, and records of any time you spent off work.
- Contact your auto insurance agency, but avoid speaking to any adjusters from the other driver’s insurance company. They may try and force you to sign off on the claim before you’re ready.
- Contact a Columbia, MO car accident lawyer. If you feel the case may be difficult to settle or that the insurance claims are unfair, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. Doing so may prevent unwanted phone calls from the other driver’s insurance agency, etc., and can give you peace of mind.
Facts About Missouri Car Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration collects traffic safety performance for each state. Here are the outcomes for Missouri in 2017.
- There were 930 traffic fatalities.
- 666 fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants.
- 346 fatalities were speeding-related.
- 1,321 drivers were involved in fatal crashes.
While these numbers keep track of the fatalities, you also should be thinking about the severe injuries that can occur in these car wrecks. Let’s take a look at what can happen if you’re involved in an accident.
Consequences of Serious Auto Collisions
Your car accident lawyer knows how auto wrecks can result in debilitating injuries. Here are a few examples of what we’ve seen:
- Brain Trauma
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Skeletal Injuries
- Nervous System Damage
- Back Injuries
Some of these injuries are referred to as catastrophic injuries—they cause permanent damage and can possibly affect your ability to remain gainfully employed. When people are in this incredibly difficult situation, they have to work on recovering as much as they can while simultaneously adjusting to their new way of life. It’s too much for a person to deal with that and also worry about bills that they owe and constant phone calls from insurance adjusters. Their goal is to get you to settle quickly—usually because this means the matter is handled.
While this may seem like a tempting option because you can put the accident behind you, the settlement amount they offer is often not the full compensation you’re rightfully owed. They make money when you don’t stand up for yourself. It may take more time, but hiring a personal injury lawyer will benefit you in the long run.
While a catastrophic injury can turn one’s life upside down, we understand how to assess the accident, determine liability, and show how the injuries you sustained were the fault of someone else. Because these injuries can take a long time to heal, you’ll need compensation that will help you afford medical bills while also maintaining your everyday life. Your car accident attorney will fight for you to get you a settlement that accurately reflects the trauma you experienced and the damages you incurred.
Types of Car Wrecks
When your auto accident attorney in Missouri begins the investigation, they’ll look into what kind of accident you were involved in. It’s vital to get all the facts so they can understand exactly what happened. Often, the kind of accident can relate to specific injuries. For example, rear-ending is a common collision that can easily result in whiplash.
A few examples of accidents include:
- Head-On Collision
- High-Speed Collision
- Side Impact Collision
- Roll Over Accidents
- Accidents Involving Motorcycles
- Accidents Involving Tractor Trailers
It’s okay if these don’t sound familiar to you. Your attorney will be able to determine the type of wreck you were in based on police report, your account of what happened, and any eyewitnesses who come forward.
Common Causes of Car Collisions
The next part is figuring out how the accident happened. There are many factors that can be the reason why someone was in a car wreck, but the one commonality they all share is negligence. Take a look at some of the main reasons collisions occur.
- Reckless and Aggressive Driving
- Road Rage
- Drowsy Driving
- Distracted Driving
- Cell Phone Use
All these reasons are someone making a reckless driving decision. They are knowingly putting the safety of themselves and others aside in favor of using their cell phone, speeding, or cutting someone off. It doesn’t matter if the driver had malicious intent or not. They are responsible for their actions and if their carelessness caused your injuries, then that’s their fault and they need to be held accountable.
Your injury lawyer will discover how the guilty party was negligent and connect their actions to your injuries. The costs of the accident shouldn’t be your problem to handle because you did nothing wrong. We’ll clearly present your case and show how you were the victim of this incident and deserve fair compensation.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit
It can be difficult to know if filing an auto accident lawsuit is in your best interest. What you need to know is that auto accident lawsuits, like all types of personal injury lawsuits, rarely hold up in Missouri court until two things are proven:
- That you or someone you love sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident.
- That the accident was directly or indirectly caused by the fault of another’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. It will then be up to your attorney to argue on your behalf and prove that the other driver was at fault.
Personal injury lawsuits provide a way for U.S. citizens to have a voice against injustices that are committed. Lawsuits are entirely separate from criminal charges. When a life is lost in a tragic accident caused by reckless driving, carelessness, or negligence, a loved one is then able to open a wrongful death lawsuit on their family member’s or spouse’s behalf.
If your case is successful, you may be financially compensated for past, current, and future medical expenses, lost wages, and miscellaneous financial hardships such as pain, suffering, emotional distress, and reduction or loss of earning capacity.
Getting the Help You Need from Thomas Law Offices
Car collision injuries caused by another person’s careless driving can result in a painfully slow recovery. By filing a lawsuit against the guilty party, you can recover from your injuries quicker and not place your loved ones in financial jeopardy if you’re forced to take an extended leave from work. With the right Columbia, MO car accident lawyer on your side, you can rest easier and focus on getting your life back in order.
You will want to get started on your case as soon as possible as personal injury cases have a statute of limitations. In Missouri, you have five years to come forward with your claim. This is a bit longer compared to other states, but when you start sooner, there’s a greater chance of recovering physical evidence. You’ll move forward without worrying about deadlines or a dismissal of your case because you waited too long.
A Columbia, MO personal injury lawyer from Thomas Laws Offices has experience fighting for injured individuals throughout the entire state of Missouri. The insurance companies know we will fight hard for the compensation our clients deserve, and we will fight for you until you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office to learn more.