A total of 35,766 fatal car accidents happened on US roadways in 2020. Another 1,593,390 accidents resulted in injuries, and 3,621,681 accidents caused property damage. That means a total of 5,250,837 auto collisions happened over a single year.
When you’re involved in an accident, the last thing you want to think about is how to file a personal injury claim. But your claim could be denied if you do nothing or handle it improperly.
If you have been involved in an auto accident in St. Louis, this step-by-step guide will show you how to take action and get the compensation you deserve.
To make sure you have all the information you need for your auto accident claim, it’s important to keep a log of all phone calls. You should also keep a detailed list of all expenses and copies of any medical bills or police reports that may be relevant to your case. If someone else was injured in the accident, ask them to do the same thing.
If something happens after the accident that affects how much money you get back (like having surgery or losing work), write down those things as well. They can be included in the settlement offer from the insurance company later on down the road.
Notifying Your Insurance Company
According to Forbes, drivers in St.Louis, Missouri, are required to have the following insurance protection in place:
- USD 25,000 per person in bodily injury coverage
- USD 25,000 per accident in property damage liability protection
- USD 50,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage
In case you are hurt in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, Missouri law requires $50,000 per accident and $25,000 per person to be paid by your uninsured coverage.
Once you’ve made sure everyone is okay, you need to notify your insurance company and give them all your information about the accident.
Seeking Medical Attention
If you are injured in an auto accident, you need to seek medical attention. You may not think it’s necessary at first, but if you don’t go to the emergency room and get checked out, it can be difficult to prove later on that the car crash caused your injuries.
You should also ask for copies of all of your medical records and keep them with your records so that if there are any disagreements about what happened during treatment or recovery time.
For example, if someone claims that they saw your injuries before they occurred, then these documents will serve as proof that, indeed, these injuries came from my car wreck.
Obtaining a Police Report
According to Nolo, you can obtain a police report in two ways. One is through payment, and the other is free.
To get a paid copy of the police report, you need to request it from the local law enforcement officers in St. Louis who drafted the report. The investigating officer, before leaving the accident scene, typically will hand you a receipt with the identification number for the police report.
You can call the traffic division of the local law enforcement agency and pay the administrative fee (usually around $15) to get a copy.
To obtain a free copy of the police report, you can ask your insurance adjuster who is handling your claim to get you a copy.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
The most important step in filing an auto accident claim is to hire an attorney. A qualified Personal Injury Lawyer in St. Louis can help you collect the necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
When hiring a personal injury lawyer, there are several factors to consider:
- Experience – How long has the attorney been practicing law? How many cases has he/she handled? Does he/she have experience with auto accidents like yours?
- Reputation – Does anyone you know recommend this person as trustworthy and competent? Are there any complaints against him/her on social media sites like Yelp or Google Reviews that would make you hesitant to hire him/her? If so, keep looking.
Filing a Claim
The process of filing a claim is straightforward and relatively uncomplicated in St. Louis. Here’s what you can expect:
- You will submit your auto accident claim to the insurance company of the person who caused your damages. This can be done in person or by mail, but you must do this right away or within 30 days of being in an accident, if possible.
- The insurance company will then send out an adjuster to assess your damages and determine whether or not they are covered by their policyholder’s auto insurance policy (if there is one).
If so, they will pay for those repairs. If not, they won’t cover any costs associated with fixing them after the accident (unless there was another cause).
Negotiating a Settlement
Now that you have filed your claim, it’s time to negotiate with the other party.
The first step in negotiating a settlement is determining how much money you are looking for. Your attorney will help determine what amount would be fair and reasonable based on the facts of your case.
If negotiations fail and litigation becomes necessary, then it’s time for trial.
Litigating the Claim
If the parties cannot agree on a settlement, then either party may request that their case goes before a judge so that he or she can decide what should happen next. This is known as litigation.
However, litigants often prefer not to go through such formal proceedings because they involve much more time than simply settling out of court.
Although sometimes these legal battles are necessary when dealing with particularly challenging situations like car accidents where the fault isn’t clear cut or multiple parties were involved in causing damage or injury
We hope that this guide has helped you understand the steps involved in filing an auto accident claim in St.Louis, Missouri. It can be a challenging process, but it’s worth it to get the compensation you deserve. We wish you luck on your journey.