St. Louis Missouri Personal Injury Attorney Teaches Car Accident Law
St. Louis has its share of car accidents each day. In a city as large and busy as St. Louis, traffic accidents are expected to happen. However, when you are one of the individuals involved in a car accident, the event does not seem so common or expected. Our St. Louis car accident attorney Jim Thompson discusses some of the issues that you may face after a car crash and provides information you can use to protect your rights. We encourage you to call (816) 471-3414 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys if you have been hurt in a car crash.
In this article we discuss:
- What Are The Common Causes And Types Of Car Accidents In St. Louis?
- What Are The Common Injuries Sustained In A Car Accident?
- How Do I Calculate The Value Of My Car Accident Claim?
- Is There A Deadline For Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit In St. Louis?
- Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Insurance Claim For A Car Crash
- How Can Our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
What Are The Common Causes And Types Of Car Accidents In St. Louis?
Car accidents in St. Louis occur for a variety of reasons. Many car accidents are caused by driver negligence. However, other factors might contribute to the cause of the crash. Common reasons for traffic accidents throughout St. Louis include:
- Driver Negligence, including distracted driving, speeding, road rage, reckless driving, drunk driving, tailgating, drowsy driving, and drugged driving
- Hazardous Road Conditions, including road debris, defectively designed roads, construction zones, and improperly maintained roads
- Poor Weather Conditions
- Defective Vehicles or Parts
- Inexperienced Drivers, such as teen drivers or truck drivers
There are also many different types of car accidents. Some car crashes may increase the risk of severe injuries. However, any car crash can result in traumatic injuries. Even low-speed car accidents can cause whiplash and other soft tissue issues that may result in long-term impairments and chronic pain.
Common types of car accidents our St. Louis car accident attorney Jim Thompson handles include:
- Head-On Collisions — often caused by swerving into another lane, failing to yield the right of way, improper signage or warnings, and other factors
- Rear-End Accidents, often caused by tailgating, distracted driving, and other causes
- Rollover Accidents, which are common with top-heavy vehicles such as large trucks, buses, and SUVs
- T-Bone or Side-Impact Crashes, often caused by distracted driving and failing to yield the right of way
- Sideswipe Accidents, which occur when two vehicles swipe each other on the side of the vehicle.
- Single Car Accidents, including crashes involving stationary objects and running out of the road
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents, which often occur on interstates, highways, and other heavily traveled roads
Automobile accidents occur because of a variety of factors and in many different situations. Regardless of the cause of the crash or the type of crash, our St. Louis car accident attorneys encourage you to contact our office at (816) 471-3414 for a free consultation with a lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation from the other driver or another party for the injuries and damages sustained because of the crash.
What Are The Common Injuries Sustained In A Car Accident?
Some injuries sustained in a car crash heal within a few weeks with no permanent impairment for the victim. However, some car accident victims suffer severe injuries that result in chronic pain and permanent disability. It is important to remember that an injury that appears to be minor could become much worse without medical care.
Therefore, it is typically best to see your doctor as soon as possible after a car crash for an examination. The minor aches and pains you assume will subside in a few days could be symptoms of a much more severe injury. The only way to determine the full extent of your physical injuries after a car crash is to consult a medical provider.
Some of the common injuries sustained in St. Louis car accidents include:
- Fractures and broken bones
- Head and brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), Second Impact Syndrome, and concussions
- Internal bleeding and damage to internal organs
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Severe burns, scarring, and disfigurement
- Neck and shoulder injuries, including whiplash
- Back injuries
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Seat Belt Syndrome
Accident victims should keep in mind that a minor injury could develop into a serious or life-threatening condition. For instance, a broken bone that is not set correctly or heals correctly may result in a crippling condition. Cuts and abrasions that become infected could result in sepsis if not treated correctly. A second head injury following a concussion may result in Second Impact Syndrome, which is often life-threatening.
The type and severity of your injury have a direct impact on the value of your car accident claim. However, our St. Louis car accident attorney Jim Thompson advises against settling your injury claim until after you have completed medical treatment.
