What To Do After a Car Accident in Missouri
Car accidents are unexpected events that can lead to serious injuries and long-lasting consequences. If you’re injured in a car accident in Missouri, it’s crucial to know the proper steps to take to protect your rights and well-being. At McShane & Brady, we understand the challenges you might face after an accident, and we’re here to guide you through the process of ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve. In this article, we’ll outline the essential steps to take if you’re injured in a Missouri car accident.
The first step to take if you find yourself involved in a car accident in Missouri is to prioritize safety above all else. In the immediate aftermath of the collision, if you are able, ensure that you and everyone else involved are out of harm’s way. Move your vehicles to a safe location, preferably off the road and onto the shoulder if possible. Activating your hazard lights and using reflective markers or flares can help alert other drivers to the situation and prevent further accidents. This crucial step not only reduces the risk of additional collisions but also creates a safer environment for you, other motorists, and emergency responders. By putting safety first, you lay the foundation for handling the situation more effectively and responsibly, setting the stage for the subsequent actions you’ll need to take to protect your well-being and legal rights.
Seek Medical Attention
Some minor accidents may leave you with the initial impression that you have not been injured. Even if you don’t believe you are injured, or if your injuries seem minor, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, might not manifest symptoms right away. Certain injuries stemming from automobile accidents might not become apparent until several days, weeks, or even months following the incident. A medical professional can assess your condition and provide necessary treatment while creating a crucial link between your injuries and the accident in your medical records.
Contact Law Enforcement
Call the local police to report the accident, even if it’s a minor collision. Having an official police report can be valuable for insurance claims and legal proceedings. Provide accurate and detailed information about the accident to the responding officer. Further, we suggest that you obtain a copy of the police report to keep for your records. Having this report could potentially facilitate the insurance claims process and could be helpful and time saving for a personal injury attorney reviewing your case.
Avoid Admissions Of Guilt
After a car accident, it’s crucial to avoid admitting guilt when exchanging information with the parties involved. Even expressing apologies or sympathy to another party might be misconstrued as an admission of fault, even if it’s intended as a courteous gesture. Admitting fault at this early stage can carry serious legal and financial consequences. Instead, prioritize the safety of all parties and collaborate with law enforcement. Maintain factual communication, refraining from speculating about fault until a comprehensive investigation can accurately establish liability.
Collect as much information as possible from the scene of the accident. This includes the names, contact information, and insurance details of all parties involved. Additionally, gather contact information from any witnesses who can provide statements about the accident. Use your smartphone or a camera to take photos of the accident scene, including the damage to all vehicles involved, road conditions, traffic signs, and any relevant landmarks. Visual evidence can be invaluable when establishing liability and proving the extent of damages.
Document Your Experience
Record your account of the accident as soon as you can following the event. If another party involved in the accident makes any statements implying responsibility, ensure you promptly document the details of what was said. This will provide you with a precise account of the exchanged words right at the scene. Jot down your observations of what transpired, including any pertinent details about the scene and the incident itself. Waiting could result in forgetting crucial information that could be pivotal to your case.
Keep track of all documents related to the accident, including medical records, police reports, and correspondence with insurance companies. This documentation will serve as evidence when seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
Don’t Agree To Quick Settlements
Following an injury accident, insurance representatives may begin contacting you almost immediately. This is a common practice insurance companies use to convince you to agree to a speedy but insufficient settlement. Consulting an experienced personal injury attorney before accepting any settlement offer is crucial. An attorney can assess the true value of your claim, gather evidence, and negotiate with the insurance company to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the rightful compensation you deserve.
Notify Your Insurance Company
After the car accident, notifying your insurance company is a critical step in the process. When reaching out to your own insurer, provide accurate and concise information about the accident. Stick to the facts and avoid speculating about fault. Be sure to document the date and time of your call and the name of the representative you speak with. However, when handling calls from other parties’ insurance representatives, it’s advisable to limit your communication. Refrain from discussing the specifics of the accident, your injuries, or any potential settlement. It’s important to remember that the other party’s insurance company is looking to protect their interests. Often their questions are designed to minimize their liability and persuade you into confessing responsibility or agreeing to a swift, undervalued settlement proposal.
We strongly advise that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. In an injury car accident, your legal representative will handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf. This ensures that your rights are safeguarded, your statements are carefully managed, and your attorney can work to maximize your compensation by building a strong case based on evidence and legal expertise.
Be Aware of Time Limits
In accordance with Missouri law, the timeframe for filing a personal injury claim is defined by the statute of limitations. Generally, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims arising from Missouri car accidents is five years from the date of the accident. This means that you have up to five years to initiate legal proceedings seeking compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses resulting from the accident. Failing to file a lawsuit within the applicable statute of limitations can result in losing your right to seek compensation through the legal system. To ensure you’re within the appropriate time limits, it’s recommended to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide you with accurate guidance tailored to your situation.
Speak With An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
To navigate the legal complexities and ensure your rights are protected, consult an experienced personal injury attorney like those at McShane & Brady. An attorney can advise you on the best course of action, negotiate with insurance companies, gather evidence, and represent you in legal proceedings, should your personal injury claim result in a trial. To learn more about the ways a personal injury attorney can assist you following a car accident in Missouri, explore our blog post titled “Do I Need A Lawyer For a Car Accident In Missouri?”.
Being injured in a Missouri car accident can be a challenging experience, but taking the right steps can significantly impact the outcome of your case. The personal injury attorneys at McShane & Brady are here to provide expert legal guidance and help you navigate the complexities of your personal injury claim. By prioritizing safety, seeking medical attention, gathering evidence, and enlisting the help of a skilled attorney, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve sustained injuries in a vehicle accident in or around Kansas City, Missouri, the McShane & Brady law firm is here to provide assistance. We urge you to contact us right away to discuss your situation and to schedule your free consultation. Our legal team has a demonstrated track record of achieving substantial compensation for our clients who have suffered injuries. We can be reached by phone at (816) 888-8010 or via our website.