Why It’s Important to a Car Accident Attorney
Like other professions, many attorneys choose to concentrate their practice in certain areas, such as criminal law, corporate matters, or estate planning. At our St. Louis law office, we practice personal injury law, and a large part of our practice concerns representing those injured in car and truck accidents, and pedestrians that have been hit by vehicles. It’s important to hire a car accident attorney so that you get the experience that comes with working extensively in representing those injured in auto accidents.
Proving Your Case
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we will need to prove who is responsible for your injuries. To prove fault, we thoroughly investigate accident scenes, we interview witnesses, and we often hire accident investigators and accident reconstructionist. Through this process, we seek information concerning the final resting position of the vehicles, tire marks, gouge marks, and the location of accident debris, as all of these aspects may be important in proving who is responsible for the accident. The condition of your vehicle may also be critical in proving fault.
The second aspect of proving your case concerns damages. If you are able to prove that another driver caused injury to you or your loved ones, your recovery will be based upon the damages that you can prove that you or your loved ones sustained. You are not automatically entitled to a monetary judgment, even if it is clear that another driver is at fault for causing injury.
Damages for Car Accidents
Damages are losses or harm that has transpired as a result of your injury. In a personal injury case filed because of a car accident, the plaintiff is typically seeking damages for his or her injuries. There two main types of damages in personal injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.
These types of damages are easily calculated and proven by presenting the amount of money you have spent on or will potentially miss out on because of your injuries.
Some examples of economic damages are:
- Vehicle damage
- Property damage
- Loss of wages
- Medical expenses
- Financial support for dependents
These types of damages refer to intangible losses the plaintiff has experienced. They are more difficult to calculate and assign a number value to as they are more subjective.
A few examples of non-economic damages are:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of a loved one
- Reduced quality of life
Some states have implemented legislation that limits the amount of damages that a plaintiff can receive in a particular type of case. These caps vary from state to state. Currently, Missouri does not have any damage caps. This is good news for those who have suffered severe injuries and wish to seek the proper compensation for their injuries.
Fault in Car Accident Claims
As each state has different laws, where you live has an immense effect on fault and liability. Like most states, Missouri uses a ‘fault’ based liability system. This means that an injured Missouri driver must show who is at fault for the accident before he or she can recover damages for his or her injuries. For example, if you were injured by another driver, you would need to show that the other driver was in fact responsible for the accident before that driver’s insurance company will compensate you. By contrast, in a state with a ‘no-fault’ system, the driver doesn’t need to show fault. Rather an injured driver uses his or her own car insurance to cover medical expenses.
Another fault rule that may apply is comparative negligence. There are a number of different types of comparative negligence rules that have been adopted by the states. The state of Missouri follows the pure comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, regardless of how big or small the plaintiff’s portion of liability is, he or she can still recover damages. However, any compensation that the plaintiff receives will be reduced by how at fault he or she is for the accident.
Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
When you are injured in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries through a personal injury claim.
It is important to be aware that you can contact a car accident attorney right after you have been in the accident. An experienced and skilled car accident attorney can help you through the entire claims process, deal with the insurance company and represent you in settlement negotiations or a civil lawsuit, if necessary.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident contact the Dysart Law Firm today at 314-548-6298 .