The State of Missouri’s Department of Transportation reported that there were over 100,000 crashes in 2009 on the state highway system. Over 30,000 of these crashes involved injuries or fatalities. Over 80 percent of the accidents involved a motor vehicle in traffic. The responsible parties must be held accountable for the injuries suffered by the victims of the accidents. Often this involves filing a lawsuit for a personal injury claim.
Must-Do’s in an Auto Accident
If you are in an auto accident, you should take photographs of the accident if your health allows you to do so. Take pictures of both vehicles involved, including the license plate of the other party’s vehicle (or at least write this information down, as well as the other party’s name, address, license number and insurance company). If any witnesses exist, it may also be helpful to receive their names and contact information as well. You must also receive medical attention as soon as possible – even if you don’t immediately feel injured. This will prevent a defense attorney from claiming that your injuries are due in part to your own negligence in receiving treatment.
Consult with an Attorney
The next thing you should do is consult with a personal injury attorney. Time is of the essence, since there are statutes of limitations on personal injuries (most have five years, whereas wrongful death is limited to three). Although you are not required to have an attorney to file a lawsuit, it is beneficial to you since legal matters can become very complicated. Personal injury attorneys are skilled at working with insurance companies to settle out of court, which means that you can get your settlement quickly. Many attorneys also will work for a portion of the compensation you receive from the accident – which means you won’t have to pay the attorney anything if you don’t get compensated, and you won’t have to worry about paying out-of-pocket for the attorney’s fees. Involvement in an auto accident is an overwhelming and painful experience. Be sure you know your rights and the laws that exist to protect you in the state of Missouri.