St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys
More than six million traffic accidents take place per year in the U.S., causing close to 400,000 fatalities and more than 2.5 million injuries. In Missouri alone, 869 people were killed in auto accidents throughout 2015. Missouri car accidents in 2016 are expected to fall close to that number as well.
If you or someone you love has been badly injured in a car accident in the greater St. Louis area, you probably have questions about what your rights are. You’ve heard over and over again that you have to call the insurance company after a crash, but do you know what to do after that? Check out our website, or call 314.444.4444 for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys.
Some Causes Of Car Accidents
Our St. Louis personal injury attorneys handle a variety of different accidents. Stephen Schultz & Josh Myers are considered experts in the field. Here are just some of the types of car accident cases we handle at Schultz & Myers:
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Bad Roads and Guardrail Failures
- Holiday Weekend Wrecks
- Passengers’ Injuries
- Fatal Vehicular Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Poorly Designed Vehicles
- Rural Missouri Accidents
- Backover Accidents
What To Do At The Scene Of The Accident
After a crash, adrenaline your is pumping, you’re checking to see if your passengers are hurt, you’re checking to see if you’re hurt. Injuries can be severe and emotions high. Below is our list of things you should do immediately following an accident:
- Stay at the scene: It is illegal to leave an accident if your car was involved. If you leave, especially if someone has been injured or killed, you can face serious criminal penalties.
- Check on all drivers and passengers: Prioritize people before property damage. Check on all passengers and drivers of other cars. If medical attention is necessary, it’s important that injured victims get help right away. Remember, if someone is unconscious, or has serious neck or back pain, don’t move them. Wait until qualified help arrives unless an imminent hazard requires moving the person.
- Call 911: If there is any physical injury, property damage, or death, call the police right away. If they don’t do it automatically, ask the police for a police report to be filed. Also, it never hurts to take down badge numbers and names of officers.
- Exchange Information: When talking to other drivers, it’s important to be cordial and cooperate. This is a high-stress situation, but you’ll need to exchange names, phone numbers, and addresses. Becoming irate will do nobody any good.
- Talk to Witnesses: If witnesses stopped at the scene, ask them politely for their name, numbers, or addresses. If they’re local, ask if they’ve seen accidents in that stretch of road before.
- Look around: Take note of not only the accident scene, but other factors that may have contributed to the accident. Is traffic high? how is the weather? Notice things that others might overlook.
- Take Pictures: Everyone has a cell phone these days. If possible, take multiple photographs with different angles of the accident scene. If it’s not possible to take pictures at the scene, take pictures of any damage to your vehicle.
- Call your Insurance Company: Tell your own insurance company that you’ve been injured in an accident as soon as possible. It’s important to cooperate with them, and be honest. If you did not cause the crash, you will be primarily dealing with the other driver’s company.
When The Insurance Company Downplays your Injuries
After a car crash, the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident is going to be experienced in dealing with injury and property damage claims. They will be gearing up for the prospect of litigation from the moment they are notified of an injury claim. These insurance companies will often demand a tape-recorded statement. Without an experienced auto accident lawyer, you are at risk of being taken advantage of. Any recorded statement is only for the benefit of the insurance company, not for your benefit.
Insurance adjusters may also request a signed medical release from the injury victim. That allows the insurance company to obtain any of your medical records, regardless of whether they are related to the accident or not. This is unfair! More often than not, the insurance companies of the driver that caused the accident will NOT pay for your medical expenses or authorize you to seek skilled medical care. They are under no legal obligation to do so until there is a resolution of the entire injury claim.
Damage to Your Vehicle
A question that usually arises soon after an accident occurs regards getting your vehicle fixed, or being paid for the damage done to your vehicle in the accident.
Insurance companies typically address these property damage claims soon after the accident. Insurance companies love to argue over property damage claims.
Particularly, they will argue that your vehicle isn’t worth as much as you may think…or they will attempt to fix your vehicle with used second-hand parts.
Don’t fall for the games of the insurance claims adjuster. Get the experience of Schultz & Myers on your side. After all, our car accident lawyers are recognized as leaders in personal injury litigation by our peers. Our St. Louis, Missouri car accident attorneys are consistently featured in legal periodicals, local newspapers, and have been interviewed by the media on countless occasions.
Many victims who are injured in a car accident in Missouri will never recover the full amount of compensation they may be entitled to, because they don’t understand just how much their claim may be worth. They may accept the first offer the unfair insurance company claims adjuster makes and then be left with an inadequate settlement.
After a wreck occurs, drivers and passengers are often disoriented; the adrenaline is pumping, and everything seems to be happening so fast. This is also the time when extreme detail is crucial for obtaining compensation later on. If you’ve been in a recent car accident, print out these Post-Accident Resource pages. They’ll walk you through the process of gathering information and filing a report:
Do I Really Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Every personal injury claim is different. While it is true that not all car accident victims will benefit from hiring a lawyer, we always urge friends and family to at least talk to a lawyer for an opinion.
During your complimentary consultation, our attorneys can help you determine whether you have a case that would need a lawyer. At Schultz & Myers, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means that we get paid a percentage of your final settlement or verdict.
Contingency fees are important because it means there’s no motive for us to “trick” you into hiring us as many injury victims fear. If you would lose money by hiring us, we would lose money representing you.
Put simply, we don’t benefit from bad cases, so we’ll be honest.
What Kind of Damages Could I Recover After an Accident?
Our personal injury attorneys will assess your situation and build a thorough case on your behalf. We can make certain that you are reimbursed for:
- Current and future medical bills
- Current and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
What many don’t think about after a car accident is the time they may lose from work. Car accidents don’t always happen on Friday night, giving you the weekend to recover, so you may take a few days off work. Other times, your injuries are so severe that you’re hospitalized for weeks.
On top of medical bills that keep piling up, you’re unable to work. Our attorneys make sure you don’t have to bear the financial strain while you’re trying to heal your body.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawyer Cost?
We talked about the contingency fee a little bit in the section above. Our lawyers don’t see a dime until we win your case, or the case settles out of court.
As you are going through the legal process, you don’t pay any money. Schultz & Myers Lawyers are paid out of the final settlement or verdict amount.
The contingency fee is a set percentage that is discussed before you even sign on with our firm. Typically, this is about 30-35%, and gets to be about 40-45% if the case goes all the way to trial. We go by the industry standard, so this number is what you can expect from any lawyer.
Contact a Car Accident Injury Attorney in St Louis
Our experienced car accident attorneys advise victims of motor vehicle accidents to speak to legal counsel as soon as practicable. Personal injury attorneys almost never charge for a consultation fee. In fact, remember, consultations with our St. Louis car accident lawyers are always 100% free of charge. If you’re just looking for advice, or need representation for your case, give us a call at 314-403-1760.