How Can I Recover Compensation For An Accident With A Reckless Driver?
October 22, 2021 | Car Accidents
Reckless driving can occur anywhere in and around St. Louis, despite state laws prohibiting such dangerous driving. Reckless driving accidents can occur on interstates in the St. Louis area, including I-64, I-66, I-70, and I-72, and on small country roadways outside the city. They can also take place in parking lots, parking garages, and other areas where motor vehicles and pedestrians tend to be present. Reckless driving can also take on different forms, including speeding, tailgating, and carelessly weaving in and out of highway traffic.
No matter the circumstances, reckless driving accidents can lead to debilitating injuries that may require an accident victim to treat for a significant time. In addition, the accident victim can incur significant medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs for which they deserve compensation.
If you suffered injuries in an accident that was not your fault and that happened because of a reckless or careless driver, you can pursue and recover monetary compensation. Missouri is a fault-based state when it comes to car accidents and insurance, which means that victims of reckless driving accidents can bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for damages.
If the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation for your injuries, you can file a lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver and indirectly against the driver’s insurance company. The knowledgeable team of St. Louis reckless driving accident attorneys at Dixon Injury Firm can pursue a claim on your behalf and work to get you compensated for your accident-related injuries.
Reckless Driving Maneuvers On St. Louis Roads
Motor vehicle operators on St. Louis roadways must drive reasonably and prudently at all times. This includes following all traffic laws and safety regulations while on the road and refraining from distracted driving and intoxicated motor vehicle operation. When drivers breach their duty of reasonable care, and an accident occurs, they can be responsible for the injuries and damages that accident victims suffer.
There are several types of driving maneuvers that constitute negligent or reckless driving.
Some of the most common examples of reckless driving in St. Louis are:
- Tailgating other vehicles – When overzealous motor vehicle operators are in too big of a hurry to get to their destination, they can tailgate another vehicle or follow that vehicle too closely. When drivers do not allow enough stopping distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them, a rear-end car collision can occur, especially if traffic backs up quickly.
- Weaving in and out of traffic quickly – When drivers change lanes on a highway, they must use the proper turn signals. When a highway driver weaves in and out of traffic or changes lanes without using turn signals, a serious accident—such as a sideswipe accident—can occur.
- Speeding – Some motor vehicle operators are in such a hurry to get to their destination that they fail to abide by the posted speed limits. When a driver grossly exceeds the posted speed limit in a particular area, they can negligently cause a collision with another vehicle or even with a stationary object. Drivers must abide by speed limits in rain or other hazardous weather conditions and when going around sharp turns. Going too fast under these conditions can cause a motor vehicle operator to lose control of his/her vehicle, bringing about a serious collision with another car, truck, or pedestrian.
- Failing to yield the right-of-way when it is appropriate – Drivers must follow all Missouri right-of-way laws when driving. This includes stopping and yielding at a traffic intersection. It also includes obeying traffic control devices, including traffic lights. When a driver is in a hurry and runs a red light or stop sign, they can cause a serious collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian, resulting in serious injuries.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a reckless driving accident, a knowledgeable St. Louis car accident lawyer can help. Your lawyer can get to the bottom of exactly how your accident occurred by obtaining a copy of the police report and/or consulting with an investigator who can reconstruct the accident.
Your lawyer can then determine if you are eligible to file an insurance claim or lawsuit that seeks monetary compensation for your damages. Your attorney can handle the entire process and work to ensure that you receive compensation for all of your accident-related injuries.
Legal Burden of Proof In St. Louis Reckless Driving Accidents
In reckless driving accidents, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof in the case. This means that to prevail and recover monetary compensation, the accident victim must satisfy every legal element of the claim. Specifically, the accident victim must show that another driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances and caused the accident. In addition, the accident victim must show that his or her injuries resulted from the reckless driving collision.
In personal injury car accident cases, the accident victim must demonstrate his or her legal burden by a preponderance of the evidence. Therefore, he or she must show that each claim element is more likely true than untrue. To satisfy your legal burden, your lawyer may need to retain the services of an accident investigator or reconstructionist.
A police officer or another individual who was present at the scene might also testify about exactly how the accident occurred. In addition, your lawyer can retain a medical expert who can testify, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that your injury or injuries resulted from the reckless driving accident.
