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

handing over car keys

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

 

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What to Do After a Car Crash – St. Louis Lawyer

what-to-do-after-st-louis-car-accident

Car accidents can happen to anyone, at any time. Those who have been in an automobile accident – minor or major – know that everything, right from dealing with injuries to insurance companies and the law is neither pleasant, nor easy.

While notifying the authorities is the first thing that most accident victims should do, it is not necessarily the first thing that comes to their minds. At that very moment, not everyone might have the ability or the presence of mind to always do the right things first. However, it is definitely important for everyone – accident victim or not – to understand what they should do in the event of an accident.

 

Get medical attention

Often, accident victims who do not have significant injuries do not seek immediate medical attention. Certain injuries, especially internal injuries can at times take more than 24 to 48 hours to show their effects. Injuries such as internal bleeding, internal damage to organs, closed head injuries like whiplash, etc. can cause severe damage and even cause permanent disabilities if left unchecked.

Not seeking medical attention immediately after an accident can also have repercussions on a civil suit. Most car accident lawyers recommend an examination to their clients, inquire if medical treatment was sought after the accident, and ask for a report even if the medical examination shows nothing.

Contact the police

However minor the accident may be, it is imperative to notify the police. Once contacted the police officer on duty will survey the scene of accident, interview those involved in the accident, issue a ticket if necessary and write an accident report.

The police report is an important document that is required in cases that result in a suit. Moreover, any experienced lawyer will ask to see the police report filed.

Contact an accident attorney

It is essential to make sure that accident victims contact a professional, experienced and qualified St. Louis car accident lawyer, before contacting their insurance company.

One can never ascertain how an accident case can unravel. Notifying a lawyer, right from the beginning can help in easing out the entire process, right from dealing with legal authorities and insurance agents to generating correct reports that help in identifying fault.

Call the insurance company

Many accident victims fear the negative if they call their vehicle insurance companies, and often prefer to sort out the issue with a handshake. One can never know the extent of damage that has taken place, and neither can they be sure that a verbal promise of payment for damages will be kept. In such cases, not reporting the accident to the insurance company might wipe out any chances of claim recovery later on.

It is thus wiser to follow protocol and file a claim for damages with the car insurance company.

Consult with your attorney before accepting any settlements

Insurance companies will obviously try to settle for as little as they can. A qualified St. Louis auto accident attorney should always be consulted before entering into any agreements, to ensure that a fair settlement is made.

Once in a car accident, there are a number of laws and legal procedures that need to be followed and that are often time bound. A car accident lawyer can assist with these and ensure that victims get what they are entitled for.

Call (314) 361-4242 for a FREE and private case evaluation.

https://www.hoffmannpersonalinjury.com/

St. Louis Car Wreck Lawyer Discusses Backseat Safety

car-accident-passenger-injury-lawyer

Passengers depend on the driver to avoid car accidents. They are at serious risk of suffering injuries if a crash happens, especially if they are not buckled up properly at the time the collision occurs. Recently, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association published a report that highlighted the risks that backseat passengers face when they are not wearing a seat belt. The report shows that many people suffer severe injuries because they are not wearing a seat belt. In this post, our St. Louis car accident lawyer will discuss this issue in detail.

Unbuckled passengers face high risk of car accident injuries

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, each year, hundreds of unbuckled adults in the rear seats of cars are killed and hundreds suffer serious injuries. In 2013, 883 passengers in the age group of 8 and above were killed in a car accident when they were in the back seat without wearing a seat belt. The GHSA estimates more than 400 passengers who were killed in car accidents would have been alive if they were buckled up at the time of the crash. The fatality risk is three times higher for a person in the back seat who is not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. So, your chances of getting killed in an accident are significantly higher if you choose not to wear a seat belt while riding as a passenger in the backseat of a car.

Quite surprisingly, despite the importance of wearing a seatbelt in the backseat, as many as 32 states do not have strong requiring backseat passengers to wear seat belts. This contributes to myths that backseats are safer than the front seats and it is not really important to buckle up when you riding in the backseat. Due to such misconceptions, only 78 percent of the adults admit that they wear a seatbelt in the back seat while 87 percent wear it when they are riding in the front seat.

The GHSA also indicates that the risk to backseat passengers is even higher during the holiday season, because many people take road trips and are unconcerned with whether or not the adults and children in the backseat are buckled up or not. They also believe that the risk of injury has also increased with more people using ride sharing services.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a St. Louis car accident as passenger or driver, you may have a claim for compensation from the party at fault. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 to learn more about your legal rights and schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in St. Louis.

