Despite the obvious dangers of following too closely, thousands of drivers do it every day. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, nearly 15 percent of all collisions are caused by tailgating motorists. The car accident lawyers at the Law Office of Matt Uhrig have significant trial experience when it comes to rear-end collision cases in the Columbia area. If you were struck by a negligent driver, you have a right under Missouri law to pursue compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional injuries.Hold Careless Drivers Accountable Through a Negligence Claim
A rear-end collision, even at relatively low speeds, can inflict serious and lingering harm. Missouri law allows people hurt by a negligent driver to seek compensation in state court. The success of the victim’s case will rely on proving four essential elements. These are that the defendant owed a duty to the victim, that he or she breached the duty by taking an unreasonable risk, that the injuries were caused by the defendant’s careless actions, and that the victim suffered quantifiable damages because of the accident.
A defendant’s duty is proven by establishing the relationship between the parties. Most people owe a duty to the people around them to act reasonably. This means avoiding unreasonable behavior that might cause harm. The defendant breaches this obligation by engaging in needlessly careless actions. For example, following too closely is a common type of breach.
Causation is slightly more complex and is proven by answering two questions. First, the jury must decide the “but for” cause of the victim’s injury. This asks whether he or she would not have been hurt had the defendant complied with the duty of reasonable care. If that is satisfied, the inquiry proceeds to the second question. This explores whether the victim’s injury was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s behavior. If the answer to this question is also affirmative, the causation element is met and the defendant likely will be liable if the victim can identify quantifiable costs or losses.
Plaintiffs who successfully prove their negligence cases can collect damages from liable defendants. Economic compensation reimburses the victim for financial costs. These include lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses arising from the accident. Noneconomic damages compensate the plaintiff for injuries that are not easily quantified. Disfigurement, pain and suffering, and mental distress are a few examples of these types of harm.
In the event of a chain-reaction accident, when several cars collide with the preceding vehicle, plaintiffs may have to seek compensation from more than one driver. In Missouri, if a particular defendant is 51 percent or more at fault for the victim’s injuries, that defendant can be held liable for the entirety of the damages. Otherwise, the plaintiff must pursue compensation from each liable defendant, who will be responsible only for his or her share of the damages.Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Collision with a Jefferson City Lawyer
A person injured in a rear-end accident caused by a negligent driver has a right under state law to be hold that driver accountable. If you were hurt in a motor vehicle collision near Jefferson City or elsewhere in the state, you should consider consulting an attorney who has the skills and experience to take your case through settlement negotiations and to trial, if needed. At the Law Office of Matt Uhrig, we have assisted numerous individuals in Ashland, Columbia, and throughout Missouri. To see if we can help you, call (573) 657-2050 or complete our online contact form.