If you or someone you care about has suffered the emotional, physical, and financial impact of a serious car accident, you may be having a hard time figuring out what to do next. OnderLaw, LLC‘s St. Louis car accident attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way with your car accident insurance claim, or lawsuit.
At OnderLaw, LLC, we hold at-fault drivers and insurance companies accountable for your injuries while you focus on your recovery. Our knowledgeable and compassionate auto accident attorneys are here to get justice for you. Contact us now at (314) 963-9000 so we can go to work for you.
Table Of Contents
- Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer from OnderLaw, LLC?
- What to Do If You Have Been Injured in a St. Louis Car Accident
- What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?
- Compensation After a St. Louis Car Accident
- Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Most Common Types of Car Accidents
- Common Injuries Suffered From Car Accidents
- What Is the Cost of a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer?
- Missouri Car Accident Statistics
- Deadlines for Filing Car Accident Cases in St. Louis
- Accident Claims Process
- How to File a Lawsuit in St. Louis
- FAQs for Car Accident Cases
- Contact OnderLaw, LLC Today
Why Hire a Car Accident Lawyer from OnderLaw, LLC?
Dealing with the legal aspects of a car accident is virtually impossible if you have been directly affected by a life-changing injury or death. You need an experienced car accident lawyer to take the reins of the legal process.
Personal injury cases can be very complicated. Only a qualified car accident attorney can investigate, analyze, build a compelling case, negotiate a fair settlement with insurance companies, or take the case to court if negotiations fail.
Insurance companies will often prey on the vulnerability of car accident victims and offer much lower settlements than they are entitled to.
Don’t let this happen to you. Contact a seasoned car accident attorney as soon as possible after being involved in a car accident, and let them work to get the fair and full compensation you are owed.
OnderLaw, LLC has a long and successful history of getting our clients the justice they deserve. We have the knowledge, experience, and resources to research every detail of your car accident. We will build an ironclad case to negotiate with the insurance companies or take your case to court for a jury verdict.
Call us today at (314) 963-9000to schedule a free consultation about your car accident case.
What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a St. Louis Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident can be shocking, frightening, and confusing, especially if you’ve been injured. These are the steps you need to take to ensure your immediate and future well-being.
- Move away from danger – If the accident scene is near the road, you must move away from any further potential danger as soon as you can. If the involved vehicles are still functional, be sure to move them away from traffic and into a safer area. Failing to do so could potentially result in an even bigger traffic accident and more injuries or deaths.
- Seek medical attention – If you know you’re injured, seek medical attention from trained professionals as soon as possible. Be aware that you may not immediately show symptoms for injuries that are internal. For this reason, you should always seek medical attention after you have been in a car accident. Never wait for days or weeks before your first appointment. Insurance companies use gaps in treatment as valid reasons to deny claims.
- Contact the police – Contacting the police is always a wise choice after a serious car wreck. If you have sustained injuries, a dispatcher will send a team of trained medical professionals to give you the care you need.
- Get a damage estimate – Bring your car to a repair shop for an estimate of the damage. They will write a report that indicates how much it will cost to fix or replace your vehicle. You can use that in your claim as proof of additional costs.
- Additionally, you can file a police report, which your attorney will need to give to insurance companies when settlement negotiations begin. Make sure to get the responding officers’ names, badge numbers, and the case file number (if available). Be aware that it may be a few days before anyone can get the completed police report because the police also may have to do an investigation into the car accident.
- Collect information – If your injuries don’t prevent you from doing so, you should collect the insurance and contact information from every party involved in the car accident. If there are witnesses, get their names and contact information as well. Take pictures of the scene of the accident, as well as any damage to your property. You should also document your injuries and your medical bills and treatment costs. Keep a record of all medical appointments related to the injuries you suffered in the car accident.
What Does an Accident Investigation Look Like?
