How to Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident
Vehicles are an incredibly important component of our lives. We rely on them for transportation to work, school, and many other destinations near and far. However, our heavy reliance on cars means that each of us is susceptible to being involved in a car accident.
On average, there are approximately 40,000 fatal car accidents per year in the United States. Given this high number of car accidents, it’s in your best interest to learn the steps to take following a car accident to protect your rights and increase your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Missouri and Kansas Car Accident Laws
Car accident laws vary from state to state. Namely, states either follow an “at-fault” or a “no-fault” policy. Missouri is an at-fault state while Kansas is a no-fault state.
In at-fault states, the person who is responsible for causing the car accident is liable for any damages resulting from the crash, including physical harm and property damage. Typically, the at-fault driver’s car insurance policy will pay for the damages up to the policy limit, at which point the at-fault driver is responsible for the outstanding balance.
In no-fault states, your car insurance policy pays for your medical bills and other out-of-pocket expenses regardless of which driver caused the accident. This system was designed to reduce the number of small claims going through state courts. However, only about a dozen states in the country have a no-fault policy.
What to Do After a Car Accident
It’s a good idea for every motorist to know the proper steps to take after an accident to ensure they protect their rights and increase their chances of recovering maximum compensation.
Study the following steps so you know what to do if you get involved in a car accident:
Check to see if anyone requires medical attention. First and foremost, check to see whether anyone has been injured in the accident. If so, call 911 and do what you can to help injured victims as you wait for the EMTs to arrive.
Contact the police. It’s important to ensure there is a proper police report as legal evidence documenting the accident. Additionally, a police report may help bolster your case that the other driver was responsible for the accident.
Don’t discuss the accident with the other driver. It’s in your best interest to keep quiet about the accident. Never admit guilt or apologize to the other driver. These words may later be used against you to establish negligence, even if you were not the one at fault.
Collect information from the other driver. Gather the other driver’s car insurance information, contact information, and vehicle information.
Take photos at the scene. Make sure to capture pictures of any injuries or property damage that occurred at the accident scene.
Contact your insurance company. Call your car insurance company and let them know about your accident as soon as possible.
Damages Recovered After a Car Accident
If you suffered injuries or sustained damage to your property in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages from the responsible party or from your car insurance policy to pay for these unexpected expenses. The party from which you receive compensation depends on whether you live in an at-fault or a no-fault insurance state.
The damages you may recover after a car accident include, but are not limited to, the following:
Medical expenses including ambulance fees, in-home care, medical accessories, and more
Lost wages due to missed time at work
Pain and suffering, including physical and emotional trauma
Due to the potential for devastating injuries, property damage, and lost wages that may result after a car accident, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover maximum compensation following the crash.
Recovering compensation may help you pay for the medical treatment for some of the most common car accident injuries, which include the following:
Traumatic brain injuries
Spinal cord injuries
Injuries requiring amputation
Understanding Your Car Insurance Policy
If, for whatever reason, you cannot recover compensation from the other party, or if you were at-fault for the accident, it’s important to keep in mind that your own car insurance policy will come into play when it comes to paying for medical expenses and property damage resulting from the accident.
The amount that your car insurance company pays depends on your specific policy. Your insurance policy will pay for medical expenses and property damage up to your policy limit. After that, you will be responsible for footing the rest of the bill.
Certain aspects of car insurance policies cover different things. The coverage options available in a car insurance policy are outlined below:
Liability: This is the bare minimum insurance required by most states. Liability insurance pays for medical costs and property damage that you inflict upon another driver, up to policy limits.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist: This coverage may help pay for your damages if you are hit by a driver who does not have car insurance.
Collision: This coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that occurs in an accident, such as dents, broken windows, and more.
Comprehensive: This coverage pays for damage to your vehicle that occurs as a result of theft, vandalism, or weather events.
Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Us Today
If you have been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, our Kansas City personal injury attorneys are here to help. At DiPasquale Moore, we can help you sort through issues of liability and work to recover the compensation you need and deserve to pay for any sudden medical expenses or property damage.
Our team of experts will file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If the insurance agent is not willing to offer you maximum compensation, we can aggressively negotiate a settlement that you deserve. When a fair settlement cannot be reached and your case is taken to court, our experienced trial attorney will represent you with top-tier professionalism.
We encourage you to contact DiPasquale Moore at (888) 743-1030 to schedule a free case evaluation.