A car accident can be a traumatic, disruptive, and confusing event. Between seeking medical care, dealing with insurance companies, and missing work, many people don’t know where to turn if they were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident. An experienced Columbia car accident attorney can help a crash victim recover money to pay the bills. The Law Office of Matt Uhrig has significant experience investigating accidents, gathering evidence, and litigating cases to get injured Missourians the compensation they deserve.Thousands of Missourians Are Injured Each Year in Car Accidents
A person is killed or injured in a Missouri auto accident every 10 minutes and six seconds, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Although the number of people injured in Missouri car crashes has been trending downward since the 1990s, there were still more than 51,000 injuries in 2011. With the help of an experienced attorney, Missourians injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver can seek compensation.Filing a Negligence Lawsuit Can Help You Protect Your Rights
No matter the type of accident, you will likely face one or more insurance company, whose primary motive is paying as little money as possible. To protect your interests, you may choose to file a negligence lawsuit against the person or company responsible for the accident.
To prevail in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the person responsible for the accident:
- Owed a “reasonable person” or other duty to the plaintiff;
- Breached the applicable duty; and
- Proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, the defendant in a negligence case could be the driver of the car or truck that caused the accident, a trucking company that employed a truck driver, or even a company that failed to adequately maintain or repair a vehicle. In most cases, the defendant will owe some type of “reasonable person” duty to the plaintiff. This simply means that the defendant must act the same as a similarly situated, reasonable person. A motorist who texts while driving has generally breached this duty. A truck driver who drives while fatigued likely has, too. So has a trucking company that intentionally overloads its trucks.
Once the plaintiff has proven the first two elements, she must next prove that the defendant’s actions caused her injuries. If the defendant’s actions that constituted the breach of duty — for example, a driver sending a text message — caused the accident, then this element is met, and the plaintiff will prevail. Note that the plaintiff only needs to prove that the defendant is one cause of her injuries, not the only cause. In a case where multiple defendants share in fault for the accident, Mo. Stat. § 537.067 (2013) requires any defendant 51 percent or more at fault to pay the entire judgment.Successful Plaintiffs Are Legally Entitled to Damages
Missouri law gives plaintiffs who win their negligence cases the right to collect damages from the responsible defendants. Liable defendants must reimburse the plaintiff for the expenses associated with the truck accident. These include property damage and lost wages as well as hospital and physical therapy bills. In addition, plaintiffs who experienced pain and suffering or emotional distress can collect compensation for these injuries. Some plaintiffs may also seek punitive damages.Litigation Experience Counts
Victims of a car accident caused by the negligence of another person have certain rights. Aggressive defense attorneys and insurance companies have a vested interest in trying to minimize the assertion of those rights. If you have been injured in a car accident, let the Jefferson City car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig use their years of experience litigating cases to protect your rights. Call (573) 657-2050 or visit our contact page to schedule a free case evaluation. We serve clients in Columbia, Jefferson City, and throughout Missouri.