Auto accidents happen to even the safest of drivers. One minute, you can be driving down the road, heading home from work or out running errands, and in the next, you could be involved in a potentially serious accident resulting in injuries that can be severe and life-threatening. There are countless causes of car accidents that you may not even be aware of.
At The Bruning Law Firm, our St. Louis lawyers have extensive experience in handling these types of cases, and we understand the impact they can have on every area of your life. Your injuries may require ongoing medical care and treatment while preventing you from working or even enjoying hobbies and social activities with those you love.
Prior to calling a lawyer, it is common to have questions and concerns about your situation. Although every case is different, the following are among the most frequently asked questions we hear from our Missouri clients.
What are the most common causes of Missouri car accidents?
Although road, traffic, and weather conditions can be contributing causes, most accidents occur as the result of reckless behaviors on the part of other drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, common causes of car accidents include:
- Speeding and driving too fast for conditions
- Disregarding stop signs and traffic signals
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating and failing to yield
- Distracted driving, such as using cell phones or texting
- Falling asleep behind the wheel, or driving while excessively fatigued
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medication
What should I do if I am involved in a Missouri car accident?
If you are in an auto accident involving injuries or property damages of more than $500, you should:
- Pull over immediately, being careful to avoid blocking traffic if possible.
- Notify local law enforcement or the Missouri Highway Patrol.
- Exchange information with other drivers, including contact information, driver’s license and vehicle registration identification, and insurance company names and policy numbers.
- Get medical attention for your injuries.
- Report the accident to your insurance company.
- File a motor vehicle accident report with the Missouri Department of Revenue Driver License Bureau.
- Contact our dedicated auto accident attorneys to discuss your legal rights.
What if I was not a driver, but only a passenger in the vehicle?
As a passenger, you are entitled to pursue compensation for injuries you suffer, either through the driver of the vehicle you were in or through other drivers involved in the accident.
Protect yourself by making sure that the police are notified and an accident report is filed, and make sure to get insurance and contact information for all those involved.
Should I still see a doctor, even if my car accident injuries are not serious?
Motor vehicle accidents often result in serious, potentially disabling, and even life-threatening injuries. Even minor collisions or fender benders can cause serious harm.
According to NHTSA accident surveys, the following are among the most common injuries that occur in auto accidents:
- Muscle and tendon sprains, strains, and tears
- Dislocated joints in shoulders, hips, pelvis, and knees
- Severe cuts and lacerations, including limb amputation
- Severe burns and abrasions
- Bruised or broken bones, particularly leg, pelvis, rib, and shoulder fractures
- Head injuries and concussions, with the potential for severe brain injuries
While some of these conditions may be obvious, others have symptoms that can take days or weeks to appear. Failing to report your injury and get the appropriate treatment after a car accident can result in worsening of your condition while putting your rights to compensation in jeopardy. Therefore, you should always get checked out by a doctor after an accident, just to be on the safe side.
What if I was partially at fault for the MO car accident?
In the past, Missouri operated under laws that barred injury claims if the victim was even partially responsible for the injury. However, these rules no longer apply. Instead, insurance companies can reduce the overall amount you are entitled to receive in a settlement based on how much you may have contributed to the accident. This is what’s known as a comparative fault.
As long as you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you may still receive compensation, but the amount you receive will be reduced by the percentage of which you are at fault.
For example, if your damages from an accident are estimated at $50,000, but it was determined that you were 40 percent at fault for the accident, this means that the compensation you would receive would be reduced by 40 percent, leaving you with $30,000.
This is why it is vitally important to avoid admitting any liability at the accident scene and to consult with an experienced lawyer before making statements to insurance company representatives.
Contact Us Today
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an auto accident, including shoulder fractures, shoulder dislocations, or muscle tears, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.
Call or contact our office online today to schedule a free consultation.