St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Image

Motor vehicle accidents cause thousands of injuries and fatalities every year and cost billions in property damage, medical treatment, and lost wages. If you or a loved one have been involved in a serious car accident in the St. Louis, Missouri area, call Goldblatt + Singer today.  A St. Louis car accident lawyer from our legal team will listen to your story and help you make an informed decision about what legal solution to pursue.

Call (314) 888-1000 or contact us online for a free consultation. In the meantime, check out our client testimonials and client case results. Goldblatt + Singer has won millions of dollars in compensation for past car accident case clients.

Why Choose Goldblatt + Singer in St. Louis?

  • We prioritize car accident clients and offer skilled and trusted legal guidance from start to finish.
  • We will maintain open communication throughout your car accident case to ensure it is given the attention it deserves and your goals are met.
  • Our St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we only get paid when you do. You pay nothing unless your case is won.

How Can a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

A car accident can lead to serious injuries, expensive medical treatment, huge hospital bills, and even death. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a recent car collision, a Goldblatt + Singer attorney can help in several important ways.

How is fault determined in a car accident

We help build your car accident case

Primarily, your legal counsel will help you build a car accident case so that you receive fair compensation for your car accident injuries. This involves conducting an investigation of the accident, taking statements from witnesses, and compiling documentation to prove the extent of the plaintiff’s damages. Your car accident lawyer will also handle court filings and the other aspects of your case.

Handling a car insurance claim

Car accident attorneys in St. Louis can also help with handling insurance claims. After a car crash, dealing with insurance companies can be extremely stressful. Car insurance companies are not there to help you; they send their car accident claims adjusters to ensure every car accident injury claim merits a settlement, and they generally look for any reasons they can find to reduce or deny coverage.

Having a car accident lawyer act on your behalf in your dealings with an insurer can move the process along more quickly and with fewer frustrations.

Support & Peace of Mind

Finally, good attorneys offer peace of mind. With the right car accident attorney, you can rest assured knowing he or she has your best interests at heart. The St. Louis attorneys at Goldblatt + Singer work with your medical providers, work hard on the investigation of your case, and for a speedy resolution of your car accident claim.

Additionally, our other car accident victim and collision attorneys can help coordinate with various relief services and other programs that may prove beneficial to car accident victims. Professional legal assistance will help you focus on your recovery instead of meeting deadlines and filing paperwork.

St. Louis car accident attorney

Missouri Car Accident Laws

Missouri is an at-fault state when it comes to car insurance, so every driver must carry the state’s minimum liability coverage in their auto insurance policy. A Missouri auto insurance policy must include the following:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 for multiple bodily injuries
  • $10,000 for total property damage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage that also meets the above minimum requirements

Although these minimums are relatively affordable for most drivers, past driving history, including accidents, arrests, and other factors, can lead to higher premium payments for some drivers.

Option to Purchase Additional Bodily Injury Coverage

Drivers in Missouri also have the opportunity to purchase additional bodily injury coverage, medical expense coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive accident coverage. Adding these options to your auto insurance policy will increase your premium payment amount, but you will have far more flexibility in the event of an accident and will be less likely to have to pay for any expenses out of pocket.

Reporting Your Car Accident to the Police

Missouri also has specific laws regarding the first steps after an accident. You must call the police to report any accident that causes more than $500 worth of property damage, injuries, deaths, or a driver without insurance coverage.

For more information on Missouri’s car and other motor vehicle accident laws, speak to a St. Louis car accident lawyer at Goldblatt + Singer today.

St. Louis Insurance Claims

Insurance is one of car accident victims’ most complicated and stressful issues. Insurance companies exist to make money, and they do so by collecting premium payments from policyholders. The insurer loses money when it has to pay out on claims, so claims adjusters look for any reasons they can find to reduce a settlement amount or deny a claim.

Typically, a claims adjuster will attempt to assign the claimant some measure of fault for the accident, citing that fault as justification for reducing policy coverage or denying a claim.

Filing an Insurance Claim After a Car Accident

When you get into an accident with an at-fault driver, his or her insurance coverage is the first line of compensation for you. You will need to file a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance, but you may need to resort to claiming against your own policy in some situations. For example, if you suffer serious injuries in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may be able to collect compensation through a car accident lawsuit, but that won’t happen immediately. In the interim, an insurance claim against your own policy can help you manage your medical expenses and vehicle repair costs. Additional coverage will afford you more flexibility as well.

