Why you should hire St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Have you recently been injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? If so you are probably dealing with a long list of hardships as a result of someone else’s negligence. Hiring a St. Louis car accident lawyer is the best way for you to get compensated for your financial hardships caused by the other party. A good St. Louis personal injury lawyer will be able to deliver the outcomes you want from your case. However, hiring the right St. Louis car accident attorney can be one of the most important and most difficult decisions you’ll make in your life. There are hundreds of car accident lawyers in St. Louis and finding the right one is no easy task. Check out our blog if you want some advice on what to look for in your hiring a personal injury attorney. Combs and the Combs Law Group is a unique option for you and we hope you give us full consideration when choosing a St. Louis car accident lawyer. Don’t rely on your insurance company to compensate you fairly for your undue hardships. Please contact us today for a free case evaluation.
What To Do If you’re In A St. Louis Car Accident
If you find yourself involved and injured in a car or motor vehicle accident that isn’t primarily your fault, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Any injuries you sustained during the accident should be treated accordingly, and if you’re referred to see other medical providers after the fact, you should do so. If you’re capable, you should gather all the documentation you can at the time of the accident, including photos, witness statements, as well as police and fire reports. Filing a police report can be a critical step in your case since it will usually indicate who was at fault for the accident, so call the police immediately after the accident occurs. Furthermore, you should provide your insurance to the other party as well as request their insurance. Gather up and names and phone numbers of potential witnesses, so that we can contact these people at a later date. The next step would be to contact a reputable St. Louis car accident attorney right away. Chris Combs and Combs Law Group will gladly step in and immediately provide you legal counsel as well as advice on how to navigate the complicated world of car accident insurance claims. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Hiring A St. Louis Car Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has recently been injured in a car accident in Missouri (especially in the St. Louis, MO area), please continue reading to learn how the personal injury lawyer center can help you figure out what you can and should do to protect yourself financially and legally.
Typically, you get into your car every day and drive to work or to a restaurant without any issues or incidents. So if and when you are involved in a car accident, it’s a big deal regardless of whether it was a minor auto accident or a major accident with multiple cars involved. The fact is that when you are involved in a car accident you are knocked off our block a little bit emotionally and physically. We can encounter shock/trauma and/or sustain physical injuries when the accident occurs. There are some key steps you can and should take right after the accident if you are involved in a car accident. These are outlined below under the key information section.
Let’s just assume that you didn’t plan for the accident like most people and you are all of sudden dealing with a very complex problem.
2018: 6,000 Car Accidents Missouri / 900 Car Accident Related Deaths
Hire A Car Accident Lawyer Immediately
Unfortunately, some people don’t know that this is the most important step to take when you’re involved in a car accident where you sustained injuries and you weren’t at fault. They end up speaking with their insurance company or the other parties insurance company and this can lead to a bad outcome. The insurance companies (including your own) are looking to minimize the financial exposure they may incur from the accident. They will push you to agree on a settlement that is much lower than what you deserve. We see this happen quite often in car accident cases in St. Louis and all across Missouri. They will entice people with a low amount of money with the promise to pay it quickly. But ultimately, they are not doing you any favors, so seek out an auto accident lawyer in St. Louis or wherever you live in Missouri. We hope you choose us as you evaluate all the car accident lawyers in St. Louis (STL).
Choosing A Car Accident Lawyer
Deciding which car accident lawyer, or auto accident attorney to work with will be a challenging decision. Throughout the years we’ve isolated some of the essential attributes of a good car accident attorney and we’ve built our practice around them. So as you evaluate different lawyers for car accidents we suggest you look for the following criteria:
- Accessibility – How available and accessible is the St. Louis car accident attorney or the Missouri car accident attorney? Some attorneys spend 70% of their time signing up new cases and 30% of their time fighting the cases they sign up. This allows them to stack cases up and the result is that you end up waiting unnecessarily. These lawyers will avoid you and push you off until they are ready to work your case.
- Expertise – Is the lawyer a good car accident lawyer who can deliver the results you expect? You want to find a car accident lawyer who knows how to deal with insurance companies with an iron fist. Over 90% of car accident personal injury cases are settled out of court, so someone who is able to maximize your payout by leveraging the evidence in the case.
