St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
- What Are Missouri Car Accident Fault Laws?
- What if My Car Accident Involved an Uninsured Driver?
- What Are My Options if I Was Involved in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
- What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
- Answers to Common Questions Asked After a Car Accident
- What if a Road Hazard Caused My Car Accident?
Weather / Unsafe Road Conditions
Ideal driving weather usually does not include any of the following: rain, snow, sleet, hail, freezing temperatures, fog, mist, severe wind, or clouds. Last year, inclement weather contributed to 40.96% of vehicle crashes in Missouri. Whether it is your first time pulling up to a red light in winter weather or your first time hydroplaning in a while: changes in the weather can take even the most experienced drivers by surprise. Although it would not be reasonable to only drive in clear weather, it is important to be a little more cautious on the roads if it is not windows-down weather.
Even if the weather has cleared up, unsafe road conditions could remain: wet, snow, ice, frost, slush, mud, dirt, standing water, moving water, sand, gravel. Missouri State Highway Patrol found that these road conditions accounted for 31.66% of total accidents last year.
Young & Old Drivers
Road-Rage / Aggressive Driving
What Are Missouri Car Accident Fault Laws?
Duty of Care
Missouri is a "pure comparative fault" car accident state, meaning that generally, whoever caused the accident pays for any harm that resulted (injuries, property damage, etc.). Ideally, the at-fault driver's insurance company absorbs this cost, but the driver would generally be responsible for those costs if the driver does not have insurance. What happens if more than one driver is at fault? In Missouri, we use a "comparative negligence" system to establish each involved party's fault. As previously mentioned, negligence is generally some form of careless or reckless behavior. Unlike some states with an all-or-nothing approach to negligence, in Missouri, we can divide up the fault in the form of percentages. For example:
If a truck driver did not look when he was turning and hit a speeding car, both individuals might be at fault for the accident. Each of their insurance companies will conduct an investigation to determine who was responsible for the accident – and how responsible. Whoever the insurance companies decide is more responsible for the crash will be more responsible for the crash costs. Let's say the insurance companies determined the truck driver was 60% at fault, and the car driver 40% at fault. Each driver can still receive settlement money from the other driver's insurance. However, the truck driver will only be able to collect 40% of his total costs from the car driver's insurance company, while the car driver can collect 60% of her total costs from the truck driver's insurance. Although the exact percentages can sometimes get a little obscure - especially when involving more than two parties - this system is in place so the payouts can justly reflect each unique situation.
As previously described, there is no one-size-fits-all determination for fault in a car accident. However, there are some common indicators of negligent behavior:
- Not using turn signals;
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; or
- Disobeying traffic signs.
If you have been involved in an accident and are unsure who is at fault, do not hesitate to contact us. At Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, we will give you the answers you need and let you know of any legal possibilities available to you. Accidents are incredibly unsettling, but your legal resolution does not have to be; our experienced team of car accident attorneys is here to help.
What if My Car Accident Involved an Uninsured Driver?
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What Are My Options if I Was Involved in a Hit-and-Run Car Accident?
Hit-and-run car accidents occur when at least one individual involved in the accident fled the scene without providing sufficient personal information, properly reporting the crash, or aiding those involved. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there is a hit-and-run car accident somewhere in the U.S. every 43 seconds. Hit-and-runs can include moving vehicles, parked vehicles, property, or even pedestrians. The law essentially expects us to identify ourselves when we cause damage instead of attempting to flee the scene (and flee our own accountability).
It can often seem inconvenient, but you should always stick around to exchange information and speak with the police to ensure you are not accused of fleeing the scene. Even if your accident doesn't result in any injuries and doesn't appear to be very serious, there can be some serious legal consequences. Leaving the scene of an accident leaves you chargeable with a misdemeanor, or even a felony, depending on your case's severity.
Missouri Laws for Hit-and-Run Offenders
Missouri Revised Statutes § 577.060, a section appropriately labeled "leaving the scene of an accident," are the laws which govern hit-and-run accidents in Missouri. The default penalty for a hit-and-run is a Class A misdemeanor. However, it gets bumped up to a Class E felony if (1) it caused a physical injury; (2) damages exceed $1,000; or (3) if the driver is a repeat hit-and-run offender. If the hit-and-run accident resulted in a death, the driver who hit and ran is likely looking at a Class D felony.
Generally, to avoid being convicted of a hit-and-run offense, you need to make sure you stop after an accident to provide either law enforcement officers or the involved parties with the following information:
- Your name
- Your address
- The license number/registration for your vehicle
- Your driver's license number
Suppose you were involved in an accident and fled the scene before providing your information. In that case, it is in your best interest to call the local police station and provide this information as soon as possible. If the parties involved in the accident filed a police report, Missouri law has provisions that afford law enforcement officers the authority to extensively investigate these accidents and find the offender. However, if you do not feel comfortable calling the police station due to your circumstances, please contact our offices at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, and we can walk you through the best way to proceed.
