A car accident, no matter how big or small, is a stressful and traumatic event. Not only that you have to think about medical procedures and bills and lost workdays, but the legal aspects can be quite a hassle too.
In many cases, car accidents are caused by a chain of events that often involve two or more drivers. So it’s not always easy to establish who is at fault and how will that affect the settlement.
Fault in a car accident will be treated differently in every state. While some states take into consideration both parties at fault, others won’t even give you a chance of settlement if you had any implication in causing the accident.
Because the facts aren’t always clear, going into this fight alone is not the best idea. You will benefit greatly from someone who understands the law, the type of evidence that could make a difference, and the tricks insurance companies use to pay a lower settlement. That’s why you should speak with a St. Louis auto accident attorney and build a strong case.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Missouri follows the pure comparative negligence doctrine. This means that the court will establish the level of guilt each party shares and will adjust the settlement according to that.
For example, a settlement of $100,000 will be reduced to:
$90,000 if you are found to be 10% at fault
$50,000 if you are found to be 50% at fault
Establishing the Proportion in Which You Are at Fault
Both your lawyer and the insurance company will gather information during the car accident’s discovery phase. This knowledge will be the base of the future settlement. The insurance adjuster will use everything they can find to make it seem like you play a role in the accident and minimize the amount they have to pay.
Evidence like medical reports, police reports, witness accounts, car technical reports, and other documents will be gathered, classified and evaluated by the court. The insurance company will issue an initial at-fault report, which you can appeal if you believe your percentage of fault is exaggerated.
Why Speak With an Attorney
Sharing the fault with the other driver will make your case more complicated, so hiring a St. Louis car accident lawyer is the best option you have.
The amount from which a proportional amount will be calculated is based on the damages you suffer. That will include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and other losses. This calculation is complex and it cannot necessarily be predicted through an equation, so it’s very important to have a car accident lawyer by your side who can assess your case correctly and take the necessary actions to maximize your settlement.
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