Third Parties That Can Claim a Share in a Auto Crash Settlement – St. Louis Attorneys


A person who is injured in a car accident may succeed in getting a settlement after a lot of negotiation. But they may be surprised to learn that a major part of it has been paid to third parties and not much has come to him directly. This is due to the numerous liens on a settlement. All the liens should be taken into account when the settlement is being negotiated so that the settlement amount exceeds the person’s debts. Our St. Louis auto accident attorney will discuss this in detail.

Liens on a Car Accident Claim

A lien is the right of a person to possess the property of another person until he repays a debt. A lien holder can claim a share in the person’s car accident settlement. However, he has to get the approval of the court to do so.

Some of the parties which generally file claims for a car accident settlement are doctors’ offices, hospitals, health insurance and auto insurance companies.

Healthcare Providers

Doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers are often some of the lien holders in a car accident settlement. Some of them may place a lien on the settlement while others may agree to a partial payment.

Hospitals and doctors bills may have to be paid from the settlement. Often, a doctors’ office or a hospital refuses to submit their billing through the person’s health insurance carrier. They prefer to issue a ‘claimed lien’ against the car accident settlement and wait for the full payment from the settlement when it is received. However, there are certain limits for the amounts that healthcare providers can claim from such settlements.

Health Insurance

The health insurance company takes up the responsibility for taking care of the person’s medical treatment and pays the medical bills for him. So it can request that the repayment is made from the car accident settlement. This depends on the kind of coverage. For instance, if the health insurance is via employment the person may have an ERISA protected plan. In such a situation, an ERISA lien could be placed on the car accident settlement.

Auto Insurance

If the person has medical pay in his auto insurance plan, some of his medical bills are paid by his auto insurance carrier. Therefore an auto insurance company can ask for a share in the settlement proceeds. But in many places, auto insurance carriers are not allowed to claim a share in a car accident settlement.

The plaintiff files a claim for a settlement in order to compensate for his losses. But, the lien holders have to be paid before he gets the settlement proceeds. If a major part of the settlement is used for paying the lien holders the claimant may not get enough reimbursement for his damages. In order to get a favorable outcome for him, it is essential to ensure that the claims made by the third parties are legitimate and have been taken into account during the negotiations for the settlement. An experienced St. Louis car crash lawyer can help get the compensation that you deserve.


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


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.

Lost Wages After a Auto Accident – St. Louis Attorney


There are times when injuries are so severe in a car accident that a person is unable to perform in the same capacity as they did prior to being hit. If you are unable to return to your former position at work for an extended period of time due to your injuries related to the car accident and the need for medical treatment, and your employer lets you go, you might have recourse for your lost wages. If an employer can’t go the extended time without your services and needs to hire someone to take your place, then it might be possible for you to get compensation.

If you lose your job because of the injuries you sustained from an accident, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the other driver. If you should lose your position at work, you can claim special damages. Special damages typically include things like loss of wages, income, benefits, business opportunities and profits. You will probably be awarded the amount that you would have received if you didn’t have to take time from work. A loss in special case claims is calculated from the date your medical condition is stable, and you can return to gainful employment, to the date of your injury.

See: Reimbursement for Lost Income: Unable to Work Due to Car Accident

It is also possible for you to claim general damages. They are things like future loss of earnings and whatever capacity to earn money you had prior to the accident. To recover for these types of future losses, you have to show that you would have had the potential to make the earnings you are claiming. A more subjective amount, the court will decide how much earning potential you had before you were injured in the accident. They will likely compare how much you will earn after your disability versus your capacity if you weren’t injured.

If you want to sue for your lost job, you will need to provide proof that your medical condition was the result of your not being able to return to work and the subsequent loss of your job. That will entail a physician’s note, a disability slip, and any other medical proof that you have related to your condition and injuries. The letter should generally state specifically that your loss of job was directly related to your injuries.

There is something called a damages cap, however. It is the maximum amount that you can collect on any lawsuit that you initiate. In Missouri, there is a cap related to non-economic damages which is what job loss would typically fall under. So, before you sue, make sure that you weigh what it will cost to go through a potentially long court case versus the maximum you can be awarded due to your non-economic damages if you win.

