Car accidents are some of the most common personal injury cases. There are many state statutes, as well as case laws, that must be navigated when you have been in an accident. The following paragraphs provide some helpful information when dealing with the ramifications of a car accident and what you can do to get the compensation you deserve.
Burden of Proof and Negligence
To recover damages from an accident, the plaintiff must prove negligence against the defendant. They must show that a car was operated by the defendant negligently and that the negligent operation caused the plaintiff’s injuries. Negligence in a car accident includes, but is not limited to, the failure to operate the car in a safe manner, the failure to reduce speed, the failure to keep a careful lookout, or the failure to yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian or another car. If the defendant blatantly violated the rules of the road, traffic laws, or safety regulations, the proof of negligence is easier to prove.
Missouri Statute of Limitations
All states, including Missouri, have a time limit on how long you have to file a lawsuit in court after an accident. Missouri law states that you have five years from the date of the car accident to file a suit in court. There is also a five year limitation for claims of property damage caused by the accident.
The statute of limitations only has to do with how long you have to file your court case. It does not impose a time limit on when to file a claim with the insurance company. That being said, it is best to get your claim with the insurance company started right away, especially if you have suffered injuries or there is damage to your car.
In Missouri, there is an exception to the statute of limitations for minors injured in a car accident. In an injury suit involving a minor (not including medical negligence or wrongful death), the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the minor reaches 21 years of age. The day the minor turns 21, the five-year clock begins to tick.
If there is a death resulting from the car accident, the statute of limitations is only three years compared to five for an injury claim. Regardless of the decedent’s age, the loved ones of the deceased have a three-year time limit from the date of the death to file a claim.
What to do After a Car Accident
Immediate action needs to be taken if you are involved in a car accident. The first thing you should do is call the police. The police officer will file a report which will provide immediate documentation that includes the details of the accident. The police report often provides the information on which traffic laws were violated by which driver. The other steps you should take include the following:
1. Collect evidence;
2. Get medical treatment;
3. DO NOT communicate with the other insurance company; and
4. Contact the Lieser Law Firm
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is best to get the advice of a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you navigate the process and get you the compensation your rightfully deserve.