When you hire OnderLaw, LLC, we will begin investigating the accident immediately. We have the resources, knowledge, and experience to thoroughly review every piece of evidence and find a way to prove another person was at fault. Some of the crucial evidence we will need to obtain includes:
- Traffic crash report
- Eyewitness statements
- Copies of your medical records and bills
- Accident scene evidence
- Vehicle repair estimates and invoices
- All available insurance policies
- Video surveillance footage
When traveling on Missouri roadways, every individual (including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians) is legally obligated to maintain a “duty of reasonable care.” Essentially, this means that every traveler is expected to be reasonably cautious on the road and must avoid putting themselves and others at risk for an accident.
If a traveler fails to maintain their duty of reasonable care, and that failure causes a car accident, that driver could be held liable for the accident.
This is known as negligence. Negligence refers to one party’s failure to act or not act in a way to prevent someone else from harm. Proving negligence can be complex, but your St. Louis car accident attorney will handle that for you. There are five elements of negligence we will show existed at the time of the accident:
- Duty: The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care to act or not act in a way that would prevent you from getting hurt;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it weren’t for their action or inaction, you wouldn’t have sustained an injury;
- Proximate cause: Their breach was the direct cause of your injury; and
- Damages: You suffered losses as a result of the accident.
In some cases, it is relatively easy to determine who is liable for a car accident. For example, a driver may drift into another lane and cause an accident because they behaved negligently by focusing on a text message instead of the road ahead.
However, what happens when liability isn’t so obvious?
In the state of Missouri, liability is determined using “pure comparative fault” laws. These laws allow liability to be split among the at-fault parties. This means that if both parties contributed to the cause of a car accident, then both parties may be found liable.
However, one party can be found more liable than another. For example, say that Driver A fails to use their blinker when changing lanes and collides with Driver B, who is traveling 15 miles over the speed limit. Driver A might be found 60% at fault for failing to use the vehicle’s blinker, while Driver B might be found 40% at fault for speeding. This means that if Driver B pursues a lawsuit, and the total damages are $250,000, they will get 40% less in compensation.
Within the state of Missouri, pure comparative fault laws make it so that even if you are 99% responsible for an accident, you are still legally entitled to collect on damages from a car accident. However, you will only be able to collect 1% of your total losses.
Compensation After a St. Louis Car Accident
In St. Louis, there are several types of compensation you can collect after a serious vehicle collision. This compensation is meant to cover the financial losses you’ve experienced because of a car accident, as well as the emotional harm that you have suffered. The two main subcategories of compensation – or damages – you may be owed in an insurance claim or lawsuit are economic and non-economic damages.
This compensation includes, but is not strictly limited to:
- Medical bills
- Treatment costs
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capability
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Out of pocket expenses
- Vehicle repair or replacement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
If you’re pursuing compensation in a civil lawsuit, there’s another kind of damage you could seek, known as punitive damages. It is not available in insurance claims and isn’t intended to compensate an injured victim for their losses. Instead, it punishes the individual that caused the accident and aims to deter similar misconduct in the future.
A jury will only award punitive damages if you can provide clear and convincing evidence that the at-fault party caused intentional harm without just cause or acted in complete disregard for other’s safety.
Your St. Louis car accident attorney will determine a fair monetary value for your case and ensure you receive compensation for all of the damages you incurred. You should not have to pay out of pocket for any of your expenses, especially when someone else caused your injuries. We will fight vigorously to seek justice and recover the maximum financial award available.
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are a common occurrence throughout the country. Every day, people get hurt due to the mistakes of other people. When you encounter a driver who isn’t following traffic laws, you could suffer severe injuries. The most common causes of car accidents include:
- Distracted driving – Actions that take a driver’s eyes, hands, or focus off the task of driving, such as texting, changing the radio, or eating food.
- Drunk driving – Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol endangers everyone on the road. It reduces a person’s reaction time, alters sensory perception, and decreases motor skills.
- Speeding – Traveling above the speed limit or driving too fast for road or weather conditions is dangerous. Excessive speeds make it difficult for a motorist to slow down or stop in an emergency or if traffic ahead comes to a standstill.
- Road defects – Government entities are supposed to perform routine maintenance on all roadways to ensure there isn’t anything hazardous that can cause an accident. Unrepaired damage or defects is negligent and can lead to a devastating crash.
