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What to Do When in a Car Accident

A woman sits in her car and calls the police after a car accident.

After a car accident, people need to be aware of their legal obligations and responsibilities. In addition, you must understand Missouri’s regulations controlling crashes as a driver so that you can be ready should one happen to you. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in Missouri, it is essential that you take certain steps to preserve the integrity of your claim so that your right to just compensation for any losses or injuries incurred will be preserved. If you have been involved in a car accident and want to learn more about what steps to take next or about your legal options, do not hesitate to contact the experienced car accident attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm.

What To Do When in a Car Accident in Missouri

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are more than 6 million car accidents in the United States annually. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to prepare yourself a little prior to ever being involved in an accident because you might not be able to think straight after an accident, no matter how minor or terrible it may have been. Here are some steps you can take to simplify the claims process, both on the scene and afterward:

Get to Safety

Drive cautiously to the side of the road to avoid obstructing traffic if you are not hurt and the accident was minor. To warn other cars to slow down, keep your hazard lights on and place flares or reflective emergency triangles. Keep the vehicles where they are, though, if the collision is more severe or someone was harmed and proceed to the next step, calling 911.
Even if you don’t believe you were hurt, proceed with caution when exiting your automobile, especially if the collision happened on a highway or busy street. You could be in danger since you may not be making rational decisions following the panic generally associated with being involved in an accident.

Contact the Police

Get in touch with the police and inform them if anyone has been injured. Write down the officer’s name, badge number, and contact details when they arrive on the scene. Make sure to ask the police for a copy of the accident report.

Gather Essential Information

Take images of documents using your phone’s camera or write down everyone who was involved in the accident’s name, address, phone number, and license number. If the driver’s name doesn’t match the registration or insurance documents, determine the person’s link to the car’s owner.
Then, gather all relevant vehicle data, such as the year, make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN. Next, ask witnesses if they would be willing to provide their names, numbers, and descriptions of what they saw. Never divulge personal information, such as your Social Security number or the scope of your insurance policy’s coverage.

Record the Scene

Using the camera, video, and voice memo functions on your smartphone, keep track of the accident’s date, time, and details by taking pictures or videos of the whole area, including any skid marks or property damage. Also, keep track of the names of the streets and the directions that each car was traveling before and after the collision.

If Necessary, Call a Tow Truck

Depending on the extent of the damage, your car might need to be towed to a collision repair facility. Never trust a tow truck that appears at the accident site; always check its qualifications and record all contact information.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

While it could seem alluring to agree to a cash transaction rather than file an insurance claim, failing to notify your insurance provider after a collision may subject you to liability for any accident-related damages. Ensure that you contact your insurance provider no matter how small of an accident you may have been in to avoid issues that may arrive later down the line if you avoid this important step.

Receive Medical Attention

Even though you may feel great immediately following an accident, some injuries take a day or two to show up. So, visit your doctor if you experience pain or strange symptoms because even a minor accident can result in injuries. It’s crucial to keep track of any physical injuries brought on by the collision because your vehicle insurance claim typically covers injuries sustained in an accident. If you delay receiving medical attention, it may damage the integrity of your claim.

Contact a Lawyer

Call a lawyer as soon as you can. To safeguard your rights to receive the compensation you are entitled to under Missouri law and to ensure that you do not take any actions that could compromise a car accident claim, you must have legal representation. To establish liability and obtain compensation for your pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, mental anguish, and other damages, your lawyer can interact with the insurer, gather evidence, and assist you in establishing your case.

How Long Do You Have To Report an Accident

According to Missouri law, you must notify the local police as quickly as possible if you are involved in an accident that causes harm, death, or property damage of at least $500. In addition, a passenger must call the police if the driver is physically unable to do so.

If a collision results in injury, death, or even just property damage, you are required by Missouri law to stop right away. You must give the other party or a police officer your name, address, vehicle registration or license number, and driver’s license number. When the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that results in injury, death, or damage to another person’s property leaves the scene of the injury, damage, or accident without stopping and providing the following information to the other party or a law enforcement officer, that person has committed the crime of leaving the scene of the accident.

When the driver of a vehicle is physically unable to provide prompt notice of an accident, and there was another occupant in the car at the time of the accident who was able to do so, that individual is responsible for providing the notice that the driver was physically unable to deliver.

What Happens if I Don’t Report a Missouri Accident?

You may be found guilty of “leaving the scene of an accident” if you leave the scene without giving your information to another party or a police officer. This crime is a Class A misdemeanor, but if someone was hurt or killed, or if the accident caused more than $1,000 in property damage to someone else, it might be punished as a felony.

Your Legal Duty in Missouri Automobile Accidents Without Injuries

Even if there are no injuries, you must stop immediately after an automobile collision in Missouri that results in property damage. Additionally, you must wait at the site to talk to the other party or a police officer and exchange information.

What Happens in Missouri If I Hit a Parked Car?

In Missouri, you must exchange information with the owner of a damaged parked car. Giving the police your personal information will allow you to fulfill your obligation if you cannot find the owner. When the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident that damages the property of another person leaves the scene of the damage or accident without stopping and providing the following information to the other party or to a law enforcement officer, that person has committed the crime of leaving the scene of the accident.

Call the Experienced Team at Goldblatt+ Singer After an Injury

Allow the Missouri car accident lawyers at Goldblatt + Singer, the St. Louis Injury Law Firm. to deal with the insurance adjusters on your behalf. Call us right away at (314) 888-1000 or use our online form for a consultation. You can depend on our attorneys to fight for your rights to the compensation and benefits you deserve if you were seriously hurt in a Missouri automobile accident.

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