- Integrity – Personal injury lawyers don’t have the best reputations, but not all personal injury firms are unethical and/or out to screw you. When you meet with the lawyers stay away from car accident injury lawyers who are trying to rush you into signing an agreement. They are just looking to get a piece of your car accident settlement as soon as possible.
- Transparency – Honest lawyers have nothing to hide from their clients so you should ask upfront about what types of information will be shared with you as the case proceeds. Remember this attorney is acting on your behalf, so you should be aware of what’s going on in the case and be a part of any big decisions before they are made.
- Compassion – A car accident can be a traumatic event in someone’s life. Therefore you should look for a car accident attorney that understands this and is willing to get you connected with physical and mental health professionals.
Why choose us as your car accident lawyer?
Hiring a personal injury attorney is not an easy decision. You have hundreds of lawyers to choose from in the St. Louis area, and all of them make similar claims. So what makes one better than the other and what makes us different and better than the other personal injury lawyers you are evaluating? The truth is that most people are trying to find the lawyer that can get them the highest settlement amount. And each St. Louis car accident injury lawyer is going to claim they will get you the most dollars.
What they won’t tell you is that you can go to any personal injury lawyer and he will likely get you the same settlement as the “best” personal injury lawyer in St. Louis. That’s because the amount of your settlement is going to be primarily based on the facts of your case. There are other factors that can increase or decrease the amount of your settlement slightly. For instance, if you work with a larger more well-known firm you will probably get less attention or effort because they just want to push through as many cases as possible in the quickest amount of time.
So fighting for an additional several thousand dollars isn’t worth it to them. Whereas with the Combs Law Group we limit the number of cases we handle so that we can focus on getting the maximum amount for our clients. Also, because we aren’t a volume-based firm we can assure you that you will have 24×7 access to your attorney. Whereas with other firms your case will likely be handled by an assistant and to speak with your attorney you will probably have to set up appointments with him or her.
What steps should you take immediately after a car accident?
Regardless of how serious the car accident is or whether anyone is injured the first thing you should do immediately after a car accident is to call the police. Upon arrival, the police will ask you and the other party some questions and possibly get any witness statements. The police officer will then provide you with the official crash report, which will be crucial in your case; so hold onto to this until you choose your personal injury lawyer.
Before the police arrive at the scene (and even after), don’t ever admit any kind of fault or liability to the other party or to the police. Do NOT say you’re sorry to the other driver at any point. Just ask them for their insurance information after confirming they are okay. The police officer will ask you to provide a statement about how the accident happened. You should answer truthfully, so ask the officer for a piece of paper so that you can write down what you recall from the accident. You will then keep this written recording after the police officer has copied it into the car accident report. If you have sustained injuries from the accident (even minor injuries), either call 911 immediately after the auto accident to get an ambulance or tell the police officer you want to get checked out in the hospital. So many people don’t want to make a big fuss over something like a sprained wrist, so they don’t mention it to a police officer or ask to get it treated by a medical professional. What they don’t realize at the time is that even a sprained wrist could be a major issue for them in the coming weeks. For instance, a sprained wrist could cause them to miss work for several weeks because they can’t type without a great deal of pain. That could mean lost wages, or having to use up vacation time unnecessarily. So don’t feel bad about asking to be seen by a medical doctor. Just make sure you get a full diagnostic evaluation for your injury, including any x-rays or MRI’s that may show physical damage to your body.
But the most crucial step you will make after you’ve gone home from the hospital will be to find yourself a qualified car accident lawyer. So if you are someone who was recently injured in a car accident and you believe the other party was at fault, call the Combs Law Group of Missouri. We are located in St. Louis, and handle mostly St. Louis car accident injuries, however, we also handle cases across the state of Missouri.
What information should I get when I’m in a car accident?
It’s in your best interest to gather as much information from the scene of the accident, while also providing as little information to the other party. Be honest and accurate with the police officer, but again avoid taking any responsibility. There are key pieces of information that could help your car accident attorney throughout the negotiation process. A personal injury lawyer is only as good as the information he has at his disposal. We are no different, so gathering as much detail after the accident will help us help you. Therefore, if you or a family member are capable of gathering some information, go ahead and write down the following information or notate it in your cell phone:
- Ask for their driver’s license and insurance information right away. You will want to write down their name(s), address information, and driver’s license number. It’s also handy to take a photo of their drivers license (front & back).