- Fatigued or drowsy driving – Anyone who drives while feeling tired can suffer similar effects as someone under the influence of alcohol. It causes blurry vision, poor decision-making skills, and slowed reaction time.
- Failure to obey traffic signs and signals – Many people ignore basic traffic laws. When a driver blows through a stop sign or red light, they could collide with another vehicle that should have the right of way.
- Tailgating – Following another car too closely puts all vehicle occupants at risk of harm. If the car ahead must stop, you likely won’t have enough time to stop or swerve out of the way.
- Reckless driving – Driving aggressively, weaving in and out of traffic, and changing lanes without using a turn signal are all examples of recklessness that can cause an accident.
- Road construction – It’s imperative that people remain especially cautious in a construction area. Slowing down and obeying warning signs could prevent a crash.
- Defective car parts – Sometimes, there are recalled faulty parts, such as brakes, tires, and steering systems. The manufacturer could be liable for an accident if there were an error during the design or manufacturing process.
Most Common Types of Car Accidents
There are many different types of car accidents. No matter how your accident was caused, if a negligent party was involved, we can help you get compensation. Some common types of car accident cases include:
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Drunk Driver Accidents
- Drugged Driver Accidents
- Distracted Driving/Texting while driving
- Rear-End Collisions
- Speeding Accidents
- Accident with an Underinsured/Uninsured Driver
- Road Defects
- Car/Mechanical Defects
- Rollover Accidents
- T-Bone Collisions
- Single-Vehicle Accidents
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case.
Common Injuries Suffered From Car Accidents
A traumatic car crash can lead to a range of injuries. Some heal independently, while others require months or years of intensive medical treatment, physical therapy, and surgeries. If you wind up with a disability or impairment, you might need ongoing medical care and assistance performing daily tasks. The most common injuries car accident victims sustain include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken or fractured bones
- Ejection injuries
- Crush injuries
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Lacerations and wounds
- Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of limb or amputation injury
- Soft tissue injuries
It can be devastating when an injury results in lifelong medical complications. If you suffer from chronic pain, it can affect every area of your life. A permanent disability might mean you have to quit your job and can’t maintain adequate employment. It’s an overwhelming experience to go through, but OnderLaw, LLC will be by your side every step of the way to help you overcome these obstacles and move forward with your life.
What Is the Cost of a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer?
If you’re considering handling your case alone because you believe you will save more money in the long run, think again. Most people worry about the costs of seeking legal representation. They’re already struggling financially and don’t want to spend more money in an attempt to win compensation from an insurance claim or lawsuit. However, you’re more likely to recover a higher monetary award if you hire a lawyer than if you choose to take on the legal process alone.
At OnderLaw, LLC, we understand the burden you’re facing and don’t want to add additional stress to your life. That’s why we take car accident cases on a contingency-fee-basis. That means you won’t have to pay us up front to represent you. We don’t collect any of our legal fees or costs unless we win compensation for our clients. If we lose your case, you won’t owe us anything.
Missouri Car Accident Injuries in 2018
Missouri Car Accident Fatalities in 2018
Deadlines for Filing Car Accident Cases in St. Louis
Whether you want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit, there are deadlines you must follow. Most insurance companies require that you notify them of an accident within a specific period if you want to pursue a settlement. Every auto policy is different, and you should request a copy to determine how much time you have.
If you choose to pursue a claim first, you should also be aware of the strict deadline for civil lawsuits. While some claims reach a settlement agreement rather quickly, others can take years to resolve. If the insurance company ends up denying your claim, you might want to file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover a monetary award. However, if the deadline for filing a lawsuit has already passed, you’ll lose your right to pursue compensation in a civil court.
Missouri laws require that you follow the statute of limitations for car accidents if you want to sue another driver. The statute of limitations is five years. That means you have five years from the accident date to file suit; otherwise, you will lose the opportunity to seek financial compensation in this matter.
Accident Claims Process
The insurance claims process is typically straightforward and less complicated than a lawsuit. OnderLaw, LLC can complete each step on your behalf and negotiate a favorable settlement that covers your damages.
