You cannot prevent other drivers on Missouri roads and highways from acting carelessly and causing accidents. But you can take charge of the situation after the accident by making the right decisions about hiring a skilled car accident lawyer. Our lawyers have extensive experience in handling car accidents. We will listen carefully to your concerns and offer trusted guidance.
The attorneys at Sansone, Sumner & Lauber focus on helping our fellow citizens in St. Louis who have been injured in car accidents caused by negligence. Our firm has obtained millions of dollars in compensation for our clients who have sustained serious injuries as a result of the negligence of others. If you have been harmed by another driver’s carelessness or disregard for safety, we will fight for you. You need a strong advocate who understands what you are going through and can help you recover from a car crash. We do not represent insurance companies or large corporations.
How Much is My Car Accident Settlement Worth?
After a serious car accident, a knowledgeable attorney will assess your injuries and property damage in order to prepare a claim and try to negotiate a fair settlement. The settlement of a car accident should reflect the extent of your financial losses and other damages.
Damages in a car accident include specific costs such as your medical bills, lost income and the costs of repairing or replacing a damaged automobile. Other damages include compensation for pain and suffering associated with injuries caused by a car accident. A car accident settlement includes an approximation of what a jury might determine for pain and suffering. More severe injuries—such as paralysis, fractures, brain trauma, scarring and disfigurement—are typically valued higher than less serious injuries such as whiplash and soft tissue strains and sprains.
An out-of-court settlement allows you to receive money more quickly after a car accident. A settlement may be reached at any time, even while a car accident case is being tried in court. Insurance companies will typically make a lowball offer if you try to reach a settlement without the help of a lawyer. Obtaining a just settlement typically requires aggressive negotiation by an experienced car accident lawyer.
Car Accidents Cases We Have Handled
The car accident lawyers at Sansone, Sumner & Lauber seek the maximum amount available for people who have been harmed though no fault of their own and need aggressive legal representation to get back on feet.
Missouri Drunk Driving Accident.
Our firm represented a St. Louis area pedestrian who was dragged by a drunk driver who he was trying to assist and severely injured.
Drunk Driving Car Crash and Brain Injury.
Our car accident lawyers negotiated a substantial settlement for a client who sustained a brain injury in an Illinois car accident caused by a drunk driver in a pickup truck.
Rear-end Car Crash.
Car accident attorney Ben Sansone obtained a settlement for client who sustained spinal injuries when his vehicle was struck from behind by a driver who failed to stop.
Our St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You After an Accident
We will investigate your car accident thoroughly, interview witnesses and identify all the potentially responsible parties. If the car accident was complex, we may work with a traffic reconstruction expert to pinpoint how the accident occurred. We know what questions to ask and where to find the evidence needed to build a strong legal case.
We will review your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries caused by the car accident and make an assessment of any future medical costs or modifications to your home required because of your injury.
After preparing all evidence, we will submit a claim to the insurance company of the at-fault driver or drivers reflecting the full value of your losses. If the insurance company refuses to make a fair settlement offer, we will file a personal injury lawsuit and seek justice in the courtroom, where we are confident of our litigation skills.
We will keep you informed of our progress on your behalf and any settlement offers that are made. We will advise you of whether a settlement offer represents fair value so that you can make an informed decision about whether to accept or proceed with the lawsuit
We will stand beside you through the entire process and handle your case on a contingency fee basis so that you do not pay any legal fee unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.
How the Missouri Legal System Treats Auto Accidents
Motorists are required to drive their cars safely at all times. Under Missouri law, automobile drivers are required to operate their cars on public roads with the highest degree of care—essentially what a careful or prudent driver would do under similar circumstances.
For example, if a road is a slick a prudent driver would slow down to a speed that was safe for the road conditions to avoid a car accident. A prudent driver remains vigilant at all times and avoids distractions such as reading text messages or email. A prudent driver brakes if a traffic light turns yellow at an intersection rather than trying to speed through the intersection before the light flashes red. Many car crashes are preventable if drivers act cautiously and drive defensively.
Drivers who fail to fulfill the legal duty to drive carefully are liable for injuries they cause in a car accident. A legal concept known as “proximate causation” comes into play. It essentially means an injury has to be reasonably foreseeable as a result of an accident. For example, physical and mental injuries that result from the trauma of a car collision caused by another driver are reasonably predictable. However, to prove that, you will want a car accident attorney who has experience handling those legal battles.
Types of Car Accidents Our Attorneys Handle
Our lawyers have extensive experience representing individuals injured in many types of car accidents. The common accident scenarios involve:
Speeding—Many serious car crashes are caused by drivers who are exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for existing road conditions. Drivers who speed reduce the amount of time they have to avoid an accident and put others motorists a risk. According to federal traffic data, speeding was a contributing factor in 35 percent of the fatal crashes in Missouri in a recent year.
Accidents at intersections are another common type of car accidents. Approximately 40 percent of all car accidents every year occur at intersections. Most car accidents at intersections are caused by driver error such as failure to yield the right-of-way.
