A car crash can change your life in an instant. While many car crashes result in few or no injuries, serious accidents can leave you with severe injuries that may impact not only your quality of life but your wallet as well. Even a minor fender-bender can end up costing a great deal in repair costs, medical expenses, and cause injuries, resulting in lingering pain and suffering.
Car wrecks are also rarely blameless, as typically one or more drivers involved were negligent by driving carelessly. In rare cases, a car mechanic or manufacturer could be found negligent for not replacing or recalling a defective auto part.
Either way, you may wish to seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against the at-fault individual. However, these lawsuits, as well as the process for filing them, can be complicated without a personal injury attorney to guide you through them. If you are hurt in a car crash, you may benefit from speaking to a St. Louis car accident lawyer who could help you with your legal case.
Insurance Issues in Car Crash Cases
Auto insurance is going to play a role in almost any car accident case. St. Louis operates under a tort—or fault—system when it comes to car wrecks. This means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver would be responsible for paying accident benefits to any injured individuals.
Unfortunately, insurance companies can be incredibly difficult to deal with. While their job is to provide benefits to those injured, too often their main focus is on preserving their own profits by preventing those same benefits from being paid out to those injured by the negligent conduct of their insureds. As a result, insurance companies often deny claims or offer a settlement that is not enough to cover the cost of injuries.
Missouri minimum insurance requirements may also not fully cover the cost of damages or injuries. Missouri drivers are only required to carry $25,000 per person for bodily injuries and $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries when more than one person is injured. This is often not enough to cover the high expense of medical bills or the pain and suffering damages.
When insurance benefits do not cover the cost of injuries, or when the insurance company is trying to avoid paying fair compensation for an injured party, a car accident lawyer in St. Louis could be a great help. An attorney could speak to the insurance company on your behalf and help you file a lawsuit when the minimum insurance requirements do not provide the needed benefits. Other options for recovery may include the at-fault driver’s personal assets or, more commonly, uninsured or underinsured coverage on the injured party’s insurance.
Compensation and Comparative Fault
The damages in a car wreck can add up very quickly. Costs can include actual expenses such as medical expenses, loss of income when injuries are so bad you cannot work, vehicle repairs, and even expenses for a rental vehicle if you are able and still need to drive after the accident.
However, there may also be damages that do not have an objective dollar value, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. These damages can be claimed as compensation in a lawsuit as well, and unlike some other states, Missouri does not place caps—or limits—on the compensation available in a car crash case, allowing you and your St. Louis car accident attorney to pursue the full amount of compensation you may be eligible for.
That being said, if you were also partly to blame for your accident, that compensation may be reduced according to the concept of comparative fault. Comparative fault means that when more than one person is to blame for the crash, both parties may be entitled to compensation regardless of how much they were at fault. This could reduce the amount of compensation the plaintiff in a civil suit ultimately receives.
Contact a St. Louis Car Accident Attorney Today
Car crash victims can claim compensation when they are seriously injured, but doing so is rarely easy. You may need to talk with a St. Louis car accident lawyer to ensure the other party does not try to lay blame on you and reduce the overall amount of compensation you receive.
A qualified attorney can work with the insurance company on your behalf, help you file a lawsuit, and work to recover the full amount of compensation to which you may be entitled to. To learn what a lawyer could do for you, call today to set up a consultation.