Step 1: File claim. We will need to determine whether we’re filing a claim with the at-fault party’s auto insurance, your auto insurance, or both.
Step 2: Investigate. We will complete a thorough investigation into the crash to prove fault and collect relevant evidence.
Step 3: Demand letter. We will send the insurance company a demand letter that includes all the elements of the case, the evidence we found, and the settlement amount we believe is sufficient in covering your damages.
Step 4: Negotiations. Once the insurance company reviews our letter and evidence, they will perform their own investigation and determine if they agree with our findings. They will either approve or deny our settlement demand. If they deny it, we will try to negotiate a number we believe is appropriate. If we can’t come to an agreement, we might need to move forward with filing a lawsuit.
How to File a Lawsuit in St. Louis
Lawsuits are complex procedures. Your St. Louis car accident attorney will take on this responsibility for you. We will begin by preparing the legal documents necessary to file. A complaint lays out all the elements of a case, including what happened, who caused it, and why we’re suing someone for damages. We also need to prepare a summons to send to the defendant. A summons is basically a notice that the at-fault party must appear in court for the Complaint against them.
There’s an efiling system in Missouri that allows us to file your lawsuit and all associated documents online with the courts. That way, we can save time and money, so we don’t have to bring everything to the courthouse in person.
We will walk you through each step of the lawsuit. Multiple parts will require your participation. Unlike with insurance claims, you have to show up for depositions, where you answer questions about the case under oath, and mediations, where both sides try to reach a settlement agreement.
You will also have to respond to a list of Interrogatories and locate evidence requested by the defense attorneys in their Request for Production. It might seem confusing, but we will help you complete every document and obtain all evidence you need to find during the lawsuit. You won’t be alone during this process.
FAQs for Car Accident Cases
Our car accident clients usually have a number of questions about their cases and legal options. We’ve answered a few of those questions below.
Do wait at the crash scene for an officer to arrive and investigate the cause of the accident.
Don’t sign any forms the insurance company sends you until your St. Louis car accident attorney reviews it first.
Do seek medical treatment immediately after the accident, even if you believe your injury is minor.
Don’t admit any degree of fault.
Do file an insurance claim within the timeframe listed on the policy.
Don’t talk to the insurance adjuster. Your lawyer will handle all communication on your behalf.
The value of your damages will depend on various contributing factors. When an insurance company or jury is reviewing your claim, they might use some of the details below to come up with a fair number:
- Type and severity of the injury
- Impact of the accident on quality of life
- Duration of medically necessary treatment
- Length of recovery
- Whether the injury resulted in permanent impairment or disability
- Amount of insurance coverage available
- Mental and emotional trauma experienced
- Daily disruptions, such as time away from work, canceled vacation, or missed special event
- Total medical costs
- Sufficient evidence provided during the case
Reports typically become available approximately ten days after an accident. Go to the Missouri State Highway Patrol website, fill out the downloadable form, and mail it to their records division along with the required fee.
Pain and suffering refers to the physical and mental trauma an accident victim experiences.
Physical pain and suffering refer to the actual injuries someone sustained. It doesn’t just include physical pain but also its impact on a person’s future and how much suffering they will have to endure.
Mental pain and suffering is the effect of an injury on someone’s emotional or mental well-being. It can include anxiety, fear, emotional distress, and other negative emotions experienced due to the accident.
If you discover the at-fault motorist doesn’t carry liability auto insurance, you can file a claim with your insurance company. Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) provides compensation to accident victims if:
- The negligent driver doesn’t have insurance;
- The available liability coverage isn’t high enough to compensate for the total damages; or
- The accident was due to a hit-and-run driver.
Contact OnderLaw, LLC Today
To maximize your compensation after a car accident, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you can. At OnderLaw, LLC, we guarantee that our dedicated team of attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive every penny you are legally entitled to.
Our team of St. Louis car accident attorneys has decades of experience fighting for our clients’ rights and seeking the justice they deserve. When you hire us, we will make you a priority at all times. We know how stressful this ordeal is and will work efficiently to resolve your case so you can move on with your life.
To discuss the details of your unique case, contact our offices today at (314) 963-9000. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help you.