A St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Can Handle the Insurance Company

Having a car accident attorney handle your interactions with an insurer is a great way to encourage a fair settlement offer on your St. Louis car accident claim. If you encounter any resistance or believe your insurer is not acting in good faith, your lawyer can also handle these issues. Sometimes, just knowing you have a St. Louis car accident attorney can compel an insurance company to be more reasonable in resolving car accident claims.

How Will I Pay My Medical Bills?

Many people who suffer serious injuries in car accidents wonder how they will manage their medical bills, especially when they are not at fault for their own car accidents. An at-fault driver will not have to pay your medical expenses as they occur but instead will need to repay you for the total cost of your medical expenses once you are no longer receiving medical treatment for your injuries.

The right car collision law firm can make a huge difference in your recovery from serious injuries. Goldblatt + Singer has experienced motor vehicle accident lawyers who can negotiate a settlement of your medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering.

St. Louis car accident lawyer

What to Do After a Car Accident

If you or a loved one becomes involved in a car accident, the first step is to remain as calm as possible until you can stop your car.

Check for Injuries, Remain at the Scene, and Wait for Police

Check yourself for injuries and call 911 if no one else already has. Do not move if you have sustained serious injuries or you risk worsening your condition. Wait for emergency medical responders to arrive. If you can move, check to see if anyone else involved needs help, and then wait for the police to arrive. Even if you believe you were not at fault and the damage is minimal, leaving the scene of an accident is a very bad idea. You may face a hit-and-run charge later.

Take Photos of the Accident Scene and Your Vehicle

While you wait for the police, take the opportunity to capture photos of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved, and your injuries. Having pictures of these things immediately after the accident can help tremendously in a later lawsuit.

Cooperate With the On-Scene Police

Once the police arrive, answer their questions truthfully and concisely without admitting any fault. After the police conduct their interviews, they will allow you to leave while the accident scene is being cleaned. It’s important to take pictures of debris, skid marks, and nearby landmarks. These pictures can help the jurors in your personal injury case form a more accurate picture of events as they occurred in your accident. You will be able to obtain a copy of the police report after the police officers file it at their duty station.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

After the police allow you to leave, seek medical attention immediately, even if you believe your wounds are minor. Some injuries may not show symptoms immediately, and some internal injuries may not be noticeable for quite some time after a serious accident. Have a physician conduct an examination, and make sure you tell the doctor you were involved in an auto accident.

The doctor will provide you with a report of your medical condition, prognosis, and future treatment options. The medical report you receive from your doctor and the police report for your accident will be the foundation of your personal injury lawsuit.

Leading Causes of Car Accidents in St. Louis

Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, many of which involve driver error. Some of the leading causes of collisions in St. Louis include:

Distracted Driving

Cell phones, eating, daydreaming, children in the backseat, or following directions can easily take a driver’s focus away from the road. Even if it’s only for a split second, a distracted driver can cause a catastrophic accident.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, even prescription medications, dramatically impairs a driver’s ability to make decisions, react quickly, and operate a vehicle safely.

Drowsy Driving

According to the National Safety Council, fatigued drivers are three times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Speeding

Speed limits are in place to promote safety. The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop to avoid an accident.

Reckless Driving

Driving behaviors such as speeding, erratic lane changes, failure to yield the right-of-way, and failure to obey traffic signs and signals can easily contribute to an accident.

Road Conditions

Inclement weather such as rain, snow, or thunderstorms, construction zones, gravel, and dirt roads can all pose a serious threat to drivers—for example, by causing low visibility or making it challenging to maintain control.

Damaged or Defective Auto Parts

If just one part of a car is defective or poorly installed and fails, the entire vehicle can be affected, which can lead to a serious crash.

