After getting hurt in a traumatic car accident, it’s easy to assume that the other person involved is the one responsible for causing the wreck. When it comes to being compensated for the injuries losses you’ve sustained, though, determining fault for a car accident in Missouri can be a complex process—especially if you’re not already familiar with how state law governs such situations.
At OnderLaw, we don’t just take on cases, we take on causes—and if you need help proving that someone else is to blame for seriously injuring you in a car crash, we’ll be there for you every step of the way. In the meantime, here’s a brief primer on how the law approaches civil fault for car accidents and what you may need to prove to get the compensation you deserve.
When is Someone Legally Negligent Under State Law?
Most of the time, legal fault for an accident resulting in a personal injury is based on the theory of negligence. Negligence is the idea that someone who hurts another person while failing to act in a reasonably safe way should be liable for the negative effects of that harm. There are four components to legal negligence as it’s currently defined in Missouri, all of which you’ll need to establish for your claim to move forward:
- The person you’re suing owed you a “duty of care,” which required them to act lawfully and responsibly;
- That person breached their duty by doing something specifically illegal, reckless, or careless;
- That breach of duty was the main cause of an accident which—without that breach—likely wouldn’t have happened at all; and
- That accident was the direct cause of at least one injury bad enough to need professional medical care, as well as all the other losses.
In practice, proving negligence as a means of establishing fault for a Missouri car accident means proving that another driver broke the law or was not paying proper attention to the road right before the wreck happened, and that the wreck directly led to your injuries.
Strict Liability for Auto Accidents
When a car crash stems mainly from a mechanical malfunction, the manufacturer of the faulty part or parts may be “strictly liable” for damages resulting from the collision. This kind of claim involves a slightly different set of rules, which are established under product liability law as opposed to traditional personal injury law. Our knowledgeable attorneys can explain in more detail, if needed.
The Possible Impact of Comparative Fault
Even if you can prove someone else’s negligence was responsible for your Missouri car accident, you may still miss out on financial compensation if that person accuses you of being partially responsible. A court that agrees an injured person has some responsibility for causing their own injuries can reduce that person’s total damages award. This reduction is made in proportion to their share of total fault for the accident. This is another potential roadblock to recovery, but our legal team at OnderLaw knows how to combat these types of allegations.
Allow our dedicated lawyers to help you pursue the comprehensive compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call today to schedule a free consultation and get started on your claim.