- Write down the license plate number of each car involved in the auto accident and take photos of the license plates as well.
- If there are witnesses at the scene, write down their names, phone numbers, and address information. If they give you statements, write them down and have them sign and date them.
- Photos are key pieces of evidence in most car accident injury lawsuits, so take photos of every car at multiple angles, and inside and outside. Take photos of the tire treads of each tire and take photos of the VIN number in the windshield. Some car accidents may have a starting point and an ending point, so in those cases make sure to take pictures of where the initial starting point of the car accident and any tire marks between in between the two points.
- Most cell phones today have built-in voice recorders, so we suggest you turn that on to record anything the other driver says and to capture anything the witnesses say. It could also help you recall what you said at the scene of the accident months down the road.
How do I deal with minor or major car accident injuries?
You’re driving to work one day and all of sudden someone rear-ends your car going 30 MPH. If you’re unlucky you suffer whiplash and unknown back injuries as well as face abrasions from the air-bag. If you’re lucky you just sprain a wrist and jammed a finger. Regardless, in both of these situations, you will want to get medical attention at the scene. Your insurance company or the other parties insurance company would prefer you not get medical attention because it will strengthen their position in a car injury settlement.
The insurance companies will always question your decisions when it comes to whether you go get medical treatment right after or you wait for weeks or months after the car accident. We advise you to go to the ER to get evaluated by a doctor. If that doctor doesn’t do extensive tests like x-rays or MRI’s you will want to get a referral to a specialist so you can get those done as soon as you are discharged from the ER. The insurance companies will have their own doctors on staff that will question why you didn’t get your injuries checked by a doctor quickly. Remember the insurance companies are not on your side, so you should avoid going to doctors they refer you to.
Lastly, if you don’t have your own medical insurance and will be required to pay out of pocket you have options to get some help. You could ask the medical provider or specialist to see you and set up a payment plan with them. You could also ask them to cover the cost until you get your car accident settlement. If we decide to take your case and you have not been seen by a medical specialist, we can help you by referring you to one of the doctors in our network.
What if I have serious injuries from the car accident?
At the Combs Law Group, we have seen many clients who have been in very serious car accidents. The fact is that the more serious the accident or the injuries the more important it is that you get a personal injury lawyer that knows car accident-related personal injury law. This is important because having a lawyer on your side allows you to focus on your own health.
It’s also important to get medical attention immediately after the accident or shortly thereafter. We see many clients come in several weeks or months after the accident complaining about neck or back pain that they believe is from the auto accident. Unfortunately the longer you wait, the harder it is for your lawyer to connect your injuries to the accident. So we suggest that you if you are even remotely injured in the accident you should go to the ER, your doctor, and any specialists to get tests run right away.
If you’re dealing with major injuries it’s important to adhere to all the recommendations the doctors make. Don’t put anything off because you think it might get better over time. That could result in an issue flaring up again in several months, and then you have to cover the medical costs.
How do I deal with the car insurance companies after the car accident?
After you’re involved in a car accident you should be prepared to deal with both your insurance company and the other parties insurance company. Keep in mind that the insurance companies are not on your side, including your own insurance company. Insurance companies hate personal injury lawyers and we typically don’t like insurance companies. We find in most cases that insurance companies don’t care about their customers. They are solely concerned with reducing the number of claims they have to payout while increasing the amount of the premiums they take in. Now don’t get us wrong, we are a for-profit organization and we offer our services with the hope of making money. However, our interests are aligned with our clients because the more money you make on the settlements the more money we make. So we are here to fight for your best interest, whereas insurance companies are out to trick or mislead you so that they can reduce the amount they have to pay out to you.