If you lose your job due to an St. Louis auto accident injury, you might be able to recoup for your loss earnings and wages both during your recovery time, and if you are disabled, into the future. To ensure that you are compensated fairly, it is imperative to have the help of a St. Louis car accident attorney to help you through the complexities of a court case. Call (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

35% Increase in Miles Driven by 2050? – St. Louis Auto Accident Lawyers


A recent report from an international auditing corporation KPMG shows that in the next 35 years, drivers on American roads will be driving about a trillion more miles compared to what they are driving today. These figures are far more significant if we consider the fact that vehicle ownership in the country is predicted to decline sharply over the next three to four decades. The reasons are said to be:

  • The rise of ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft
  • The introduction of self-driving cars, which could enter markets in next 5-10 years
  • The younger, urban millennials do not give as much importance to vehicle ownership as the previous generations did

This is what Gary Silberg, the automotive leader for KPMG had to say about the findings

“The automotive landscape will significantly change as a result of autonomous vehicles, and consumer behavior will dictate the rate of adoption. Like the smartphone, let’s not underestimate the power of these changes and the vast potential for new business models to satisfy them.”

Those increases would have a profound but unknown impact on vehicle sales, car ownership models, energy demand, and infrastructure…To be quite frank, I’m not sure people understand the enormity of the change, nor are we ready for it.

Key findings of the KPMG report

The study has found that although miles driven would increase significantly by 2050, not all drivers would be driving more in the next 3-4 decades. The researchers have predicted that:

  • Younger and middle age individuals will be responsible for the sharp increase in miles driven
  • Vehicles will need to have a flexible architecture to meet the demands and expectations of consumers
  • For these age groups, the surge in miles driven will be due to the increasing reliance on ride sharing services or self-driving vehicles, and not due to the fact these individuals will actually drive more often
  • Start-up companies and tech companies will become key players in the automotive industry, as these companies are usually better able to sense consumer changes

These findings are particularly significant for auto manufacturers, who would now want to focus on innovative solutions with a view to adapt to these predicted chances, and also to create a whole new driving experience for consumers.

This huge increase in the number of miles driven is also likely to bring about an increase in St. Louis car accidents. This makes it vital that traffic authorities gear up to create infrastructure and systems that can help cater to more number of vehicles particularly ride sharing vehicles and self-driving vehicles on the U.S. roads.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a competent and experienced St. Louis auto accident attorney. Give our experienced attorneys a call anytime, nights or weekends, at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

Driving on Unfamiliar Roadways

Driving a vehicle on unfamiliar roads may place you in a vulnerable position, especially if you are not confident in your driving abilities.


Since traffic rules and situations may differ from one city to another, travelers who are driving a rental vehicle in an unfamiliar area should always use extra caution. Read the following tips to increase your confidence when driving on unfamiliar roads.

Develop Confidence While Driving

St. Louis car accident attorneys offer the following tips that may help a driver increase his or her confidence while driving a rental vehicle on unfamiliar roadways.

1. Be Aware of Traffic Laws in the Area

This is an essential tip particularly for people traveling outside the country. Aside from avoiding traffic violations, becoming aware of traffic laws allows drivers to know the traffic situation in a particular area. Roundabouts, strange traffic signs, or weird intersections may be present in some towns, and it will be easier for drivers to navigate these unfamiliar areas if they are knowledgeable about these features.

2. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

A herd of cows in the middle of the road may be a familiar sight for local residents, but it may be something new or surprising for visitors. Drivers from the south may find icy roads difficult to manage while city dwellers may not know how to handle traffic caused by farm vehicles. Drivers can prepare for any traffic condition if they are aware of the situation in a particular area. It is also advisable to know the weather conditions of a particular area before visiting it.

3. Be Aware of Landmarks

Drivers should be familiar with the map of an area they visit for the first time. While traveling, drivers should take into account the connection between notable landmarks and the map. Drivers can easily identify their location and reach their destination if they are familiar with notable structures.

4. Use a GPS

Many rental vehicles feature a GPS system as add-ons. Using a GPS add-on is a cost-effective method of avoiding getting lost.

Common Road Rules

1. Avoid Unexpected Direction Changes

Drivers should wait and find the next available exit if they miss an exit or turn. Unexpected changes in direction using a rental vehicle may result in illegal or unsafe maneuvers, which can endanger the passengers and other vehicles on the road.

2. Use Turn Signals Properly

When making a turn, it is essential for drivers to use the turn signal in advance to warn other drivers of an upcoming turn.

3. Slow Down

Being patient is necessary while driving on unfamiliar roads. Driving at a lower speed allows a driver to react appropriately to unforeseen obstructions on the road, such as curves, animals, potholes, and debris.