Failure to Yield—When turning left at an intersection, the driver must yield to oncoming cars unless the driver has a left turn arrow. According to Missouri law, a driver attempting to make a left turn is required to yield when another vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction and is close enough to the intersection that it is an immediate hazard. Many intersection accidents are caused by drivers misjudging the speed of approaching traffic and turning left without adequate time to clear the intersection.
T-Boned at an Intersection — Many serious collisions at intersections involve drivers running red lights. Most drivers recognize that running a traffic light is very dangerous. Drivers may try to accelerate to beat a changing traffic light and run a red light. Auto accidents caused by drivers running red lights are preventable. The police investigation and witness statements from other motorists can provide proof that a driver ran a red light and caused a crash. Often, the police will charge a motorist who runs a red light with speeding or reckless driving.
The most common type of collision that occurs when a driver runs a red light is a “T-bone accident.” These collisions in which one car slams into the side of another car can produce serious injuries, including significant head injuries and neck injuries caused by the snapping of the head sideways upon impact.
Rear-Ended by Another Car—Rear-end collisions also are common car accidents at intersections. The driver in the back is presumed to be at fault unless the car in front stopped abruptly and without signaling. Distracted drivers who do not realize the car in front has braked or the traffic signal has turned red cause many rear-end collisions. More than a fourth of car accidents are rear-end collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Questions & Answers about Car Accidents
Why hire a car accident lawyer?
You should consult with a lawyer if you have been seriously injured by another motorist or if you disagree with an insurance company’s assessment of fault in an accident. Hiring a lawyer shows an insurance company that you are serious about being treated fairly. An attorney who is experienced at handling car accident cases will explain your legal options and will have an informed perspective on the fair value of your claim including medical bills
, loss of income and other expenses. An experienced attorney will negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that reflects the full value of your claim and will not let an insurance company take advantage of you.
What to do after a car accident
It is important to keep calm, stay safe and remain focused after a car accident. The following are six important steps to take after a car accident:
- Report the accident to the police after checking to see if anyone needs an ambulance
After a car crash, it is important to assess the injuries of yourself and others involved in the accident. Get medical attention immediately for anyone who is injured. Rather than attempting to move an injured person, which has the potential to make their injuries worse, summon emergency medical assistance. Report the crash to the police or the Missouri State Police and inform the emergency dispatcher how many people need emergency medical aid. Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights, and then find a safe location to wait for the police to arrive. Do not let an at-fault driver talk you out of calling the police. A police report of the accident will be essential to have if you need to file a claim to recover compensation.
- Get license and insurance information from other drivers
The Missouri Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law requires all drivers to carry at liability insurance in the event of a car crash. Exchange insurance and vehicle registration numbers, in addition to personal contact information with the other drivers involved in the accident.
- Get names and contact information of witnesses
Law enforcement will generally take statements from witnesses at the scene of a car accident. It is always a good idea to make note of anyone who may have witnessed what happened, and request their contact information.
- Take photos of accident scene with phone camera
Use your phone camera to document the accident. Photos at the accident scene may provide critical evidence to support your accident claim. They may show your injuries, the amount of damage to your vehicle, as well as road, traffic, and weather conditions that may have led to your accident.
- Get medical evaluation (even if you believe you are uninjured)
A seemingly minor injury can have serious consequences on your overall health. Some injuries are not immediately apparent after an accident and may take hours or days to appear. Seek a medical assessment and inform the doctor who treats you that you have been in a car accident. Medical records play a valuable role in insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, so make sure you are examined by a physician as soon as possible.
- Consult with a personal injury lawyer about your legal options
What to do with insurance after a car accident
Missouri law requires vehicle owners and drivers to have liability insurance to cover injuries and damage that they cause to others, as well as uninsured motorists insurance to cover injuries to them and their passengers in collisions with motorists who have no insurance. Drivers are required by law to have proof of insurance in the vehicle. You should notify your insurance company if you have been in a car accident so they can start processing a claim. Have your policy information handy when you call. Provide your insurance company with the name of the other drivers involved and their insurance information. Also provide the insurance company with the police report or report number if you have it.
How does comparative fault affect my car accident claim?
Missouri applies the doctrine of comparative fault when assessing injury claims. If you are partly to blame in an accident, any compensation that you receive may be reduced by your degree of fault. Insurance companies investigate a car accident and assign a percentage of fault to each motorist involved in the crash. An insurance company may make a settlement offer based on its investigation of the accident
and assessment of each driver’s fault. For example, if an insurance company estimates that your damages are $100,000 and that you are 25 percent at fault for the accident, then you would be eligible to receive $75,000. If you disagree with an insurance company’s assessment of your fault in an accident, you should consult with a lawyer about your legal options.
What information should I get after car accident?
You should exchange the following information with the others involved in an accident:
- Name and address;
- Driver’s license number;
- Make and model and year of vehicle;
- Vehicle identification number;
- Insurance company and policy number.