St. Louis Car Accident Attorney
There is no telling the extent of injury one may suffer when involved in a St. Louis car accident.
While one person could walk away unharmed, another may be afflicted with something as serious as a head injury. More than 3 million people across the nation are injured every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the injuries they suffer are as varied as the circumstances surrounding each accident. Here are a few of the common injuries that result from car accidents.
The most common of car accident injuries is whiplash. Whiplash is a result of the head being thrust rapidly during a collision. This type of injury can occur with or without seatbelt use and affects the soft tissue inside of the neck. Severity of this type of injury can also vary, with recovery time ranging from 2 months to permanent disability. What makes whiplash unique is that its prevalence is in low speed accidents, such as a rear end collision at a stop sign. Despite the low speed, the accident victim can still suffer from an acute case of the ailment.
Back pain can be a symptom of whiplash, or it can be an injury on its own. The impact felt from a car accident is often absorbed by the back. It is also susceptible to muscle damage from the sudden force the same way in which the neck is, causing mid and lower back pain that could take months to heal. There is also the spine to consider, which can be damaged as a result of the impact.
Head Injury and Brain Trauma
Like the circumstances of a car accident, the extent of injury to the head and brain can range from minor concussions to irreversible brain trauma. This again is caused by the head being jerked rapidly in an unnatural movement. Not only will this cause strain to the neck and back, it could cause bleeding inside of the brain. A closed head injury causes damage to the fluid and tissue inside of the skull. Minor trauma could result in a concussion while acute injury could lead to permanent brain damage.
Other head injuries can be the result of the head impacting with a solid object such as the windshield or side window. This could cause scratches and deep lacerations.
With neck, back and head injury from a car accident the victim could recover in just a few weeks, or they could be left permanently disabled. In some instances, the symptoms may subside, only to return years later. This is seen predominantly in back injury, where the area has become ultra sensitive to further injury.
Protect Your Future
If you are the victim of another driver’s negligence, and are now suffering from one or more of the listed afflictions, you are going to need an attorney to ensure your future. When fighting for your right to compensation, they are going to take into account the possibility of future medical care and provide the proof needed to ensure that your settlement reflects that.
Don’t take any chances when it comes to an injury caused by a car accident. Even a seemingly slight one can easily manifest into something far worse. Once you have begun your treatment plan get in touch with a St. Louis car accident attorney who will help ensure your access to future medical care.
Common Causes of St. Louis Car Accidents
Experienced car accident attorneys understand the laws that govern legal responsibility.
Every ten seconds someone is involved in a car accident. Accidents can be caused by a number of reasons including distraction, carelessness, negligence, obstructions in the road, and problems with roadways.
One common cause of car accidents is reckless driving. Intentional, reckless conduct can cause a serious accident. Recklessness includes driving unsafely with disregard for the probability that it may cause an accident. The National Highway Safety Administration includes speeding, excessive or improper lane changing, failing to signal or determine whether an action can safely be taken, improper passing, using an emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder constitutes reckless or aggressive driving. Reckless drivers can be held liable for any accidents they may cause.
Around every 50 minutes, someone in the United States dies in an alcohol-related accident. Drunk driving is a major cause of accidents and has the potential for devastating consequences. According to the Nation Highway Traffic Safety Administration drunk-driving crashes claim more than 10,000 lives each year. A drunk driver can generally be held liable for any injuries to the other party caused by the accident.
Accidents can also be caused by factors that are unrelated to a drivers’ conduct. Defects in the automobile itself, roadways that are poorly maintained, or other factors will also commonly cause car accidents or result in more serious injuries than they would be had that contributing factor not been present.
Additionally, roadway construction, roads that are designed improperly, or roads that are not maintained well, traffic signals that malfunction, poor lighting, signage are all factors that can contribute to causing an accident.
After a St. Louis car accident, it’s a good idea to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine what compensation you are entitled to. Experienced car accident attorneys understand the laws that govern legal responsibility and advise you how to proceed and get full and fair compensation.
What to Do After a St. Louis, MO Car Accident
In making an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, documentation is key. There are plenty of things that you should do after a car accident to protect your case. But you can take some fundamental steps after a car accident to help document the accident and support your lawsuit or insurance claim.
Check for Injuries
The first thing you should generally do after a car accident is to make sure you and any passengers are okay. If anyone is injured, call for medical assistance.
Move to a Safe Location
If you can do so, and it is safe to do so, you should generally move your vehicle to the side of the road to prevent further accidents. If your vehicle is not operable or the accident is more serious, turn on your hazard lights.
Call the Police
Even if the accident seems minor, it is a good idea to call the police. They can help sort of the details of the car accident and create an official police report.
If you are able to do so, it is a good idea to get the names, contact information, and insurance information of those involved in the accident. You should also make a note of the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicles involved in the accident.
