4 Tips for Getting a Great Car Accident Settlement Deal

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Most people assume that when they get into a car accident, it will be easy for them to obtain their rightful compensation. The truth is that while sometimes it is painless, it usually isn’t. Instead, it is often a complicated and time-consuming process that most people find incredibly difficult. The first thing you can do to make things smoother is understanding basic tips for getting a great deal. Next, you do well to speak with a St. Louis car accident lawyer to take care of all of the complex aspects of your case.

Gather Evidence at the Scene

To get the best deal possible, you need to prove that the other driver was at fault. If they admit this, your job is very easy. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. When they deny wrongdoing, the best way to prove your side of the story is through evidence. The most common pieces of evidence are pictures of your injuries, both vehicles, and the scene surrounding the accident. Additionally, you should search for witnesses that may have seen what happened. A third party backing up your claim could end up being a critical factor in your case.

 

Obtain a Medical Assessment

When you pursue compensation from an insurance company, you need to understand how much money you deserve. One of the vital elements of that number is understanding your present and future medical bills. To do so, you should see a doctor and get a medical assessment. They will tell you all of the health issues they can find, the cost of treatment, and any costs that are likely to come up down the road.

 

Choose a Target Amount

You cannot go into a negotiation without knowing what amount of compensation you are seeking. To find that number, you need to go over the different types of damages that you are entitled to, decide which to pursue, and come up with an amount for each kind. You attorney can help you determine what those numbers are and add them together, so you have an estimate for how much compensation you should receive.

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Sometimes, negotiating with an insurance company is incredibly easy. You have your target amount for a fair deal, and that company meets or exceeds it on their first offer. Other times, this is not the case. The insurer will give you a low-ball offer and talk tough about not going any lower. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to have your attorney negotiate on your behalf. Almost every personal injury case involves some arbitration to reach a fair deal for both sides, so you should be prepared to do so.

If you have been involved in a St. Louiis car accident, one of the best decisions you can make is to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE Case Evaluation.

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Avoid These Three Common Car Accident Scams

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Car accidents are bad enough on their own. You may sustain a personal injury, have costly damage done to your car, and end up paying high insurance fees for years to come. What’s even worse is that there are people out there in St. Louis that stage car accidents to commit insurance fraud. In this situation, you have all the negatives of a car crash along with the added frustration of it being a scam.

Forced Rear-Ending

You may know that in the case of a rear-ending, the car in the back is often found to be at fault. Those who force rear end accidents understand this and take advantage of it. They will get ahead of you, wait until you are both stopped in traffic, and then put their car into reverse and hit you. They will often raise the stakes by also claiming a fake injury, which is another typical scam. To avoid this, keep your following distance high. A scammer is much more likely to pull this off if you are tailgating them. If you are at a safe distance, you have a better chance of avoiding an accident. Additionally, you can install a dash camera so you can have video evidence of their fraudulent behavior.

Fake Injuries

While most scammers don’t get away with it, there are always a few that get big paydays from faking injuries. This motivates all scammers to do their best to get a payday of their own. One of the ways they get it is by faking an injury after a crash. They will often claim to have whiplash or phantom pains, two conditions that are hard to disprove. Sometimes they even get a doctor or chiropractor to give them the diagnosis they desire. The best way to avoid this is to watch the driver immediately after the crash. If they seem like a fraud risk, file a police report on the crash. Sometimes a scammer will not decide to fake their injury until a few days after the accident. If a police report says that they seemed fine, that will lower their chances of being able to sue.

The Fake Victim

This describes a situation where you get into an accident, then days later a person who was not even involved claims to be injured from it. In this scenario, you can end up paying for the injury of a person who was nowhere near the crash! To avoid this, take ample pictures of the scene. You can also file a police report, which will confirm the number of people in each vehicle.

Being scammed by insurance fraudsters may seem uncommon, but it really isn’t. In fact, there is an entire department of the National Insurance Crime Bureau devoted to this scam. They happen every day, and they can happen to anyone. If you do become a victim of a car accident scam, speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney immediately. Hopefully, though, this is a situation you never have to deal with. Being informed about auto scams will significantly increase your chances of evading them entirely.

Preventing Pedestrian Car Accidents This Summer

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As the weather starts heating up around St. Louis, many people will hit the road for some bike riding, running, and other outdoor activities. If you are going to share the street with motorists, it is imperative that you take higher care to make sure to protect your safety.

When a motorist hits a pedestrian, it is usually the driver’s fault. However, there are times when the actions of the person walking can make them responsible and liable for any injuries they sustained.

What Is a Higher Duty of Care?

When there are pedestrians present, a driver has a higher duty of care. Meaning that they have to take special precautions when people are walking, riding their bike, or running. If they do hit a pedestrian and it could have been avoided, then they will likely be held responsible.

What Is a Pedestrians’ Responsibility?

Although motorists are required to take a higher duty of care when there are pedestrians around, pedestrians, likewise, have an obligation to ensure their safety and to protect themselves.