A skilled St. Louis car accident lawyer can ensure that you meet all of the legal elements of proof in your car accident claim. Your attorney will advocate for you and work to pursue the compensation that you need for your accident-related injuries.
Types of St. Louis Reckless Driving Accidents
Reckless driving accidents can take several forms, depending upon the negligent driving maneuver that led to the collision. Some reckless driving accidents are rear-end accidents, where the front of one vehicle quickly collides with the rear of another vehicle. These accidents are especially common at traffic intersections where one driver is tailgating the other driver or where a driver is speeding.
Some reckless driving accidents are T-bone accidents. These accidents are also common at intersections where the front of one vehicle collides with the driver or passenger side of another vehicle. These accidents typically occur when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way and runs a stop sign or a red traffic light in hopes of getting through the intersection quickly.
Finally, some reckless driving accidents are head-on collisions. For example, if a driver attempts to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, they can cause a head-on collision with a vehicle that is approaching in the opposite direction.
Common injuries in reckless driving accidents include head trauma, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, neck injuries, and back/spinal cord injuries. If you have been in a collision, you should seek emergency medical treatment as soon as you possibly can. You can seek this treatment at a hospital emergency room or an urgent care facility nearby.
In addition to providing initial medical treatment, the provider at a hospital or urgent care center can take an MRI or X-ray of the affected areas and determine if additional follow-up treatment will be necessary. After that first visit, you might need to consult with your primary care doctor or with an orthopedist or other specialist, depending upon your injuries.
Some injuries are so serious that they require a medical procedure, such as surgeries. At other times, the accident victim may need to attend physical therapy or chiropractic treatments to correct the injuries sustained in the accident. Some accidents result in permanent injuries and disabilities that require ongoing medical treatment long into the future.
Once you start treatment for the injuries you suffered in your reckless driving accident, continue your treatment until your doctor says you have fully recovered. If there are numerous gaps in your treatment or if you stop treating altogether without being formally discharged, the insurance company will become skeptical. Specifically, the adjuster might believe that your injuries were not serious or that you did not make your medical treatment a priority. Either of those can hurt the settlement or verdict value of your case.
Settling Or Litigating A St. Louis Reckless Driving Accident Claim
Most reckless driving car accident cases in Missouri were resolved with a monetary settlement from an insurance company. However, the initial settlement offer in the case is not usually the final offer. The final offer is typically higher. Insurance company adjusters will make low initial offers to see if the accident victim is in a hurry to settle. After all, the insurance company will try to offer as little as possible to resolve a car accident claim.
These insurance companies do not make money by paying out personal injury settlements. Instead, they want to collect premiums from their insureds and retain as much of that money as possible in-house. A St. Louis car accident attorney will need to negotiate with the insurance company adjuster several times to get to an offer that is reasonable and worth accepting.
If, after several rounds of settlement negotiations, the matter still does not resolve in your favor, your attorney can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in the state court system. Even after your attorney files a personal injury lawsuit, they can continue negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company adjuster.
Sometimes, the mere act of filing a lawsuit will encourage the insurance company to offer you more money to resolve your case. At other times, the case will need to go all the way to a jury trial to resolve.
If the reckless driving accident case goes to a jury trial, the jury will decide all of the issues in dispute at that time. In most cases, the major area of dispute is that of damages. In other words, the jury must decide how much to award the accident victim for his or her injuries.
As an alternative to trial, the parties might want to consider some alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as mediation or arbitration. A knowledgeable St. Louis car accident attorney can explain all of your legal options to you and decide on the best course of action for your specific personal injury case.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Missouri
In Missouri, reckless driving car accident victims have a period of five years from the date of their accident during which they can file a claim or lawsuit for damages. This is a strict, hard-and-fast time deadline.
This means that if a lawyer does not file your claim or lawsuit within the necessary five-year time period, the law prevents you from recovering financially.
In other words, once the deadline runs out, you can no longer file a claim or lawsuit seeking damages for your car accident injuries, with very few exceptions.
Given the statute of limitations, retain a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. A skilled legal team can file a lawsuit on your behalf promptly and zealously advocate for your legal interests in court or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding.
After a reckless driving crash, you want a personal injury law firm to assist you with every aspect of your reckless driving accident claim. Do not wait to learn about your legal rights and begin the process of financial recovery.