Driving is an everyday activity for most people. However, these routine trips can quickly become dangerous when there are reckless drivers on the road. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and sustained an injury, it can be difficult to know if you have done all you can to bring those responsible to justice.
At Longo Biggs, Injury Law, we could help you understand your legal options and determine how much compensation you could receive in an injury claim. Our skilled personal injury attorneys could help you understand the details of your case and guide you through legal proceedings.
What Determines Fault in A Car Accident?
In a car accident case, the court assigns fault based on each party’s contribution to the collision. The party that holds the majority of the blame is responsible for compensating the injured party. Reckless actions that may contribute to fault include speeding, aggressive driving, distracted driving, and drunk driving.
Comparative Fault Laws
It is important to note that Missouri follows the pure comparative fault doctrine in vehicle collision claims. Under this law, an injured party who is partially responsible for the car crash will have their compensation reduced by their percentage of fault. A car wreck attorney in Sunset Hills could advise an injured party on their best course of action when arguing against partial fault.
State-Required Minimum Insurance Policies
Under Missouri Revised Statues § 303.150, all drivers must have liability insurance that covers at least $25,000 in physical injury per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as $25,000 in property damage per accident. Although these are the state-mandated minimums, the negligent driver’s insurance may have greater limits against which an injured party could submit a claim.
If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, their auto insurer is obligated to add uninsured motorist coverage equal to their bodily injury liability policy. A knowledgeable attorney could provide more information about how insurance works in car accident cases.
Compensation Available to Accident Victims in Sunset Hills
When one party suffers harm due to another party’s actions, they are entitled to pursue compensation. In a personal injury claim, financial compensation is known as damages. Damages can take on many forms under the law. Economic damages seek to compensate an injured party by covering monetary expenses, such as:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical care costs
- Damage to the vehicle or other property
- Lost wages
- Lost capacity to earn income
Non-economic damages cover losses that do not have a monetary value. Some of the most common non-economic damages include emotional distress, loss of consortium, physical pain, and mental suffering. Proving non-economic damages can be difficult, which is why injured parties should work with a local auto accident attorney to get the settlement they deserve.
The attorneys at Longo Biggs, Injury Law have aggressively fought to achieve great outcomes in many motor vehicle accident cases. No matter the details of the collision, a skilled attorney could help injured parties recover finances and obtain additional assistance for future expenses related to the accident.
Punitive Damages in Sunset Hills
Punitive, or compensatory, damages are there to punish the offending party. A dedicated lawyer at Longo Biggs, Injury Law must prove the defendant acted egregiously and/or intentionally in a car accident case for punitive damages to be awarded.
In Missouri, punitive damages are limited to egregious conduct that is so severe that it offends the conscience. Drunk driving, drag racing, excessive speeding—defined as over 100 miles per hour or more—often leads to punitive damages.
Compensatory damages could also be awarded if the plaintiff’s lawyer could prove the defendant caused the accident on purpose. If someone is hit in an accident by the person behind them and the attorney proves the accident was intentional, the defendant’s insurance may not cover it.
Lawyer’s Role in Recovering Punitive Damages
If the attorney believes the facts could lead to punitive damages, they are going to be extremely aggressive throughout the entire case. While proving punitive damages is difficult, it is even more rare for an insurance company to just give a settlement with the punitive damages included. Therefore, if the facts line up, the attorney will strive to go to trial.
In addition, the personal injury law profession is pushing for punitive damages to be awarded whenever evidence is present that the defendant was using a cell phone, especially to text. This is because the Department of Motor Vehicles has reached the conclusion that texting while driving is more dangerous than drinking and driving.
Reach Out to a Sunset Hills Car Accident Attorney Today
The aftermath of a car crash can be devastating. From vehicular damage to serious medical injuries, the entire ordeal can be overwhelming. As always, your health should be your primary concern. However, once you have taken care of yourself, it is time to seek compensation for your property damage and medical bills.
An experienced Sunset Hills Car accident lawyer could handle your case on your behalf. Our legal team is ready to schedule an appointment to review your claim. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and get started.