You should only settle a car accident claim after your physician has stated that you have reached Maximum Medical Improvement and has assigned an impairment rating. Settling a car accident claim too early could result in receiving much less for your accident claim than your claim is worth. Call (816) 471-3414 to discuss if your claim is ready to settle.
How Do I Calculate The Value Of My Car Accident Claim?
Calculating the value of your car accident claim may be difficult depending on the facts and circumstances in your case. Most accident victims are entitled to financial damages and non-economic damages. The compensation for each category of damages is calculated differently.
- Financial or Economic Damages
Financial damages represent that actual out-of-pocket financial losses related to the accident, your injury, and your recovery. Common financial damages included in a St. Louis car accident claim include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Property damage
- Travel expenses
- Physical therapy and other types of therapy
- Medications and medical equipment
In most cases, a receipt or statement is used to determine the value of each item included as a financial damage. However, you may also be entitled to future damages for ongoing medical care, personal care, or loss of income. In these cases, you must provide evidence that supports your claim for future damages.
For instance, how much is your medical and personal care expected to cost throughout your lifetime if you are paralyzed, lose partial sight in one eye, lose a limb, or sustain another permanent impairment? An experienced St. Louis car accident attorney understands how to calculate future damages to maximize the amount you may receive for your claim. Maximizing damages is important, especially if you will face a lifetime of ongoing costs related to your care and/or you are unable to work because of your injury.
- Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages or “pain & suffering” damages related to the physical, mental, and emotional suffering caused by the crash. Pain and suffering damages may also include compensation for disability, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of quality of life.
Non-economic damages can be very difficult to calculate. Missouri personal injury laws do not provide a standard formula for calculating pain and suffering damages. Each person experiences an injury differently. Two individuals may sustain a broken leg, but long-term consequences may be different for each person. Even if both injuries heal completely, one person may suffer more pain depending on other factors. Therefore, non-economic damages are calculated on a case-by-case basis.
An experienced car accident attorney in St. Louis understands the factors he can use to maximize compensation for pain and suffering damages. Some of the factors an attorney may use when calculating the value of non-economic damages include:
- The type of injury;
- The severity of the injury;
- The length of the victim’s recovery period;
- Whether the victim sustained permanent disability or impairment;
- How the injury impacted the person’s daily life, including physical tasks and relationships with family and friends; and,
- The financial damages in the case.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, calculating the value of your claim is an important step in the claims process. Our St. Louis car accident attorney calculates the value of your claim and builds a strong case for full compensation of all damages. To discuss the value of your claim during a free consultation, call (816) 471-3414 now.
Is There A Deadline For Filing A Car Accident Lawsuit In St. Louis?
Each state enacts a Statute of Limitations that places deadlines on how long a victim has after a car accident to file a lawsuit. The deadline for filing a car accident lawsuit varies by state. In Missouri, most accident victims have five years from the date of the car accident to file a lawsuit. Many states only allow a year or two for filing car accident lawsuits.
There are several reasons why Missouri lawmakers give accident victims up to five years to file a car accident lawsuit. Some of those reasons include:
- Realize the full extent of the victim’s injuries
- Accident victims may be unaware of the claims process
- Time to consider options for recovering compensation for damages
- Investigate the cause of the crash
- Identify potential parties that may be liable for damages
- Gather evidence proving fault and liability
- Negotiate a settlement with the insurance provider before deciding to file a car accident lawsuit
Even though you may have five years from the date of the crash to file a car accident lawsuit, it is typically best to consult with a car accident attorney in St. Louis as soon as possible after the crash. Your lawyer can provide the support, guidance, and legal advice you need to avoid some of the mistakes that could hurt your insurance claim.
Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Insurance Claim For A Car Crash
Being in a car accident can be overwhelming. From the moments after the crash to the weeks following the accident, a victim has to deal with a variety of challenges. It can be difficult to remember everything that you should do after a car accident to protect your legal rights, especially if you have never been involved in a car wreck before now.
Our St. Louis car accident attorney Jim Thompson discusses some of the mistakes that an accident victim could make that might hurt their chance of recovering full compensation for all injuries and damages.