Most Common Car Accident Injuries

Here are some of the common types of injuries involved in car accident claims:

  • Whiplash: A common soft tissue injury caused by a person’s neck being ‘whipped’ violently back and forth. Whiplash can be excruciating and may take a considerable amount of time to heal.
  • Broken Bones: The impact of a car accident can cause severe bone fractures. If the bone chips and the fragment moves through the body, it can cause internal organ damage.
  • Head Injuries (TBIs): Concussions and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be life-changing and may cause permanent cognitive or physical impairments.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Even a tiny amount of damage can have catastrophic consequences. A spinal cord injury can result in loss of range of movement, partial or total paralysis, permanent cognitive impairment, and loss of control over basic bodily functions.
  • Disfigurement: Burn injuries, lacerations, or severe road rash can leave car accident victims permanently scarred or disfigured.
  • Internal Injuries: Damage to internal organs can easily go undetected but is life-threatening if not treated immediately.
  • Emotional Distress: Not all car accident injuries are purely physical. In some cases, car accident victims can suffer from severe psychological symptoms, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, insomnia, terror, and others.

All injuries from car accidents require immediate medical treatment, especially since it can take up to 72 hours for symptoms of a severe injury to fully materialize.

How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?

Each case is unique in its facts, so there is no way to know exactly how much your car accident claim is worth. However, an attorney can give you an accurate estimate of the amount of compensation you are entitled to after considering the following factors:

  • The severity of your injuries.
  • The expected length of your recovery.
  • How your pain and suffering impact your life.
  • Whether you will require ongoing medical care, adaptive equipment, or home modifications.
  • How much income you have lost, and are you anticipated to lose in the future?
  • Diminished earning capacity if the injury prevents you from making the same income level as before the accident.
  • The strength of evidence against the at-fault driver.
  • Whether there is evidence that you contributed to the accident.
  • Whether there were any aggravating circumstances (e.g., the at-fault party was driving drunk, texting, etc.).
  • The at-fault party’s policy limits.

The at-fault driver’s policy limits can play an essential role in your recovery since their insurance company is not required to pay compensation beyond them. As a result, if your damages exceed the policy limits, your damages may not be completely covered. If that were to occur, your team of St. Louis car accident lawyers will explore other options for recovering the difference. For instance, suing the at-fault driver personally or holding another party liable that also contributed to the accident.

How Long Can It Take to Recover Compensation in a Car Accident Case?

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Image 2How long it will take to recover compensation after a car accident is unique in each case, often due to its complexity, whether the fault is disputed, and the severity of your injuries. In the best-case scenario, the insurance company will settle your claim within 30 days. However, here is an alternative timeline to give you a general idea of how long a case can take:

The First Six Months

If you are severely injured, the first six months are often dedicated to recovering. Your attorney will advise you not to settle your case until you recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). That way, you understand the full extent of your physical limitations, related losses, and the impact on your future.

During this time, your team of St. Louis car accident lawyers will investigate to determine which parties are liable and gather evidence to support your claim. Once you heal, your attorney will carefully draft and send a demand letter to the at-fault party’s insurance company to begin negotiations.

Months Six to 12

If you cannot reach an agreement with the insurance company, you and your attorney may choose to file a lawsuit. In St. Louis, you typically have five years from the date of the accident to file suit under the state’s statute of limitations law. Keep in mind that your case can still settle at any point, even once the trial has begun, and oftentimes, filing the lawsuit is enough to prompt the insurer to resolve a St. Louis car accident case.

Months 12 to 18

The discovery portion of your lawsuit will begin, which takes up the majority of the process. Both sides to the lawsuit will often send interrogatories, take depositions, hire expert witnesses for trial, and the defense (at-fault party) may request an independent medical examination.

Months 18 to 24 and Beyond

The remaining time will involve further negotiations, possibly mediation, and trial if necessary. A trial can take anywhere from a few days to several months to complete. If you are awarded financial compensation, it will often be dispersed to your attorney within 30 days of successful mediation or a favorable verdict.

Can St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers Help Me Recover More Compensation?

Studies show that car accident victims with legal representation often recover two to three times more in compensation, even after lawyer fees. Insurance companies can be very challenging to work with. If you handle the claims process alone, the insurance adjuster will know you do not intend to go to trial. Here are a few tactics of intimidation you may experience:

  • The adjuster may try to get you to admit to something you didn’t do in a recorded statement.
  • The adjuster may tell you that you were at fault and deny your claim, even if it is valid.
  • The adjuster may claim that your medical records are insufficient and that you must use one of their approved medical professionals to verify your injuries. Ultimately, the insurance company is looking to prove that your injuries are not as severe as you claim.
  • The adjuster may delay payment on your claim for an extended period, making you desperate to settle, even if it is for far less than you deserve.

