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
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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

 

5 Things Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Know – St. Louis Auto Injury Lawyers

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If you have been involved in a St. Louis automobile accident, your first instinct may be to call up the insurance company and get your claim sorted as quickly as possible. You may reason that they have your best interests at heart and you simply do not want the headache of dragging out your claim. However, it is vital that you speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Simply put, there are things the insurance company DOES NOT want you to be aware of.

Top 5 Things Your Insurance Company Doesn’t Want Your to Know

  1. They are NOT on your side. The claims adjusters and insurance attorneys are working for their shareholders, not for you. Keep in mind that they are paid to minimize the money that is paid out to claimants.
  2. If you’ve been in an accident, a claims adjuster or attorney working for the insurance company is at the scene of the accident gathering evidence to minimize the amount of compensation you receive or deny your claim altogether. It is therefore, important to contact a personal injury attorney ASAP, so they can begin gathering evidence and witness testimony to support your claim for compensation.
  3. Insurance companies often ask confusing questions in an effort to have you admit to something you do not fully understand and that can be used against you in court at a later date. Do not give any statements to the insurance company without the representation of an experienced attorney on your side.
  4. If the person who caused your auto accident does not have sufficient coverage to cover your claim, and you have underinsured motorists coverage that exceeds their coverage, you may be entitled to compensation from your own insurance company. Our attorneys can help you make this determination.
  5. While insurance companies will do anything they can to discourage you from speaking with an attorney, it is important to realize that they have high-powered attorneys protecting their interests. This is why it is so important to have an experienced attorney on your side, protecting your interests.

If you have been involved in a St Louis car crash, it is very important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible to gain a more than even footing with the insurance company and ensure your interests are protected.

At The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. our attorneys are here to help. We have over 15 years of experience and work on a contingency basis. This means we only get paid if you do.

Call (314) 361-4242 for a free and private consultation today.

Why Elderly Victims Take Longer to Heal From Car Accident Injuries – St. Louis Attorneys

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With Baby Boomers aging, the number of elderly drivers is rapidly increasing in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, there will be close to 10 million people aged 85 years or older by 2030. This means an increase of 73 percent from the elderly population today. As of today, there are over 30 million drivers over the age of 65 on US roads. Older drivers make up almost 15 percent of licensed drivers. Experts are of the opinion that around the age of 65, drivers start facing a higher risk of causing an accident. Moreover, their chances of surviving a crash-related injury also reduce significantly. For this reason, older drivers are considered among the worst victims of car accidents. There are studies to prove that elderly victims often recover slowly, if at all they do, from car accident injuries. In this post, our St Louis auto accident attorney will discuss results of one such study.

Elderly victims of St. Louis car accidents

It is a known fact that recovery time for various types of car accident injuries varies, however, a recent study has shown that there is at least one that can slow down a person’s ability to heal, and this factor is the victim’s age. Researchers have found that elderly drivers tend to report pain for much longer periods of time after an accident compared to their younger counterparts. The study was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, and it was reported that more than 50 percent of the senior citizens, who suffer serious injuries in car accidents admit to using pain relievers for as long as six months after the crash.

The study data also showed that doctors gave these elderly victims a prognosis of being completely healed in a period of 30 days. Researchers found that around 72 percent of the participants complained of moderate to severe pain after the crash. After six months, a quarter of patients still reported moderate to severe pain. These patients also reported other health complications. Those suffering from severe pain after six months of the crash reported a decline in physical function. Also, 23 percent of these patients reported having to change their living situation in order to receive more help.

Legal help for elderly victims of car accidents

Even minor injuries can cause significant pain and lead to complications. Serious injuries such as spinal cord or brain injuries could shorten the life span of an elderly car accident victim. They also require more time to recover from injuries, even if they are seemingly minor. If the car accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation. A competent and experienced St. Louis accident lawyer can help recover adequate financial compensation to cover medical costs and other losses including pain and suffering.

Call (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney.

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

New Study Shows How the Brain Reacts to a Concussion – St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

Around 1.4 million people become a victim of traumatic brain injury (TBI) every year in the U.S.

concussion car accident attorneyMany of these brain injuries are minor, but they still affect the injured person’s health. Considering the high prevalence of minor TBI, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the disease as a silent epidemic and a leading public health concern. Concussion is one of the most common types of minor traumatic brain injuries, but there is little awareness about how this type of injury affects the brain.

Concussions are Common in Car Accidents

Concussion is usually caused by a sudden, heavy blow to the head, which is common in car accidents. Symptoms of concussion include loss of consciousness, disturbed vision, and loss of equilibrium. In some cases, the injured person does not experience any major symptoms and the brain may seemingly remain intact, but there could be damages to the protective layers of the brain, according to the findings of a recent study conducted by the researchers at the National Institute of Health published in the magazine Nature.

How the Brain Protects Itself

The researchers created a mouse trauma model to monitor the brain’s responses to minor injuries and noticed that the brain has a system in place to prevent an injury from causing any widespread damage. This system works by forming an immune response to the injured brain cells. The study found that one of the molecules, if applied to the brain, can actually reduce the extent of the damages caused by a brain injury.

MRI scans of around 142 recently injured persons were analyzed as part of the study. Interestingly, signs of physical damage were not evident in many of the brain scans. However, damages to some projective layers of the brain were noticed. Likewise, signs of blood leaking into the protective layers of the brain directly from vessels were evident in the mouse model study. It was also found that an antioxidant called glutathione, which is released soon after one suffers a brain injury, helps reduce the amount of brain cell deaths by around 67 percent.

Preventing Brain Damage

The researchers took pictures of the underlying layers of the skull with the use of a microscope and learned how the brain cells develop an immune response to prevent any further damage. It was evident from the images that some brain cells collapsed in the meninges and the glial limitans of the brain. Some brain cells work as “first responders” to prevent any harmful material from reaching the surface of the brain, thus helping prevent any further damage. In fact, the usual inflammatory response of the brain to any minor brain injury helps protect the brain against any further damage, according to the findings of the study. The findings of this study will help doctors diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury cases.

If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident, contact a St. Louis car accident lawyer to claim compensation for damages from the at-fault person. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

St. Louis Car Accidents Caused by Elderly Drivers – Auto Accident Attorney

As of 2012, the number of licensed U.S. drivers in the age group of 65 years or older was nearly 36 million.

auto accident attorney St. Louis

Statistics also reveal that on average, around 586 people suffers an injury from road accidents every day in the United States. The good news is that elderly drivers can reduce the risk of getting involved in a road accident by taking some simple steps.

Senior Citizen Driving Statistics

In 2012, around 214,000 elderly people suffered injuries and over 5,560 elderly adults lost their life as a result of car accidents. This translates to around 586 injuries and 15 deaths per day. It is also interesting to note that the number of licensed elderly drivers increased by around 34 percent between 1999 and 2012.

Was Age the Cause of the Accident?

Just because you suffered an injury from an accident involving an elderly driver does not mean that the elderly driver was at fault. The age of a driver does not automatically make him or her accountable for an accident. Fault is determined after a thorough investigation, including:

•Whether the elderly driver is suffering from any illness or medical condition that could be relevant to the accident.
•Whether the driver has any problem with vision or eyesight.
•Whether the driver was advised against driving by a physician.
•Whether the driver had difficulty recognizing signals due to any cognitive problems.

Claiming Compensation After a Car Accident

If you get injured from a car crash caused by an elderly driver, you could be eligible for claiming compensation. You are entitled to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, and pain and suffering. Consult a St. Louis car crash attorney to make sure you get maximum compensation from your losses. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242.