Sometimes, in rare cases, motor vehicle accidents are caused by a stroke of bad luck, but typically a negligent driver is responsible. In Missouri, a driver is deemed to be negligent if he or she fails to exercise the highest degree of care while driving, causing an accident to occur. If you have been injured in a car accident, you will need to work with an experienced attorney to prove that the negligence of another driver caused the accident. Car accident liability can be complicated, but with the expertise and support of your attorney, you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Car Accident Liability
Before we dig in to the process of establishing car accident liability, let’s discuss what it means to be negligent. The definition of negligence is failure to take proper care in doing something. Unfortunately, this happens every day on the road, from texting teens and distracted parents to foolhardy people driving too fast on slick roads. The following are examples of negligent driving:
- Exceeding the speed limit
- Driving too fast for the road conditions
- Driving too slowly
- Disobeying traffic signals
- Failing to yield
- Being inattentive or distracted
- Texting while driving
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Eating while driving
- Reading while driving
- Stopping over the line at an intersection
- Suddenly stopping
- Failure to turn on headlights in dark conditions
- Failure to dim high beams
- Failure to signal before turning
- Failure to use hazard lights
- Failure to maintain vehicle’s brake lights and headlights
You might notice that driving while intoxicated is not included on the list. Because this form of negligence is extremely dangerous, it isn’t typically classified under negligence laws as a civil violation. Instead, drunk driving is considered a criminal offense and falls under DUI and DWI laws.
HOW TO ESTABLISH CAR ACCIDENT LIABILITY
To prove the negligence of the driver responsible for the accident, you and your attorney will need to accomplish several things. First, you must conduct a thorough investigation of the collision. This will likely include inspecting the scene of the crime, interviewing witnesses and all parties involved, and reviewing police records. Due to the leverage and influence wielded by law enforcement officials, a statement or observation from a police officer can be powerful.
Using this information, you must prove that the defendant breached their duty to drive safely and that their negligence caused your injuries. Next, you will calculate how much you are owed for your injuries, taking into account costs like hospital bills, automotive repair fees, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Finally, you must seek out all potential sources of recovery, looking for insurance policies and types of coverage (of which there may be several) that will compensate you.
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim following a car accident, contact Replogle, Tyrrell, & Robertson, LLC. Our full-service law firm has offices in Marshfield and Springfield, Missouri, and we are committed to providing our clients with legal expertise and exceptional service. Our attorneys have experience with a variety of personal injury claims, including motor vehicle and boating accidents. Plus, we will not charge you anything until we win your case. To get started, please give us a call at 417-893-5121 (Springfield) or 417-859-3979 (Marshfield). We look forward to hearing from you.