Pedestrians are required to behave as any reasonable person would; in other words, walkers are, in part, responsible for their safety. A reasonable person is a legal construct which maintains that a person is required to behave in a manner that any other reasonable person would to keep themselves safe.

Ways to Protect Yourself

Since the state of Missouri is a contributory negligence state, it is possible for both driver and pedestrian to share the negligence of an accident and be responsible for paying their “share” or portion of fault. So, the best way to stop yourself from being injured is to take the necessary precautions to make yourself visible and follow the rules of the road according to pedestrian laws in Missouri.

If you are out on a bike or after dark walking, wear reflective clothes that stand out so that a motorist can see you. You will also want to know the laws for bicycle signaling if you are going to be sharing the road with drivers. Knowing the correct hand signals can reduce your risk of an accident.

Always follow the cross signs and don’t try to race a car across an intersection. It is quite likely that they will win, and losing that race can end badly. Most of all, make sure that motorists see you instead of assuming that they do. If a driver is distracted for just a second, it can mean your life.

So, although you can’t anticipate what a driver will do, always err on the side of believing they don’t see you until they come to a complete stop. Even then, make sure that you are noticed by making eye contact.

To keep yourself safe this summer and to reduce the risk of being in a driver-pedestrian accident, take greater care when you are near motorists the way that they are supposed to. If you are in a pedestrian car accident, speak with a St. Louis car accident lawyer to make sure that you are protected and that you get all that you are entitled to for your injuries.

St Louis Hit and Run Accident Lawyer: Never Flee The Scene

Auto accident involving two carsAny parent of a teenager knows that teens don’t always make the best decisions. That’s why when you hand your car keys over to your teenager, you must understand how their decisions can ultimately affect you.

If your teenager is driving your car and they are at fault for an accident, it will typically be your insurance coverage that is responsible for paying for any damages and injuries. There is a stipulation, however, and if you aren’t aware of it it can really hurt. If you don’t add your teenager to your policy and they are not specifically named as a driver, the insurance company may deny them coverage.

The rule of “vicarious liability” means that if you loan someone your car and they are at-fault in an accident, your insurance company is responsible for paying. However, vicarious liability generally only works if the person who borrows your car doesn’t share the same address. If your teen lives with you and you haven’t specifically listed them on your auto insurance policy, then your insurance company may deny the claim and all financial responsibility could end up falling on your shoulders since they are a minor.

The Importance of Teaching Your Teen to NEVER Leave an Accident Scene

If your teen is involved in a fender bender or they back into a parked car, they might be tempted to leave the scene. They may be afraid of what Mom and Dad will potentially do. That is a huge mistake. If you hit a parked car and leave the scene of the accident, you can be charged with a hit-and-run. Not only will that leave you and your insurance on the hook for paying for damages if they are found out, but it could also open your teen up to criminal prosecution.

So before you hand your keys over to your teenager, first make sure that they are specifically listed on your auto insurance coverage policy. Second, be sure that you go over the rules of the road, especially what to do if they ever hit another car and the driver is not around. If they fail to take action by informing the other driver and exchanging information, they can face some pretty harsh penalties and criminal charges.

Make sure your teen understand their responsiblities and the rules of the road. One small mistake could land them in a whole lot of trouble if they don’t understand what the law expects of them.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a St. Louis car accident due to the negligence of another driver, call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.

Self-Driving Cars: Preventing Accidents or Causing Them? – St. Louis Attorney

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Self-driving cars are the wave of the future. However, many consumers who are looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the ride probably aren’t thinking of the possible legal repercussions. The entire idea behind self-driving cars is to eliminate the potential for human error, but that does not mean that all chance of error is gone. Automated cars can’t think independently, nor can they always anticipate conditions the way that the human brain is conditioned to.

Read more: Americans Not Excited About Autonomous Cars

Many cars now come equipped with different safety features and self-driving technology that is supposed to prevent costly errors that can lead to an accident. Not all of the technology out there is fully tested or foolproof, though. So, if you are in a car accident and the computer on your car was the one calling the shots, who is to blame: you or your car?

As things currently stand, if you are in a car that has self-automated features, but you are still behind the wheel, then you – the driver – are liable for any damage or injuries if you are found to be at fault for any resulting accident. That does not mean that there aren’t times when the manufacturer of the car, or the technology installed in it, can fail and cause the accident. But that does mean that if you are found at fault – even if the car malfunctioning is to blame – then you will need to initiate a product liability claim against the car manufacturer to recover for both parties’ damages and injuries.

Liability is not negated by the fact you are behind the wheel of a self-driving car. Since Missouri is a comparative law state, you will only be responsible for whatever portion of the accident you were found to have caused. That doesn’t matter whether it was driver error or self-driving technology error. You would be liable for your portion of the accident with the other party, and then it would be your responsibility to prove that the accident happened due to a product defect in order to recover in a product liability suit for your percentage.