These tips have been provided by The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Enjoy your traveling and stay safe. If you are injured by a negligent driver, please contact us at (314) 361-4242. We help victims of motor vehicle accidents receive their full and fair compensation.

When a Driver’s Negligence Causes Harm

Car accidents may happen for several reasons, including the negligence of a driver.

st louis car accident lawyer

There are multiple factors that can cause a car accident. Driving under the influence, distracted driving, recklessness, and negligence are often the most common causes of car accidents. If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, it is important that you seek legal assistance from a competent St. Louis car accident lawyer. The lawyer can help you receive compensation from the party at fault.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a major cause of accidents not only in St. Louis, but in the entire United States. Alcohol impairs the driver’s motor skills, reflexes, decision making power, and reaction time. Drunk drivers pose a serious threat to all other vehicles and passengers on the road. According to the Missouri state highway patrol, drunk driving caused as many as 2,600 car accidents in 2011. Nationwide, close to 10,000 people are killed each year at the hands of drunk drivers.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of auto accidents in St. Louis. St. Louis car accident lawyers believe that it is the duty of every driver to pay attention to the road and to traffic. Any distraction can cause a driver to lose focus, leading to a car accident. Common distractions include:

Studies reveal that the use of a cell phone while driving is the most dangerous type of distracted driving. It causes the driver to lose focus and makes the perfect recipe for an accident. Car accidents caused due to texting and driving are completely preventable. According to the NHTSA, drivers who text and drive are at a 23 percent higher risk of becoming involved in an accident.

Reckless Driving

Speeding and general recklessness often leads to serious accidents. Reckless drivers may switch lanes without warning, run stop signs, turn without signaling, tailgate, and act aggressively on the road. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, speeding caused as many as 23, 098 vehicle accidents in Missouri.

Driving Under Adverse Weather Conditions

Adverse weather conditions such as snow, fog, ice, wind, and rain are also a leading cause of car accidents. Fog and rain can obstruct a driver’s view and make it difficult for the driver to identify and react to hazards on the road. Ice, rain, and other conditions that make the road wet often cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. Ice and snow can reduce a vehicle’s traction and this makes it difficult to maneuver sharp turns and sudden stops. The Missouri highway patrol has statistics that reveal that wearing seat belts can considerably reduce injuries caused by weather-related accidents.

If you have sustained injuries as a result of a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and lost wages. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

Preventing Wrong-Way Driving Accidents

Entering a roadway in the wrong direction can have deadly consequences.

wrong way driving accident in St. Louiswrong-way car accident is caused when a person drives a car the wrong way on a one-way street. Statistics reveal that as many as 61 percent of wrong-way accidents are caused by intoxicated drivers during the early morning hours. The largest number of wrong-way car accidents takes place at around 2 AM, the time when bars and nightclubs typically close. Head-on collisions are often the result of wrong-way car accidents, claiming the lives of those involved.

Common Scenarios of Wrong-Way Driving Accidents

  1. The most common scenario is the person driving in the opposite direction of traffic entering or exiting the freeway.
  2. Entering a one-way street in the wrong direction is a common cause of accidents on metropolitan roads and downtown streets.
  3. Another common scenario is driving on the wrong side of the highway after taking a wrong exit.

Preventing Wrong-Way Driving Accidents

Most states put in place signs such as “One-way”, “Do Not Enter”, and “Wrong Way” on roads to alert drivers. However, most accidents are not because of the absence of warning signs, but due to the inability of the driver to read the sign, commonly during nighttime hours. Although these signs are designed to reflect light from head lights, the wrong-way driver has failed to notice the sign.

Some car accidents are caused by the failure of a driver to notice and react to another vehicle coming the wrong way. So, it is important that the moment you notice a vehicle coming from the opposite direction, you should flash your headlights to warn the driver that he or she is driving the wrong way. You should then slowly pull over to the side of the road, out of the vehicle’s path, and then call 911 to alert local police. By doing so, you might prevent a serious car accident.

St. Louis Car Accident Attorneys

Our St. Louis car accident lawyers believe that by driving responsibly and paying attention to hazards and other drivers on the road, you can avoid being a victim of a wrong-way car accident. However, you cannot always avoid a car accident, especially if the other driver is grossly negligent, driving under the influence, distracted, or speeding.

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a wrong-way driver, call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 to learn more about your legal rights.