- Failing To Document The Accident Scene
If possible, it is a good idea to take photographs and videos of the accident scene. If the other party denies fault for the accident, pictures and videos can help recreate the crash to determine fault. Whenever possible, take pictures and make videos of the vehicles before they are moved, the damage to the vehicles, and the surrounding area. Also, if anyone witnessed the collision, try to get that person’s name and telephone number. Eyewitness testimony can be very helpful in proving fault.
- Admitting Fault or Saying “I’m Sorry”
You may assume you are at fault or partially at fault for the crash. However, until all evidence is reviewed, you cannot be sure. You should never admit fault at an accident scene. Even saying “I’m sorry” could hurt your case because this statement may be construed as admitting fault. Missouri’s pure comparative fault laws allow a jury to reduce your compensation by the percentage of fault for the crash that is assigned to you. You do not want to give an insurance company any reason to try to use this law to pay less for your claim than you deserve.
- Failing to Seek Medical Attention
A delay in medical treatment could be used by the insurance company to allege that you were not injured in the accident or your injuries are not as severe as you claim. It is always best to see a doctor as soon as possible after an auto accident to protect your health and your car accident claim.
- Providing a Written or Recorded Statement
The insurance adjuster may tell you that he cannot process your claim without a statement. Don’t fall for this insurance tactic. The adjuster wants to obtain a statement from you to gather information the insurance company can use against you to deny or undervalue your claim. You should discuss your case with a St. Louis car accident attorney before you supply a written or recorded statement to the insurance company. The same is true for signing a medical release or any other document for the insurance adjuster.
- Using Social Media
Many people use social media accounts to stay in contact with friends and family members. However, the information you post online may be obtained by the insurance company or a defense attorney, even if you believe this information is private. An innocent statement or photograph could be twisted so that a jury misinterprets it. It is best to avoid posting information online until you meet with a St. Louis personal injury lawyer to discuss your case.
- Failing to Document Losses
For each financial expense or loss related to the accident and your injuries, keep detailed records and receipts. Keeping receipts and records can increase the compensation you receive for your claim. In addition, make notes about your daily pain level, the struggles you face during your recovery, things you cannot do because of your injury, and how your injury impacts your relationships with friends and family. This information can help your attorney calculate the correct value for your pain and suffering damages.
- Failing to Contact a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney
An attorney can help you in many ways. We discuss several of those ways in the following section. For many accident victims, a lack of money is the reason they do not contact a St. Louis car accident attorney. They assume they cannot afford an attorney’s assistance.
Our law firm offers free consultations for accident victims. We also accept most injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Therefore, you do not need to worry about paying attorney’s fees until we recover money for your car accident claim. Don’t let your financial situation stop you from seeking the legal assistance you need after a car crash. Call (816) 471-3414 for more information.
How Can Our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
Our St. Louis car accident attorney Jim Thompson has extensive experience handling car accident cases. Some of the steps that we take to protect your right to receive compensation from the negligent party who caused your car accident includes:
- Investigate and document the accident scene
- File a notice of claim with the insurance company and handle all communications with the company on your behalf
- Obtain a copy of the police or accident report
- Identify the party or parties liable for the accident
- Gather evidence to prove fault and liability
- Identify all sources of potential compensation for your claim
- Gather and review medical records
- Discuss injuries and prognosis with your physicians
- Work with experts to prove fault and/or damages
- Prepare a demand package for the insurance company and negotiate a settlement with the insurance company
- File a car accident lawsuit, if necessary
The Lawyers of The Thompson Law Office Help You Receive the Compensation You Deserve After a Car Accident
For your free consultation with a St. Louis car accident attorney, please contact our office by calling (816) 471-3414 or by using the contact form on our website. We are here to help you as you recover from a car accident.
About St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis was founded in 1764 but was not incorporated until 1823. The city is named for Louis IX of France. St. Louis is one of the few independent cities in the United States, meaning that it is not located in a county. It operates as both a city and a county. Explore St. Louis has information on the city’s numerous entertainment venues, festivals, dining options, sports, museums, events, and attractions. There is something for everyone to do in St. Louis!