With that in mind let’s discuss what’s likely to happen once you get home from the accident or the hospital. First, you will probably get an introductory call from your insurance adjuster and the other parties insurance adjuster. Both of them will want to get a statement from you on what happened that caused the car accident. You are not obligated to give a statement no matter what the adjuster says on either end. You can simply tell them that you are not prepared to give a statement at the time and that you will be seeking legal counsel. Let them know that once you have obtained legal counsel they will be contacted by either you or the lawyer. Just remember that the insurance companies are trying to trick you into admitting fault or agreeing to a settlement. The one thing they don’t want you to do is to hire a car accident lawyer who will be working against them. If you don’t feel comfortable telling them “no I won’t answer your questions”, you should have a family member answer them and tell them that you’re still healing from the car accident and that you will call them back at a time that’s more convenient.
Bottom line is that insurance companies will do whatever they can under the law to reduce the amount of money they pay you for your pain and suffering, you lost wages, your medical bills or any other bills, and other costs related to your car accident.
Crucial Steps After A Car Accident
There are definitely certain things you can do to make your process go smoother after you’re involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, most people don’t know these simple things to do and things to avoid. Here’s a list that you can check off as you go through the process:
- Call the police and get a car accident report from the officer at the scene
- Gather as much information from the scene as you can
- Document or record as much of the car accident scene as well as record anything you or anyone else says
- Seek medical attention immediately after the accident by going to the ER
- Get copies of all documents related to the car accident such as medical records
- When you get someone settled to evaluate your car insurance policy to see what sort of coverage you have in place
- Notify your insurance company that you were involved in an accident, but avoid telling them anything about fault
- Call your medical providers to let them know you have been in a car accident and that you would like to schedule an appointment to get checked out
- Get in touch with a few personal injury lawyers and meet them for a free case evaluation
- Avoid speaking with the other parties insurance company until you’ve hired your personal injury attorney
Tip: Hire A Personal Injury Lawyer Before Talking To The Insurance Companies
Most Common Car Accidents Causes
- Distracted Drivers: Distracted driving is the most common cause of car accidents in Missouri today. It causes more car crashes than speeding, drunk driving, and many other major accident causes. With the introduction of cell phones over the past 10 years the problem has only gotten worse. Unfortunately, the laws haven’t caught up with the technology, so many people still think it’s okay to text and drive. Many people will resort to hands-free talking on a cell phone, but studies show that even talking on the phone with hands-free can be a distraction. If it’s discovered that the other driver in your accident was texting or on the phone during the car crash, our car accident lawyers will utilize that in building your case.
- Speeding: One of the firsts things the police and the insurance companies will ask you after the accident is whether you were doing the speed limit. Even if you were slightly over the speed limit you should never state that you were over the stated limit. That, in essence, is assuming some fault in the accident. As your car accident attorney, we advise the best answer to give is that you think you were under the speed limit. You aren’t sure what speed you were going at the exact time of the accident, but it was probably under “X” MPH (the stated limit). The police or insurance will likely do an accident investigation to determine an approximate speed for both parties, so let them determine a number themselves. Learn more…
- Drunk Driving: If you notice the other driver appears to be drunk or impaired at the time of the accident, you should definitely ask the police to evaluate them. Car accident cases that involve a drunk driver can be open and shut cases, but not always. Sometimes, there are instances where you could be held partially responsible in the accident. But it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help you determine whether it makes sense to pursue a case against the other party. Juries typically frown upon drunk drivers and can be very sympathetic to your situation even if you had some responsibility in the accident. Learn more…
- Reckless Driving: Reckless driving is like a catchall term to describe several driving behaviors that increase the likelihood of having an accident. Switching lanes too quickly, not using your signals when changing lanes, cutting across several lanes of traffic, abruptly stopping for no reason, going really slow on a highway with a high-speed limit, and many other irresponsible driving behaviors. All these behaviors can also be classified as aggressive behavior where the driver has no concern for the safety of his passengers or the safety of the other drivers on the road. These elements can be a major factor in any personal injury case and it’s the job of a good car accident lawyer to prove that the other driver had no consideration for your safety and that’s why the accident took place, and why you were injured in the accident. At the Combs Law Group that is what we are really good at proving. When you hire us you will get a firm that will make the case that because of the other drivers reckless driving you incurred a great deal of cost. Contact us today for a free consult.