Car Accident Lawsuit in Missouri: Timeline & Process
March 7, 2022 | Car Accidents
The process following a car accident in Missouri can confuse anyone. If your claim does not settle directly with an insurance company, your trusted car accident attorney will advise you what to expect regarding the car accident lawsuit timeline and process.
What is the Timeline and Process for a Missouri Car Accident Lawsuit?
Car accidents lawsuits can take a long time, and the process follows the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure, like all other civil litigation. Don’t let that discourage you. A car accident lawyer near you can maximize your financial recovery as efficiently as possible.
Not every car accident case requires a lawsuit – this is only necessary if an auto insurance company refuses to offer a settlement covering your full losses. If you need to file a lawsuit, your car accident lawyer will navigate the process for you.
How Do Lawsuits from Car Accidents Work?
Like other personal injury claims, lawsuits that stem from car accidents involve the at-fault party’s negligence. In the case of a car accident, you will file your claim with the other driver’s car insurance provider. From here, you will attempt to negotiate a fair settlement that addresses your complete losses or legal damages.
Your dedicated car accident attorney has the experience, legal knowledge, and insight to skillfully negotiate for you. And as such, your attorney will help you recognize the full range of losses you’ve endured. If the insurance company is not interested in addressing your claim in good faith, your attorney will likely advise you to file a lawsuit against it – seeking fair compensation.
In your lawsuit, you will address the physical, financial, and psychological losses you experienced due to the other driver’s negligence. However, just because you file a lawsuit does not mean that your case will not settle out of court.
The stronger your case, the more likely the insurance company will come back with a more realistic negotiation stance. A seasoned car accident attorney will be ready for whatever the insurance company throws its way, and your case will proceed according to the unique circumstances involved.
If the insurance company begins to see reason, you can walk away with a fair settlement before your case ever sees a courtroom. If not, however, you’ll look to a jury to determine the value of your losses.
The Losses You’ve Experienced
Your lawsuit stems from the other party’s negligence and the losses that negligence caused you to experience. In addition to property damage to your vehicle, these losses break down into three basic classifications.
The most immediate financial loss you will absorb is the medical bills associated with your physical injuries. These bills can add up extremely quickly, and if your injuries include secondary health concerns or complex complications, the medical expenses you face are likely to extend into your future.
Medical expenses may include:
- Emergency treatment
- Surgical care and hospitalization
- Treatment from doctors, therapists, and other medical specialists
- Follow-up care
- Pain management
- Alternative treatment approaches, such as chiropractic care
- Prescription meds
- Ongoing healthcare needs
While your medical bills continue to flow and you focus on your physical recovery, you are likely to also feel the financial sting of lost income. Suppose your ability to continue performing your job or advancing your career is interrupted – it can mean a loss in earning potential, which translates to long-term financial losses that can be exceptionally difficult to overcome.
Pain and Suffering
The physical and psychological pain and suffering associated with being injured due to another driver’s negligence can be especially challenging to process emotionally and move beyond. Addressing this component of your car accident claim fairly can play a critical role in your ability to regain your health and well-being.
Part of your attorney’s task is crafting your strongest car accident case, including every aspect of the losses you’ve suffered.
Proving the Other Driver’s Negligence
Proving the other driver’s negligence is vital to your car accident case. There is little—if any—doubt about fault in some cases, such as when a drunk driver runs a red light. The insurance company might not call its policyholder’s fault into question.
In other cases, however, proving the other driver’s negligence is a more nuanced matter that involves compiling:
- All available evidence, including eyewitness testimony
- Expert witness testimony that supports the specifics of your case
- The police report
- Accident recreation models that demonstrate how the accident in question happened
Your attorney will polish the evidence available in your case into a cohesive narrative that supports your legal rights and your rightful compensation.
Driver Negligence Can Come in Many Forms
Car accidents are often the result of driver negligence, and there are far too many dangerous forms of driver negligence out there, including:
#1. Excess Speed
When drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for road conditions, they have too little time to react safely to danger. They also significantly increase the risk of deadly accidents.
#2. Impairment by Alcohol or Drugs
Motorists impaired by alcohol or drugs have a diminished capacity to drive safely and should not be on the road. There is no excuse for impaired driving, and impaired drivers feature far too prominently in frightening car accident statistics.
Exhaustion is another impairment, and many motorists fail to recognize the danger associated with this practice. While it can be difficult to prove in many situations, the data confirms that drowsy driving regularly causes accidents. This is why professional drivers, like truckers, must comply with restrictions regarding hours of service.
Distraction behind the wheel leaves drivers focused on matters other than driving safely, which makes them dangerous drivers. The deadliest distraction of all is texting, which has the unique ability to blend all three categories of distraction into one, including distractions that engage one’s vision, hands, and thoughts.
It takes about five seconds to write or read the average text, and in that time, a driver can travel about the length of a football field at highway speeds. This helps to clarify exactly the danger of texting behind the wheel.
Aggressive drivers are a unique brand of danger. They head out to engage in dangerous driving practices, and they usually combine several at any given time.
Common examples include:
- Speeding excessively
- Zigzagging in and out of traffic
- Cutting off other drivers
- Harassing other motorists with non-stop honking, obscene gestures, verbal assaults, and more
- Ignoring the rules of the road
- Refusing to yield the right-of-way
You Need a Dedicated Car Accident Attorney on Your Side
If the negligence of another motorist has injured you, a capable car accident attorney is well prepared to help – whether your case settles out of court or proceeds to trial. Your case is important, so don’t go it alone when trying to deal with the bureaucracy of an insurance company.
Your best move is to enlist the help of an experienced car accident attorney who can deal with the insurance company on your behalf, all the while making sure you can recover from your injuries and recover your financial losses as well.