People who suffer injuries in auto collisions caused by negligent drivers could be entitled to receive financial compensation for their damages. Most states, Missouri included, require drivers to have liability insurance to pay for any injuries someone might suffer in an accident. However, insurers will do everything in their power to limit the amount they have to pay.

A Maryland Heights car accident lawyer could help ensure an injured person receives a fair settlement after being harmed in a vehicle wreck. If you or a loved one were involved in a car crash caused by another’s negligence, do not hesitate to seek legal guidance from a dedicated local injury attorney.

Determining Fault After a Vehicle Crash

Missouri is an “at-fault” state, meaning that the insurance of the driver who caused an accident pays for injuries and property damage others suffer. Drivers in Missouri must also have a minimum amount of liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage. The uninsured motorist coverage pays for the insured’s medical expenses and property damage if the at-fault driver has no insurance.

However, determining which driver caused the collision can be a difficult matter. Local attorneys often review the police report cited by the responding officer, as that details who the officer believes is responsible as well as potential causes, such as speeding, intoxication, or bad weather.

It is essential that a claimant contacts a legal professional early in the case so that they can effectively recover important evidence before it is lost. An experienced attorney could interview witnesses, analyze crash scene photographs, check cell phone records, review medical records, and gather other evidence that might indicate who is responsible for the collision.

How Does Comparative Negligence Impact a Car Wreck Case?

Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that a court assigns a percentage of fault to all parties involved in an accident. In other words, the court will look at the actions of both the defendant and the plaintiff to see how their actions may have contributed to the vehicle collision. While a claimant cannot be barred from recovery under this legal theory, their recoverable damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault, which in some cases could be substantial.

In negotiations following a car accident, insurers often will attempt to blame other parties for the crash in order to reduce their liability. A Maryland Heights attorney representing someone injured in a motor vehicle accident could build a strong claim to prove the other driver was primarily responsible.

Recoverable Damages for Injured Motorists

Many drivers carry only enough insurance to comply with Missouri law. State law requires motorists to carry a minimum of bodily injury coverage of $25,000 per person, and $50,000 for two or more people, and $10,000 for property damage. However, this often will not cover the actual costs of a car accident in many cases.

When an at-fault driver’s coverage is inadequate to make an injured person whole, a claimant choose to take the case to trial to recover economic and non-economic damages.  While the recoverable compensation could be much higher through a jury trial, this process is often more time-consuming and costly. A trustworthy lawyer in the area could advise an injured driver on whether taking their car crash case to court is a viable option under their unique circumstances.

Seek Guidance from a Maryland Heights Car Accident Attorney

After being injured in a collision, you may want to accept whatever settlement you are offered and move on with your life. However, this is unlikely to benefit you in the long run.

Working with a knowledgeable Maryland Heights car accident lawyer is a prudent choice that could result in a more generous settlement than you could negotiate on your own. Schedule a consultation as soon as possible after an accident, to get the benefit of a committed professional working for you.