Do I Have a Car Accident Claim?
By Chris Dixon
Every year, more than 32,000 people are killed in car accidents and 2 million others are injured. Car accidents happen out of nowhere and leave those involved scrambling, wondering, “Do I have a car accident claim?” There are thousands of car accident claims opened every week, and though some of these will win, others won’t. For a car accident claim to win, it is essential to stay informed of your rights, document the scene of the accident, and find a St. Louis personal injury attorney that you trust to take care of your car accident claim.
In order to successfully win a car accident claim, it is important to take the following steps to make sure that your case is solid. Settlements vary from case to case, and car accident laws differ from state to state. It important to be aware and informed so that your car accident claim will have a better chance of winning.
Car Accident Claims Process
Legal Duty. Drivers have a legal responsibility to follow and obey the rules of the road, including but not limited to obeying speed limits, road signs, traffic signals, using proper signals when turning and staying alert while driving. In a car accident claim, it needs to be proven that the negligent driver in the accident had a legal duty to follow a traffic rule, but broke it. For example, “Billy was going 70 mph in a 50 mph speed zone when his vehicle rear-ended Josephine.” Billy was legally supposed to follow the speed limit, but failed to do so and was in a speeding accident
Breach. Once it has been determined that a driver ignored their legal duty, the prosecutor will prove how this was breached. Referring back to the example of legal duty above, Billy didn’t follow the speed limit.
Causation. After proving a breach of legal duty, it will be determined whether or not the negligent driver did indeed breach their legal duty, thus causing the accident.
At-Fault. Car accident laws vary from state to state, but in Missouri it must be proven that it is “more likely than not” that the negligent driver caused the car accident. Once someone is determined to be at-fault, damages and recoveries will be awarded to the injured party.
An important tip to keep in mind when handling your car accident claim is to stay aware of your rights, and know your case’s worth. Most insurance companies will try and get you to settle for a lower amount than your case deserves. After a car accident, victims are not in their right state-of-mind and will irrationally take whatever quote the insurance company gives them. This is a big mistake, as your car accident claim could successfully win much more in compensation with the right lawyer. An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to negotiate with the negligent driver’s insurance company, and win the most for your car accident claim. Keeping that in mind, there are some steps to take immediately following a car accident that can help you and your lawyer win your car accident claim.
Gathering information from the scene of the accident is possibly one of the most common steps that is overlooked by drivers. Not properly documenting the scene of the car accident can negatively impact the amount that you’ll receive for your car accident claim. Following an accident, it is important to gather evidence such as photos of any damage done to vehicles involved in the accident, documentation of road marks (skid marks, tire tracks, debris), documentation of any immediate injuries sustained in the accident, and lastly, it is a must to swap contact information with the negligent driver and any witnesses to the accident.
Seek Medical Attention
Though you might not want to go to the doctor following a car accident, this step can help you receive the most in damages for your car accident injuries. Medical reports are permanent, and can aid in proving “causation” of the accident by the negligent driver. A medical professional will examine you for any internal or external injuries, and determine if injuries are minor, or serious and permanent. In some cases, those injured will be deemed as unfit to work due to their injuries, and an examination by a medical professional can help them in receiving the most in compensation for their injuries.
Contact a Lawyer
While this might seem obvious, contacting a lawyer to handle your car accident case is vital. It can easily be overlooked when dealing with the chaotic aftermath of a car accident, but it is perhaps the most important step. A good lawyer can help you win the most in compensation for your injuries (including, but not limited to: medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc). It is in the best interest of those injured in a car accident to contact a trusted, local lawyer as soon as possible so that they can successfully fight for your car accident case.
Still Wondering if You Have a Car Accident Claim?
If you are still wondering if you have a car accident claim, the best way to ensure this is to immediately document the scene of the accident, seek medical attention for your injuries, and find a personal injury attorney that you trust to handle your case. Even if you think that you can’t afford an attorney, most operate on a contingency plan so that you won’t have to pay a dime until when and if they successfully win damages for your case. For more information on how a personal injury lawyer can help you win your car accident claim, feel free to contact the Dixon Injury Firm and speak to one of our attorneys.