Take Notes & Pictures (If Possible)
As soon as possible after an accident, you should begin taking notes. Taking notes is one of the most important things you can do following an auto accident, even if you think you have a great memory. Accidents can be traumatic, and these adrenaline-filled moments can be difficult to recall later. Making a note of the things you notice can make the claim process much easier later on. Doing whatever you can to make sure you get the full compensation you deserve is important, and to increase your chances, you must have great documentation to support your case.
When you take notes about the accident, you should focus some of your attention on the accident itself, your injuries, the financial losses you experienced resulting from the accident, and conversations you have with people about the accident. Include pictures with your notes if you can. Pictures of the accident scene and of your injuries can serve as powerful evidence.
So, take notes about how and when the accident occurred and all of the details you remember. Memory is not always reliable, so make detailed notes as soon as possible. Answer the basic questions of what, where, when, how, and who you were with. Include as much detail as you can remember. Write down what you were doing, where you were going, if you were with anyone else, what you were thinking, seeing, feeling, what the weather was like, the time of day, etc. The idea is to be as detailed as possible even if you think the details are unimportant. Small details that you may think are unimportant could actually be beneficial to your case. If there were any witnesses around or other people involved in the accident, you or your attorney may speak with them and record their thoughts and memories about the accident.
Document Your Injuries
Take notes about your injuries in addition to your notes about the accident. The effects of the accident, your injuries, and your symptoms are important to document. You have medical bills and doctor’s notes to support your case, but it is crucial to include details about your injuries’ effect on your life. Describe the impact that the injuries have on your life and the symptoms you experience. Are you losing sleep? Feeling anxious? Experiencing pain, anxiety, or suffering? Does your injury have an impact on how you interact with your family or your daily life?
Speak With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a St. Louis auto accident, the other driver’s insurance company will likely be contacting you soon. While the insurance adjuster may sound friendly, it is important to understand that they do not have your best interests in mind and are instead working on behalf of the insurance company. Their objective is generally to settle your claim as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of money the insurance company will have to pay you.
It is vital that you remain calm and collected after a car accident. As overwhelming as a car accident can be, it is important to follow the proper steps to ensure that everyone involved is safe, the situation is handled correctly, and your legal rights are protected.
Before you speak with an insurance adjuster, contact The Hoffmann Law Firm LLC ASAP to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. Our personal injury practice focuses on helping victims of auto accidents in St. Louis, Missouri, and the surrounding area. We understand the tactics insurance companies use to minimize your claim and can help you avoid making common mistakes, including settling for less than you are entitled to. We can evaluate your case for FREE and help you determine what steps to take to protect your legal right to compensation after a car accident.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I Really Need With Speak a Car Accident Lawyer?
If you are involved in a car accident and are considering whether or not to speak with a car accident attorney, here is what you should consider. While it might seem like a car accident lawyer is just someone you have to share your compensation with, the truth is that if you don’t work with an attorney, it could end up costing you a whole lot more.
Car accident attorneys generally work on a contingency fee, which means that they don’t get paid unless they can get you compensation. If you collect compensation for your damages and injuries, your attorney will generally be paid a percentage of your settlement amount.
Is It Really a Good Idea to Involve an Attorney?
Many car injury lawsuits never make it to a courtroom. Most can be settled during something called the negotiation phase. This is when the car insurance company contracted by the at-fault driver will offer an injured person compensation for their injuries. It might be alluring to think that you can get all you are entitled to and not want to share any of that compensation with an attorney. However, you could lose out if you don’t have someone on your side fighting to get you the full amount you deserve and will need to cover present and future expenses.
How Do You Know What Is Fair Settlement?
When you are in an accident, you are entitled to both economic and non-economic damages. If you don’t know what those damages are or how to calculate them, there is no way to know if you are getting all that you deserve. In general, people who hire a lawyer to negotiate a settlement end up getting far more than they would have if they negotiated independently.
An experienced lawyer will know how to calculate what your accident is worth by adding current damages and any future anticipated costs.
Once you accept a settlement offer and sign on the dotted line, you generally absolve the insurance company from any further liability. If something comes up down the road that you didn’t anticipate, you will generally be out of options if you take a settlement without thinking ahead.
The First Offer Is Generally Not the Best
A little-hidden secret is that the first settlement offer usually isn’t the most that an insurance company has to offer. It is a starting point. Even if you understand this, it will be tough to ensure that you are getting the full amount you are entitled to. A qualified attorney will have the experience necessary to ensure you are not settling for less than you are entitled to.
As we’ve discussed, car accident lawyers generally work for a contingency fee. If a car accident can be resolved in the negotiation phase, then the cost will be minimal, and you will ensure that you aren’t leaving money on the table. On the other hand, an experienced attorney will understand when settling is not in your best interests. Either, when you work with an experienced attorney, you can rest and focus on your physical recovery, knowing that your legal rights are being protected.