What to Do After a Car Accident in St. Louis
St. Louis and Southern Illinois Personal Injury Lawyers
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What to do after a car accident in St. Louis. Car accidents are an unfortunate reality of the modern world. They can happen to anyone, at any time, and can cause significant physical, emotional and financial damage. If you find yourself in a car accident, it's important to know what to do next to protect yourself and your legal rights. If you're wondering what you should do after a car accident in the St. Louis area, speak to a personal injury attorney at Halvorsen Klote. We've dedicated our practice to ensuring everyday people in the St. Louis area and Southern Illinois have access to the same high-quality legal representation that large insurance companies have. Call us today at 866-382-4167 or contact us online to discuss your case for free.
Immediately After Your Car Accident in St. Louis
The moments immediately following a car accident can be chaotic and overwhelming. However, it's crucial to stay calm and take the following steps:
- Check for injuries — Check yourself and any passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt or unconscious, call 911 immediately and render aid if you can.
- Move to a safe location — If possible, move your car to the side of the road or a nearby parking lot to avoid blocking traffic or being hurt by other cars.
- Stay at the scene — Do not leave the scene of the accident, even if it seems minor. Wait for the police to arrive. Both Missouri law and Illinois law require you to remain at the scene of any accident that causes personal injury or death.
- Call the police — Even if the accident is minor, it's important to call the police to file a report. You're not doing this to get the other person in trouble; you just need police to document the scene and the incident. Police are trained on how to assign fault in a car accident. Their report will be vital for your insurance claim or if you need to file a lawsuit later on.
- Exchange information — Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. You should also get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
- Take photos — Use your phone to take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved, as well as any injuries. Also take photos of the surrounding scene. Seemingly minor details like brake marks – or the lack thereof – can be crucial pieces of evidence later on.
- Don't admit fault — Do not admit fault or apologize, as this can be used against you later. When speaking with police and the other driver, be truthful about how the events occurred, but don't go into too much detail about your actions.
If you or anyone else is seriously injured, seek immediate medical attention by going to the nearest emergency room in St. Louis or requesting an ambulance.
In the Days, Weeks and Months After Your St. Louis Car Accident
After the initial shock of the accident wears off, there are still several things you should do to protect yourself and your legal rights. These include:
- Seek medical attention if you haven't already — Even if you feel fine after the accident, it's important to get checked out by a doctor. Some injuries, such as brain injuries, whiplash or internal bleeding, may not become apparent until days or even weeks after the accident.
- Notify both insurance companies — Contact both insurance companies as soon as possible to report the accident. Most insurance companies require you to file a claim within 30 days after an accident. Be honest and accurate when giving details about the accident, but don't accept fault or responsibility.
- Keep going to medical treatment — Make sure to attend every treatment your physician recommends. This is important not only so you heal properly, but so you get the full compensation you deserve.
- Keep records — Keep a file with all documents related to the accident, including police reports, medical bills and insurance correspondence.
- Don't talk to the other driver's insurance company — If the other driver's insurance company contacts you, don't speak to them without first consulting with a personal injury lawyer. They may try to get you to say something that could hurt your case. NEVER give a recorded statement without speaking to a car accident lawyer first.
- Consult with a car accident lawyer — If you were injured in the accident, it's important to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there's no risk in asking us to look over your case, and there's no reason for us to take on your case if we don't believe we can add significant value to it.
Being in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, but knowing what to do in the aftermath can make a big difference. By following the above steps, you can help protect yourself and your legal rights. If you need further assistance, don't hesitate to reach out to a car accident attorney at Halvorsen Klote for help.
Do I Need a Lawyer For My St. Louis Car Accident Claim?
If you've been in a minor car accident in St. Louis with no injuries or minor injuries, you may be able to represent yourself. However, if you're injuries require a lot of treatment, never accept a settlement offer without consulting with a car accident lawyer first. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, ensure you receive fair compensation and protect your rights.
There are several situations in which you may need a lawyer for a car accident claim, including:
- Serious injuries — If you have suffered serious injuries in the accident, a lawyer can help you pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. The higher your damages, the more the insurance company will fight your claim. That's when you need a car accident lawyer in St. Louis to hold them accountable and get the full compensation you deserve.
- Liability dispute — If there is a dispute over who is at fault for the accident, a lawyer can help you gather evidence and argue your case. The other insurance company will believe their policyholder over you, so you'll need evidence and a legal argument to support your claim.
- Insurance company denial — If you know your claim is valid and the insurance company denies it, a lawyer can help you appeal the decision and negotiate a fair settlement.
- Uninsured or underinsured driver — If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, you'll need to file a claim with your own insurance company. While you might think they'd be willing to help you, unfortunately your own insurance will try to limit your compensation too. Policies and rules surrounding uninsured and underinsured claims are complicated, and you'll need a lawyer to help sort things out.
- Multi-vehicle accident — If there are multiple parties involved in the accident, a lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal issues that may arise. They'll be able to assign the appropriate amount of blame to each party, and pursue all avenues for compensation.
- Wrongful death — If a loved one died as a result of the accident, a lawyer can help you pursue a wrongful death claim and seek compensation for your loss. As these cases result in high damages, you'll likely need to file a lawsuit in St. Louis to make a full financial recovery.
- Legal technicalities — If there are legal technicalities that may impact your case, such as statutes of limitations, rules of evidence, being hit by a government vehicle, getting injured in a hit and run or if you were partially at fault, a lawyer can help you navigate these issues and ensure that your case is properly presented to the insurance company or in court.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer in St. Louis Do For Me?
If you do need a lawyer for your claim, they will be your legal advocate and handle of all of the negotiation and litigation for you. Here are a few ways an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer can help you:
- Investigate the accident — A car accident lawyer can investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. They can review police reports, take depositions, consult with crash experts and gather other evidence like surveillance footage to build a strong case.
- Handle communication with insurance companies — Dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially if you're dealing with injuries and other damages. A car accident lawyer can handle all communication with insurance companies and ensure that you're not taken advantage of.
- Negotiate a settlement — Personal injury lawyers are skilled negotiators and can work to get you a fair settlement for your car accident. They can calculate the cost of your medical bills, lost wages and other damages to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
- File a lawsuit — If your St. Louis car accident lawyer cannot secure fair compensation in negotiations or mediation, your lawyer can file a lawsuit on your behalf to start the process of the case going to trial.
- Represent you in court — If you have to go to court for your car accident, a lawyer can fight for you in trial. They can argue on your behalf, present evidence to support your case and persuade the jury to empathize with you.
- Provide legal advice — An attorney can provide legal advice and answer any questions you may have about the legal process. An experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer should keep you up-to-date on your case. While the ultimate decision is left up to you, a lawyer will offer sound advice on whether it's best to settle or try to get more money.
- Help you receive fair compensation — A car accident lawyer can help you recover your full damages after a car accident, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
- Provide peace of mind — Knowing that you have a knowledgeable and experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer on your side can provide peace of mind during a difficult time. You can focus on recovering from your injuries while your lawyer handles the legal details.
A car accident lawyer can provide valuable assistance and guidance after a car accident. If you've been involved in a car accident in St. Louis, you should at least speak with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer.
What to Do After a Car Accident in St. Louis? Call Halvorsen Klote's Personal Injury Attorneys
A car accident can have a significant impact on your life, and it's essential to know your rights and options. At Halvorsen Klote, we pride ourselves on our high level of customer care and on giving great legal representation to those who normally wouldn't be able to afford it. If you were injured a car accident and want to know what to do next, schedule a free consultation with a Halvorsen Klote St. Louis injury attorney at 866-382-4167 or through our online contact form.