Stephen Schultz | January 3, 2023 | Car Accidents
Car accidents can be minor, severe, or even fatal. People who experience a car accident may walk away with minimal property damage and no injuries, or they may total their automobiles and suffer from permanent injuries.
Following an accident, the body’s stress hormones kick in, including a surge in adrenaline. Adrenaline can mask the symptoms of severe injuries for several days, leading many victims to believe they’re okay when, in reality, they’re not. As a result, many people may not take the proper steps to protect themselves following a car accident.
So even if you think you don’t have injuries from a car accident, it’s essential to file a report and take the right steps. This can ensure the best chance of success if you pursue a future legal claim for medical costs or other damages.
Check Everyone for Injuries Following a Collision
After moving your car out of the road (if possible), your first step following an accident should be to check everyone involved in the crash for injuries. Examine yourself and your passengers. If you can walk, check with other drivers to see if they need immediate medical assistance. Call an ambulance if anyone needs to go to the hospital for treatment.
Report the Accident to the Police Department
Under Missouri law, you must report to the police any automobile accident resulting in physical injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500. Since it can be difficult to estimate property damage following an accident, and because injuries may not be immediately apparent, you should call the police even for minor accidents like fender benders.
The police will then come to the crash scene to investigate. They’ll also ensure the proper exchange of contact and insurance information between parties in the crash. Finally, if someone was clearly at fault for the accident, police will usually issue a ticket.
When the police finish their investigation, they’ll fill out a police report that you can obtain. This report can be helpful if you choose to file a future legal claim concerning the accident.
File a Police Report Within 30 Days
If you decide not to call the police to the scene of an accident but later discover that you have injuries or greater than $500 in damage to your vehicle, you must file a report with the police.
Missouri Code § 303.040 gives car accident victims up to 30 days to file a police report following an accident. Individuals who don’t file a police report may find it difficult to recover money through an insurance or legal claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company
When you notify your insurance company of the accident, they will review the circumstances of your accident and the coverage you have to determine what compensation you’re entitled to.
Missouri follows a pure comparative negligence system. Under pure comparative laws, the person responsible for the accident must cover the damages from the accident unless you are 100% at fault.
For example, if you sustain $30,000 in damages from a car accident and are 30% at fault, the other driver’s insurance will cover 70% of the damages, or $21,000. Your insurance should pick up the remaining amount, depending on your coverage.
Reach Out for Legal Assistance
It’s never a bad idea to seek legal assistance after an accident. A car accident lawyer in Missouri can help you determine the extent of your damages and the steps you should take following an accident. In serious accidents, it’s better to seek legal help before reporting the accident to your insurance company.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in St. Louis, MO
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:
Ladue, MO Law Office
9807 S 40 Dr, St. Louis, MO 63124
Creve Coeur, MO Law Office
999 Executive Pkwy Dr #205, Creve Coeur, MO 63141