What to do After a Car Accident in Missouri

What to do After a Car Accident in Missouri

A Missouri car accident can be catastrophic, resulting in major property damage, serious injuries and deaths, so it is no wonder that survivors are likely to be left traumatized, confused, and unsure of what to do next.  What you do in the aftermath and the days following the accident is extremely important, as it will affect the potential compensation for any damages you received, the outcome of your injuries, and your legal rights.

After a serious car accident, medical bills mount up at a time you may be unable to work, and life may never be the same. While no amount of money can make up for the trauma, pain, and suffering involved, the compensation you should receive from insurance or a personal injury lawsuit can provide the care you need and alleviate your financial burdens.

Unfortunately, insurance companies are out for profit, and they will often attempt to deny or minimize claims or trick you into saying something to indicate that you were at fault for the crash. Making mistakes can be costly, and if too much time passes before getting prompt medical care and seeking the help of an experienced car accident attorney, you may lose the opportunity to build a case for the compensation you deserve. In addition, Missouri has a statute of limitations, a deadline of five years from the day of the car accident to bring a lawsuit (RSMo. §516.120), or the courts are likely to refuse to hear your case.

For all these reasons, you should take action quickly to avoid problems and maximize the chances of receive the settlement you deserve.

Steps to Take After a Missouri Car Accident

After a car accident in Missouri, the following are some steps to take that can optimize your recovery and increase the chances of receiving the compensation you deserve:

Stop and remain at the scene. Leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Missouri. If you are in a place where you or your vehicle can be hit again or cause other drivers to have an accident, move the vehicle to the side of the road, if drivable. Otherwise, do not move your vehicle until a law enforcement officer tells you to.

Check for injuries: Check yourself, passengers, and others involved in the accident for injuries.  If anyone is injured, call for an ambulance.

Call the police. Missouri law requires reporting any collision that results in bodily injury, death, or property damage of more than $500. Call the police and wait for a responding officer to arrive to document the accident and create an official report, as this contains information which can be crucial for insurance claims and legal proceedings, especially if the police ticket the at-fault diver.

Get contact and insurance information. Exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, including names, addresses, phone numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance policy numbers. Get contact information from any witnesses.

Do not apologize or explain.  Even if you think you contributed to the accident, avoid making any statements that could even be interpreted as admitting fault, such as saying, “I’m sorry.” According to Missouri law (Title XXXVI section=537.060), if you are found to have contributed to the car accident, the amount of your settlement will be reduced by your share of fault as part of the insurance claim or trial.

Gather evidence and document everything.  If you are in condition to do so, take photos and videos of the accident scene, including vehicle and personal property damage, skid marks, road conditions, photos of any visible injuries, and pictures of other relevant situations such as broken traffic signals or signs. Get names and contact information of any witnesses, as well as a brief statement of what they saw. As soon as you can, write down everything you can remember about the events leading up to and after the accident, such as whether the other driver was using a cell phone, showed signs of intoxication, or ran a red light.

Get medical attention: Go to the ER if appropriate, and also see your own doctor as soon as possible to be checked out completely, even if you don’t think you are injured. Some injuries, such as internal injuries may not show symptoms right away, and they may continue to get worse over time. Be sure to get any diagnostic tests necessary, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CAT scans, and confirm that the results are documented.

Notify your insurance company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and initiate the claims process.

Obtain a police report: The police report provides valuable documentation and evidence that can be instrumental in resolving insurance claims and legal disputes. You can obtain a car accident report by contacting the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident.

Keep records. Keep a detailed record of your medical care and treatment, including all out-of-pocket expenses such as transportation to the doctor. Request copies of your medical records and bills.

Get legal assistance: It is a good idea to speak to an experienced car accident lawyer before you say or do anything that could damage your case.  Your attorney will help you navigate the process of gathering evidence, submitting paperwork, and negotiating a fair settlement. If the insurance company refuses to play fair, your lawyer will also be able to represent you and your rights at trial.

Get Help from a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust

After a serious car accident, you can trust the Birk Law Firm to guide you through the steps you need to take. Attorney Kelvin Birk is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a lawyer, and this combined expertise allows our law firm to provide an especially high level of service. When we sign on as your personal injury lawyers, you can count on us for personal, compassionate attention as well as aggressive legal counsel. We work tirelessly to establish liability and put together a strong case on your behalf.

We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency basis so there are no fees to you unless and until we win your case. Call us today at 573-332-8585 to get started.

FREE CONSULT 573-332-8585

Call our Cape Girardeau car accident lawyer at 573-332-8585 to schedule your free consultation today.

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Attorney Kelvin Birk

Kelvin Birk is a lawyer as well as a certified public accountant, with more than 30 years of experience in accounting and tax and business consulting, and more than 20 years of experience in numerous legal matters. This combined expertise allows our law firm to provide a level of service above that of other firms. Whatever your legal situation, your attorney at Birk Law Firm can counsel you as to the tax implications. We have experience in providing myriad legal representation services to residents of southeast Missouri and other areas.. [ Attorney Bio ]