St. Louis Broken Bone Injuries After Car Accidents

injured-st-louis-car-accident-350275-20-ffe7e7e7white-0-20-3-0-90-850-85-1Auto accidents are an unfortunately reality that many St. Louis drivers face on a daily basis. Such accidents often result in emotional and physical trauma. It is not uncommon for victims of St. Louis car accidents to suffer a broken bone injury in a St. Louis car wreck. Depending on the severity of the injury, bone fractures can be life-altering. Victims who have families to provide for may soon find themselves stressed over a loss of income and medical bills. This makes it very important to seek the compensation you are entitled to after being involved in an accident cause by someone else’s negligence.

Broken Bones Common in St. Louis Car Accidents

Bones are fragile. It is no surprise then, that the powerful impact of an automobile collision often results in broken bone injuries. Any bone is vulnerable in an accident, but the following are the bones that generally tend to break in car wrecks:

  • Skull
  • Collarbone
  • Pelvis
  • Ribs
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Arms

Bone Fractures

There are many different bone fractures, however the most common are:

Open fracture: This generally refers to when a bone breaks and bone fragments stick out through the skin. (Also known as a compound fracture.)

Closed fracture: A break occurs but the bone does not break the skin.

Non-displaced fracture: A bone cracks either part or all of the way through, however it does not move and maintains proper alignment.

Seeking Legal Help From a St. Louis Car Crash Law Firm

Recovery and treatment for a broken bone injury sustained in a St. Louis car accident will depend primarily on the severity of the fracture. Ensure that you receive the compensation you and your family need to recover and move forward after an accident by speaking with the St. Louis car accident attorneys at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We have extensive experience in car accident cases and can help protect your legal rights. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

Sources:
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00582
http://www.healthline.com/health/fracture
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-fractures-basic-information

Car Accident Lawyer St. Louis – The Hazards of Drugged Driving

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Drug abuse has become a serious menace that has time and again proved to be hazardous for drivers, passengers, and other motorists and pedestrians on the roads. The use of any mind-altering drug – prescribed, legal or illegal – while driving, is extremely dangerous.

The number of deaths caused by driving under influence of drugs, often paired with alcohol is alarmingly high. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) reports that common drugs like marijuana and cocaine, coupled with alcohol can cause significant driver impairment and cause serious car accidents.

A study conducted on drivers who tested positive for drugs by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, revealed that:

  • 18% of all drivers involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for drugs.
  • Out of these, 57% were single vehicle accidents.
  • 48% of these drivers who tested positive for drug abuse also tested positive for alcohol.
  • Cannabinoids (a marijuana compound) and narcotics were found in almost half of all drug-positive drivers.
  • 47% of drugged-driving fatalities were below the age of 24
  • Those over the age of 45, were usually tested positive for narcotics and anti-depressants.

Drug Impairment

Each drug has a different effect on the brain. Nevertheless, they all impair the faculties and senses that are required to function while driving. A driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have compromised attention, perception, reaction time, judgement, motor skills, balance and coordination. Drugged driving can hinder all, or some of these vital faculties, leading to car accidents.

16 drugs – prescription, over-the-counter and illegal recreational drugs – were evaluated, in a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The results revealed that apart from LSD, (where the frequency of Driving under Influence (DUI) cases has been rare), all drugs were responsible for impairment, in varying amounts. However, the following commonly used recreational drugs were found to cause substantial impairment –

  • Marijuana.
  • Cocaine.
  • Methadone.
  • Morphine and heroin.
  • Methamphetamine and amphetamine.
  • Ecstasy (MDMA).
  • PCP

Over-the-counter prescription drugs and legally purchased drugs were also studied as part of this list. It was found that similar DUI charges and driver impairment could be applied to these drugs as well. Some of the drugs include antidepressants, decongestants, valium and other anti-anxiety medications, antihistamines, hydrocodone (Vicodin) and sleeping pills.

You Legal Rights If You Have Been Involved in a St. Louis Car Accident with an Impaired Driver

Drugs, prescribed or illegal, consumed alone or with alcohol, can result in a fatal St .Louis car accident. As a driver, it is important to be aware of the fatal risks of indulging in driving under influence of any kind of drug.