Our experienced St. Louis car accident attorneys will handle all communication with the insurance company and protect you in these situations. They will not settle for less than you deserve and will go to trial for you to obtain fair compensation.

Damages and Compensation for Car Accidents

At Goldblatt + Singer, our St. Louis car accident attorneys can help injured drivers secure compensation for their:

Economic Damages

Compensation for verifiable monetary losses, such as:

  • Medical Expenses: Current and future medical bills, including any treatment you may need, beginning from the accident. For example, doctor appointments, surgeries, hospitalizations, physical therapy, prescription medications, home modifications for disability, and more.
  • Lost Income: Reimbursement for the income you lost due to the accident and any wages you will lose in the future. This compensation can also include diminished earning capacity if your injuries leave you unable to do your job at the same level you did before the accident.
  • Property Damage: Money for the repairs or replacement of your vehicle if it is a total loss and any other items damaged in the crash. For example, your phone, laptop, clothing, etc.

Non-Economic Damages

Compensation for subjective, non-monetary losses.

  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured due to the accident and your injuries. The more severe your injuries, the higher the amount of pain and suffering damages you are likely to receive.
  • Emotional Distress: If the accident caused any psychological conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, etc.).
  • Loss of Consortium: This type of compensation is meant to reimburse a victim’s family for the loss of:
    • Companionship
    • Sexual relationship
    • Performing household chores
    • Caring for children
    • Affection and love
    • Support and guidance
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life: If you can no longer engage in previously enjoyable activities.
  • Punitive Damages: When a defendant’s behavior is extremely reckless, you may be entitled to punitive damages that are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from similar actions. While punitive damages can be difficult to prove, a St. Louis car accident attorney from Goldblatt + Singer can help you build your case.

Building a Car Accident Case

Once you’ve handled your immediate medical concerns, secure representation from a reliable St. Louis car accident attorney to start the claims process. To succeed in a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was negligent, and his or her negligence directly resulted in the plaintiff’s damages. There are four elements to negligence in personal injury cases:

  1. Duty. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care in the given situation. Drivers have a duty of care to follow traffic laws and operate their vehicles responsibly, so this element is relatively easy to establish and typically requires proving the defendant was present for the accident.
  2. Breach. Next, the plaintiff must show how the defendant breached his or her duty of care. This could be speeding, texting while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, failing to signal at the appropriate time, aggressive driving, or any number of factors.
  3. Damage. The plaintiff can only file a lawsuit if he or she suffered a measurable loss. This can include economic damages like medical expenses and property damage as well as non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
  4. Causation. Finally, the plaintiff must establish a link between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s damages. Typically, this requires proving the plaintiff’s damages would not have occurred but for the defendant’s negligence or that the plaintiff’s damages were more likely than not the results of the defendant’s negligence.

Contact a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Today

Goldblatt + Singer has helped clients in Missouri since 1949, and our legal team would like to put our experience to work in your car accident case. Contact us online today or call (314) 888-1000 to schedule a free consultation about your car accident claim, and we will let you know how we can help.

St. Louis Car Accident Case FAQ

Do I need a lawyer if the insurance company offers a settlement?

Even if the insurance company offers a settlement, consulting with a St. Louis car accident attorney is advisable before accepting it. Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts, and an attorney can help ensure the settlement amount adequately covers your current and future expenses related to the accident.

How much does it cost to hire a car accident lawyer?

Most St. Louis car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay if you win your case. The lawyer’s fee is typically a percentage of the settlement or award. This arrangement makes legal representation accessible without upfront costs.

What if the other driver is uninsured or underinsured?

If the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, you may still be able to recover compensation through your own insurance policy, particularly if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. St. Louis car accident attorneys can help you navigate these claims and explore other potential sources of compensation.

Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for the accident?

Under Missouri’s comparative fault system, you can still file a claim even if you were partially at fault. However, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. St. Louis car accident attorneys can help you understand how this may impact your case and work to minimize your level of fault.

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