Although the theory behind self-driving technology is that it is supposed to limit human error, the statistics indicate that self-driving cars are as much as four times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than conventional cars. If you are in a crash in Missouri and have a self-driving car, and you are found at fault, then you may be able to sue the car manufacturer for your portion of the liability.

If you have been involved in a St. Louis car accident call our 24 hour call center at (314) 361-4242 to speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney.

 

7751 Carondelet Ave #601
St. Louis, MO
63105
Phone: (314) 361-4242

What to Do If You Are Hit by a Drunk Driver – St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

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If you have been involved in any sort of automobile accident, the first thing to do is to immediately seek medical care, if it’s necessary. Next, it would be a good idea to speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer ASAP to make sure your legal rights are protected. Missouri is a comparative fault state, which means that both parties in an accident can be found at fault, and therefore liable for injuries and damages.

If you are hit by a drunk driver, then they are typically going to be found at fault. This means it is really just a matter of ensuring that you are okay and then either dealing with the insurance company to have your injuries and damages compensated, or escalating the case to go in front of a judge and jury if a settlement cannot be reached.

Most insurance companies want to settle drunk-driving cases quickly and without having to go to court. The problem is that compensating you for your injuries is not their number-one priority. Their job is to minimize their losses, so they will almost always offer you less money if you are not represented by an attorney. If they assume that you don’t know what you are eligible for, they will often minimize what is fair and what you deserve to be compensated for.

Understanding Damages

In an accident, you are generally eligible for two types of damages: noneconomic and economic. Economic damages are damages that are concrete and can be calculated, like a doctor or hospital bill and lost wages from work, so they are often pretty easy to figure out. However, noneconomic damages are those damages that aren’t always easy to calculate because they aren’t concrete. Noneconomic damages include things like emotional distress and pain and suffering.

Since no two people experience pain and emotional distress in the same manner, it can be difficult to put a price on how much your suffering is financially worth. A St. Louis car accident attorney can help you calculate how much you should reasonably get, based either on the multiplier method or the per diem method. These are formulas that insurance companies and lawyers often use to figure out how much someone’s pain and suffering should be compensated with monetarily. It’s not a precise number, so without an experienced party on your side, it is difficult to understand if you are being offered a fair settlement or not.

When you are hit by a drunk driver, determining who is at fault is usually easy. What you are eligible for financially, however, is not always easy to calculate and fight for. The best way to ensure that you get all that you legally deserve both in noneconomic and economic damages is to speak with an experienced attorney ASAP.

7751 Carondelet Ave #601
St. Louis, MO
63105
Phone: (314) 361-4242

What is Vicarious Liability? – St. Louis Car Crash Attorney

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In automobile law, there is something called “vicarious liability.” Vicarious liability is the idea that if someone has your permission to drive your vehicle, should they be at fault in a car accident, then you – as the vehicle owner – should be held liable for any resulting damages or injuries. Vicarious liability does however, have some limitations. Knowing what those limitations are and what they mean to you is very important before you hand your keys over to another driver.

Vicarious liability and employees

If you lend your car to an employee and give them permission to use your car under the scope of their employment duties, and they are in an at-fault accident, then you (the employer) would likely be held liable for any damages and injuries. For vicarious liability to apply, however, the employee must be acting within the scope of their employment. Just because they were driving your car does not automatically make you liable.

For instance, if they were driving your car to make a delivery and were in an at-fault accident, then you would be generally be held liable for those damages and injuries. If, however, they completed their delivery and stopped off to run a personal errand, then you may not be liable for any damages or injuries. So if your employee is in an accident, before you assume that you are liable through vicarious liability, it is important to speak  with a qualified St. Louis auto accident attorney to ensure that they were performing under the scope of their employment.

If you lend your car to your child

If you lend your car to your minor child and they are in an at-fault accident, then you would likely be liable to cover the costs of any damage or injuries sustained. If they had your permission to use the vehicle, those costs generally become your responsibility.

Rental car exceptions

An exception to the law of vicarious liability is when you are driving in a rental car. When you drive a rental car in Missouri, then the Graves Amendment takes precedence over the state’s vicarious liability laws. The Graves Amendment is a federal law that says that rental car companies cannot be held liable if those who rent their vehicles are in an at-fault accident. If the renter is liable for the accident, then they are responsible for any damages and injuries to the other driver, as well as to the rental car. That is why, if you are going to rent a car, it is imperative that you check your auto insurance policy to ensure that you have coverage when you rent a car. Don’t just assume that you will be covered.

Vicarious liability or respondeat superior is a law that states that if someone is driving your vehicle with your express consent, then you are (in most cases) liable to pay for any damages or injuries if they are at-fault while in an accident. Although there are exceptions to the rule, it is important to understand how lending your car keys to someone else can affect you. If someone has been in an accident in your car, it is imperative that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney to protect your legal interests.

7751 Carondelet Ave #601
St. Louis, MO
63105
Phone: (314) 361-4242