On the other hand, if you have been injured or a loved one has been killed due to a decision made by another person to indulge in the illegal act of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you can initiate legal action, and claim compensation for your loss. Seek the advice of an experienced accident injury attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free case evaluation with a qualified attorney today!

Construction Zone Car Crashes in Missouri

Construction zones are hazardous areas where caution should be exercised in order to prevent automobile accidents.

construction zone accident

Many a times we come across drivers who are negligent, inattentive, or reckless while driving through a construction zone. These drivers pose a hazard to construction workers and other drivers who are following the rules of the road.

Construction zones may cause disorientation and confusion among drivers, resulting in severe car crashes. Motorists passing through construction zones have an obligation to follow the Missouri’s statutory Rules of the Road. The motorists are obliged to follow all the traffic signs and construction signs posted on the streets (Section 304 of the Missouri Revised Statutes). Failure in obeying these rules can result in a civil charge for negligence if another person, a worker, a motorist, or a pedestrian, gets injured or killed in an accident.

A reckless and negligent driver is a hazard on the roads and accidents resulting out of this recklessness can be extremely devastating. Dangerous or aggressive driving in construction zones can result in serious accidents like roll-over accident, T-bone collision, head-on or rear-end crashes, etc. These accidents can result in severe injuries to pedestrians, workers, and occupants of cars involved and can even result in the death of victims.

If you or a loved one has been victim of a construction zone accident, you are have the right to seek compensation for your damages and injuries. The compensation will generally have to be sought from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. The insurance adjuster will try to save money for his or her company and may make an extremely low offer.  It will generally be in your best interests to speak with an experienced car accident attorney that can ensure your receive the full compensation you are entitled to.

Most of the victims of such personal injury cases are tricked by the insurance companies in accepting low offers. It is not uncommon for victims to sign the documentation in haste and then have to make do with the low amount of compensation. While this practice seems unfair, it is far too common. Insurance companies use interviews with victims and families, and even casual discussions against the victim to hold him partially liable for the accident, thus reducing the total payout.

St. Louis Car Wreck Attorney

The most important thing to do after a car crash in the construction zone, after seeking medical attention, is to speak with a car wreck attorney as soon as possible. The presence of an experienced lawyer will strengthen the case and the insurance company of the at-fault driver will not be able to take your case for granted. Since they are aware of the presence of your attorney, they will not try to trick you into signing any insurance or liability forms. This will ensure that your case is protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Car Accidents Caused by Rubbernecking

Driving through a construction zone can be challenging, but a driver needs to be fully focused on the road.

construction zone accident

Motorists are often distracted while driving through a construction zone. This type of rubbernecking can lead to car crashes at both high and low speeds. There is a lot of emphasis placed on distracted driving these days, mainly with text messaging and cell phones, but construction site gawking is just as dangerous. If you were hit in a construction zone because of a distracted driver, a St. Louis car accident attorney may be able to help.

What is Rubbernecking?

Drivers and police use the term rubbernecking to describe a road situation where traffic is slowing or stopped due to drivers slowing down to watch unrelated road side activity. Usually used to describe a scene where a car accident is causing a lot of attention from other drivers, rubbernecking is also common when there is police activity on a roadway and even construction. As drivers naturally slow to observe a construction area, cars coming up from behind may be unaware until it is too late. This type of scenario is a major cause of accidents in the St. Louis area. A victim of such an accident should speak with a St. Louis car accident attorney about their rights for compensation. This is a form of distracted driving, and a negligent driver may be held liable for the crash and the injuries you sustained as a result.

Injuries Sustained in a Car Accident

The extent of physical harm you have suffered is dependent on a number of factors including the speed at which the accident took place and whether or not you were wearing a seat belt. Another thing to consider is the involvement of other cars. In these types of highly congested roadways, it is quite common to see a ripple effect of car accidents as vehicles are being forced towards each other.

Head trauma can occur if you collide with the windshield, along with whiplash injuries from your body being thrust forwards and back. You may also suffer from a spinal injury, broken legs and knee injuries or external bleeding from the force of the impact. In many of these cases multiple surgeries and extensive therapy is needed to repair the injuries.

Determining Who is At Fault

A major component of a car accident claim is figuring out who is liable for the crash. If you are able to prove that the other driver was distracted by road construction and not paying sufficient attention to the road and traffic patterns, your St. Louis car accident attorney will be able to assist you in recovering damages. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.  We will assist you in ensuring that your medical bills are taken care of along with any other damages the accident may have caused you.