When it comes to determining fault in a car accident, the hit-and-run individual is never looked upon favorably. However, even if the accident was partially your fault, you still might be able to receive compensation under Missouri pure comparative fault laws. Fleeing the scene and avoiding resolution could prevent you from receiving any compensation available to you. Every circumstance is unique, and although hit-and-run excuses are rarely accepted, it is possible you could benefit from resolving your accident instead of attempting to avoid it.
Tracking Down Compensation from a Hit-and-Run Offender
Being on the other side of a hit-and-run accident can be very frustrating. Sometimes victims of hit-and-run accidents do not know where to begin or if they even have a realistic chance at compensation. With the help of law enforcement officers and an experienced hit-and-run attorney, you have many options. Hit-and-run offenders can be charged with the criminal offenses listed above. Beyond that, you may also be entitled to recover damages for any injuries or property damage you suffered as a result of their actions, including harm related to a delay in medical treatment.
If the offender has insurance, you can likely recover compensation from their insurer by filing a claim. However, it is essential you have a professional hit-and-run attorney on your side to ensure the insurance company does not take advantage of you. Insurance companies may not have your best interest in mind; they are in the business of lowering their own costs, so it is vital to have an attorney that is assertive in negotiations.
If the offender does not have insurance or law enforcement officers are unable to track down the offender, you still have options. You can file a claim through your insurer if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This route may entitle you to compensation for any medical expenses or damages to your vehicle.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Though it is impossible to prepare for an accident ahead of time, knowing how to handle an accident after it occurs can significantly benefit the resolution of your case. These simple steps ensure you are not at risk legally or medically. Even for the most minor of accidents, it is crucial to make sure your rights are protected. Be polite and courteous to everyone involved in the accident but remember that many things can change when the paperwork gets started.
If you have been involved in a car accident and are unsure what to do next, you can start by calling our experienced car accident attorneys at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry. We have countless years of experience recovering financial compensation and helping get car accidents resolved. Even if this is not your first accident, the shock a person experiences from an accident can make it challenging to decide what to do next. To make everything easier, we have outlined the following general actions to follow in the event of a car accident.
1. Do Not Fight or Flight
2. Contact First Responders
3. Exchange Information
4. Document Accident
5. Seek Medical Attention for Injuries
6. Call a Lawyer
Answers to Common Questions Asked After a Car Accident
A car accident can be an entirely life-altering experience. Unfortunately, it does not stop once the accident is over: the aftermath of an accident can be one of most challenging aspects of it. You probably have a lot of questions and are not quite sure who to turn to. Especially if this is your first accident, it all can seem very overwhelming. Luckily, it is not our first accident. Our law firm has been dealing with countless motor vehicle collisions for many years. We know the steps that need to be taken to get your life back on track after a car accident. Car accident victims often face tremendous physical and emotional challenges; our compassionate team of professionals will fight to lessen their burden and support you throughout your journey. The legal process can be a confusing one. At Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry, we hope to clear up the confusion and answer any questions you might have about your motorcycle accident.
Some of the most common questions our firm receives about motorcycle accidents are listed below. However, if you have specific questions regarding your case, we encourage you to reach out to a member of our legal team to discuss your unique case and the legal options you might have.
I've Been In an Accident: What Do I Do?
I've Left the Scene of the Accident: Who Do I Talk to First?
I've Been Offered a Settlement: Do I Accept It?
I Am Not Sure Who Is at Fault: What Normally Causes Car Crashes?
The cause of each accident is unique to its situation, but many car accidents happen as a result of:
- Distracted Driving
- Alcohol/Drug-Impaired Driving
- Poor Visibility
- Motorcycle Lane Splitting
- Hazardous Road Conditions
If you or a loved one has been affected by a car accident, you know that straight answers are hard to come by because each collision is so different. Our team at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry can review your unique situation, let you know what legal options are available to you, and help you get the financial compensation you deserve.
What if a Road Hazard Caused My Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident, you should never be too quick to blame yourself. Even if another driver did not directly cause your accident on the road, the root of your accident could be blamed on the road conditions involved. In other words, a government entity could be held liable for the road maintenance that could have caused your accident.
Hazardous roads are all too familiar in some areas of Missouri. Road repair is an inconvenient and expensive task; sometimes, there is just not enough time or funding to keep every road safe. For this reason, drivers must remain vigilant at all times to avoid these accidents.
Some of the most common road hazards we see that lead to car accidents are:
- Poor Road Maintenance (e.g., gravel, uneven pavement, cracks, potholes)
- Road Debris (e.g., branches, rocks, tire fragments, fallen objects, garbage)
- Poor Weather Conditions (e.g., strong winds, ice, rain, snow, hail)
- Slick Surfaces (e.g., leaves, oil spills, train tracks, standing water)
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, no matter what you believe to be the cause, we encourage you to contact our legal team to discuss your case. Even if you had a solo car accident, you could still have options for recovery. Our experienced legal team at Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry knows what to look for in a car accident case and will use this knowledge to get you the compensation and justice you deserve.