To obtain compensation for their injuries, victims must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. Therefore, proving fault is critical in a car accident claim. The proof must also be strong enough to refuse contributory negligence, sudden emergency, and some other common insurance company defenses.
But proof alone is like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. A skilled St. Louis car accident lawyer must put these pieces together and make a clear and compelling picture for jurors. That is the best, and indeed the only, way to obtain compensation for your economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
The police accident report, the victim’s own testimony, and medical bills usually form the evidentiary core of a car accident claim. Frequently, these items alone are sufficient.
However, there are often some holes in this evidence, especially in wrongful death or catastrophic injury claim. If the victim didn’t give a statement to the reporting officers, the accident report is incomplete. It obviously only contains one side of the story. Furthermore, if the victim didn’t survive, that testimony is unavailable.
Frequently, a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder fills in the gap. Much like a commercial jet’s black box flight data recorder, an EDR usually measures and records information like:
- Engine RPM,
- Brake application,
- Steering angle, and
- Vehicle speed.
Any one of these items could be critical in a crash claim. However, unless an attorney acts quickly and decisively, this important proof could be unavailable.
Most insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles within days of an accident. To prevent vehicle destruction and EDR loss, attorneys usually send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters require insurance companies to preserve all the possible physical evidence in their possession.
Furthermore, Missouri has some of the strictest vehicle information privacy laws in the nation. So, an attorney usually needs a court order to inspect and download EDR information.
There are technical issues as well. These devices are quite sophisticated. A lawyer needs a lot more than a screwdriver, a laptop, and some determination to remove these devices and tap into the information they contain.
Proving fault in a car accident is a matter of obtaining credible evidence. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in St. Louis, contact Schultz & Myers, Personal Injury Lawyers. We routinely handle matters throughout the Show-Me State.
Proving Car Accident Fault | Schultz & Myers
To obtain fair compensation, car crash victims must prove fault by a preponderance of the evidence.
What does “negligence” mean?
Essentially, negligence is a lack of care. Most drivers in Missouri have a duty of reasonable care.
How much money is my car accident worth?
Most victims are entitled to compensation for their economic and noneconomic losses.
Why does it take so long for a case to settle?
If cases settle too quickly, the settlement amount might not account for all future medical expenses.