Determining Who Is At Fault for a Car Accident in Missouri
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 2.36 million people were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2012. In the state of Missouri, the latest statistics by MODOT in 2011 reported 51,060 people injured in traffic crashes.
The unfortunate fact is, accidents happen and injuries occur. But when you are injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, you deserve justice and compensation for your losses.
Because Missouri is an “at-fault” state, the driver who causes an auto accident should be held legally responsible for the injuries to other people involved in the accident. The at-fault driver is required to pay associated medical bills, property damage costs, and lost wages to the injured party.
What Does It Mean To Be “At Fault” for a Car Accident in Missouri
Simply put, the person at-fault for a car accident is the person whose negligence is identified as being the cause of the accident. If it is not exactly clear who was responsible for the accident, or if there is some level of shared fault, then the responsibility for damages may be split between the persons involved. When liability is shared, the insurance company will investigate the accident to determine the relative percentages of fault.
An insurance claims adjuster will assign relative degrees of fault to the drivers based on the details and circumstances of the car accident. In this situation, it is always in your best interests to work with an experienced car accident attorney to represent you and defend your side of the story. In order to recover the most money for your damages, you’ll likely need help proving that you were the least at fault for the accident.
Pure Comparative Fault in Missouri
Missouri law calls for a pure comparative fault system to determine who is responsible for damages caused by a car accident. With this method of measuring damages, an injured person who is partially at fault for his or her own injuries may still recover some damages, but the recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault calculated by the insurance company.
Example: Bob is injured in a car accident in Missouri and the insurance company determines the accident be 75% his fault. The damages for his injuries amount to $10,000, but Bob will only be entitled to recover $2,500 ($10,000 less 75% for his fault).
Protect Yourself and Seek Legal Help
One thing that we always recommend is that you make sure your auto insurance policy includes plenty of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Hopefully this protection will help you in case you are involved in an accident where the at-fault driver is not adequately insured.
If you have been in a car accident in the state of Missouri, take the appropriate steps to protect yourself and preserve your claim, Make sure you seek immediate medical attention even if you don’t feel like you have sustained a serious injury. Sometimes the symptoms of trauma may not be apparent to you right away, but an experienced medical professional could discover a problem before it gets worse. Some common car accident injuries can lead to life-altering complications if left untreated.