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Copyright © 2015, E. Ryan Bradley
Our Missouri car accident lawyers are all too familiar with the statistics that plague Missouri motorists. Car accidents are the number one cause of serious personal injury and death in Missouri. According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, in 2013 alone, there were 154,007 car accidents in Missouri, of which 34,819 resulted in injury or death. Applying those numbers to an annual calendar, on average, someone in Missouri dies from a car accident every 10 hours: someone is injured in a car accident every 10 minutes. When you are injured in a Missouri car accident, or a family member is killed, you need a lawyer who will ensure the responsible parties are held accountable for your damages.
Being “negligent” just means you owed a duty of care to someone, and you failed to adhere to that standard. Under common law, every person owed a duty to exercise the same care a reasonable person would have exercised in the same or similar situation. Most states continue to hold drivers to this standard. However, Missouri adopted statute 304.012, and it requires all motorists use the highest degree of care– a higher standard than the “reasonable person” standard. So, under Missouri law, you are negligent if you fail to use the highest degree of care and cause a crash.
Yes. In order to be held legally responsible for negligence in a car accident, the negligence must have been the reason why someone suffered damages. We refer to this as proximate or legal causation. Under Missouri law, there can be more than one cause of someone’s damages. For instance, a person’s negligence can combine with another factor (either another person’s negligence, or an unforeseen event) to cause harm.
Under Missouri law, car accident victims may recover all the costs associated with past and future medical treatment and rehabilitation, lost wages (both past and future), pain and suffering. In addition, Missouri law allows car accident victims to recover punitive damages if the conduct of the at-fault driver was particularly egregious by acting with a conscious disregard for the safety of others.
No. Many people think they can simply rely upon insurance companies to provide adequate recovery for all of their claims after a car accident. This is not always the case. In fact, the exact opposite can occur. For instance, if you have a uninsured motorist (UM) claim or underinsured motorist (UIM) claim against your own insurance company, Missouri law allows insurers to treat this as an antagonistic relationship, whereby the insurance company can do things behind your back and not tell you what they are doing. Beyond this, your car insurance company could care less if you recover damages against the at-fault person for your personal injuries. The only interest your insurer will have is to subrogate against the at-fault person’s insurance company to recover money they paid you.
Under Missouri law, drivers need only carry liability minimums of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence. While most responsible people purchase insurance coverage above these minimum limits, if you are in a car accident with someone who carries only minimal coverage, their insurance company may not cover all of your damage.
In cases like this, you have essentially two options. First, you may need to execute against the at-fault person’s assets to satisfy your damages over and above the insurance limits. Most people do not have adequate financial resources to fully compensate our injury clients. Therefore, in these scenarios, if you purchased underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage), you can file a claim with your insurance company.
Some irresponsible Missouri drivers operate without car insurance. In other cases, out-of-state drivers may only carry the coverage required by their home state, which can be as low as $10,000. If you are unfortunate enough to become involved in a car accident with one of these drivers, there may be little or no car insurance to pay for the damages you suffer, or even to cover your medical bills. Because of this possibility, Missouri requires all motorists carry uninsured motorist coverage (sometimes called “UM”) with minimum limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence. You will need to file a form with the Missouri Director of Revenue to have the person’s license revoked. You can find this form here: 1140.
If you are injured in a multiple car accident, it is important to realize the insurance companies for other involved motorists may not pay your claim, even if liability is clear. Over the years, we have seen insurance companies use every excuse under the sun to avoid paying claims. Rest assured if you are involved in more than one crash, the insurance companies will be blaming your injuries on the other crash.
People can be severely injured in a car accident even though there is little or no damage to the vehicle. Some insurance companies and their hired lawyers argue that a small amount of damage to a car must mean little or no injury to the person. While cars are designed to absorb force from an impact, human bodies are not.
While most Missouri courts rejected this bogus argument without expert testimony, competent personal injury lawyers must counter this defense and other defensive theories and tactics. Failure to do so could undermine an otherwise legitimate claim. At E. Ryan Bradley, we consult with the very best car accident experts to support your case and to protect your rights.
If you or a loved one were injured in a Missouri car accident, it is critical you call a qualified injury lawyer who knows the law. It is equally important to hire this lawyer before important evidence is lost, damaged, or destroyed. Often, insurance companies will try to strengthen their cases to defend against injured parties before those injured parties have had an opportunity to consult an attorney. They may obtain statements, record conversations, or gather other evidence. Car accident victims can find out the hard way when an insurance company uses a recorded telephone conversation against them at trial. Having the right personal injury attorney on your side will ensure you do not undermine your own interests or forfeit important rights by giving up certain claims or accepting a personal injury settlement without understanding the full implications.
E. Ryan Bradley obtained the highest car accident trial result in the entire State of Missouri in 2010 ($10,040,000.00) and the highest Missouri car accident settlement in 2014- $8,250,000.00.
We handle every type of injury resulting from a car accident, including claims for wrongful death, physical injury, mental suffering, and property damage.
The personal injury lawyers at The Bradley Law Firm have decades of experience in representing Missouri drivers and passengers injured in car accidents. Our personal injury lawyers will investigate the facts of your crash and ensure you have a maximum recovery from all available sources.
Our law firm never charges any attorneys’ fees unless we recover compensation for you. In addition, we cover all costs in pursuing your personal injury claim. Our personal injury clients have comfort knowing they will never receive a bill from our office for any work on their case- even if there is no recovery.
If you need an attorney to help you after a Missouri car accident, call us. We handle cases throughout Missouri. Contact us today for a free legal consultation with one of our lawyers.