In the blink of an eye, a car crash can forever change your life. Thousands of people in Missouri and Illinois are involved in auto accidents every year. The impact of such accidents span from the hurdles of finding new transportation to temporary job loss, permanent injuries or death of a loved one.
Collisions are oftentimes caused by drivers not paying attention or engaging in negligent actions, such as disobeying traffic signs, speeding or driving under the influence of a substance. When this happens, the person or company at fault could be held responsible for those actions. While the facts that determine the degree of liability and damages in each case vary greatly, a successful lawsuit can help alleviate some of the financial pressures victims find themselves dealing with after an accident. For example:
- Medical Bills
- Auto Repair or Replacement
- Lost and Future Income
- Pain and Suffering
If you have been injured in a car accident in Missouri or Illinois, the first, and most important, thing you need to do is take care of yourself and seek medical treatment. During this time, you or your loved ones should keep track of everything associated with your case and take photographs of your vehicle and of your injuries. Once your, or your loved ones’, condition is stable, it is important to contact an attorney because of filing deadlines known as statute of limitations. An attorney will need to determine who was at fault, locate and interview witnesses while their memory is still fresh, retain industry experts, and collect evidence before it is destroyed, within a limited amount of time. Some statutes of limitations can be as soon as one year, so contacting an attorney as soon as possible is important.
While there are a number of St. Louis auto accident lawyers, only a few can match the success and experience of the Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum law firm. Our firm is made up of attorneys who have decades of car accident case experience and are committed to obtaining the best results for their clients.
Notable Automobile Collisions Cases
For a 21-year old woman who was permanently paralyzed when a tractor trailer rear ended the pick-up truck in which she was a passenger while on Interstate 44 in the City of Pacific, Franklin County, Missouri. The collision caused the pick-up truck to flip over and partially eject her. Unfortunately, she fractured her neck and was placed on life support and in a coma for several months. Then, she was transferred to a rehab hospital where she remained for approximately six months.
For a Jefferson County man who sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident causing him to lose his sense of taste and smell.
For a Jefferson County family rear-ended by a tractor trailer in Madison County, Illinois, causing a brain injury and severe orthopedic injuries.
Can I file a claim?
Anyone who was injured or who’s property was damaged because of a motor vehicle crash can file a claim, including a driver, passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcycle rider. If a minor was injured, a parent can bring a claim on the minor’s behalf.
How long do car accident lawsuits take?
Settlement can happen at any point during the litigation process and is generally in the best interest of the injured party because it is the fastest route to a resolution. However, if the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company does not make a reasonable settlement offer then it will go to a jury trial, which generally takes about 18 to 24 months from start to finish.
The first stage of litigation is called discovery, during which time both parties exchange information with each other. Next, depositions are taken, where the parties and witnesses testify about the crash under oath. Then depositions of experts are taken. A jury trial follows after both parties have completed these steps. Our clients are required to attend their deposition, a mediation if applicable, and the trial. Clients also have the option to attend other depositions taken in their case, but it is not required.
Should I pay my medical bills and repair my car following a collision?
When outstanding bills go unpaid it can result in late fees or payment denial as well as affect credit scores. To prevent these consequences and to get back to a normal routine after a collision, it is best for an injured party to have his or her own health insurance company pay for medical bills. Ideally, the negligent party’s insurance will pay for car repairs; however, if there is a dispute on liability, then each party should have their own auto insurance cover repair costs, as well as personally pay any deductibles. If the case settles or receives a judgment, the awarded funds will be distributed to reimburse for the victim’s expenses.
Do I have a case if a collision was partially my fault or if I was injured because I was not wearing a seat belt?
Collisions involving cars, motorcycles and other vehicles can be the fault of multiple parties. When the injured person is found to have contributed fault it does not necessarily mean there is no case, but it will reduce the recovery amount. Settlement offers take in to consideration the injured party’s contributory fault, and a jury has the ability to apportion the percentage of fault between the parties. Examples include the injured person’s involvement in the cause of the crash or enhancing the extent of an injury by not using proper safety restraints.
Can I still file a claim if I refused medical treatment at the scene of the accident?
Refusing medical treatment after a car accident does not forfeit your rights to file a claim. Many times people have adrenaline rushing through their bodies after a crash and the pain from their injuries is not obvious until after they have left the scene.
Can I file a claim if I had a pre-existing condition related to my injury?
An injured person can be compensated for aggravation or exacerbation of a pre-existing condition.
What should I do if I’m contacted by the other insurance company?
Insurance companies will contact all parties involved in a collision to get statements and gather facts. Attorneys can speak on behalf of their clients and answer the insurance company’s questions in a manner so that they are not used against the injured person in a lawsuit. If an attorney has already been consulted, provide the firm’s name and contact information to the insurance company. If an attorney has not yet been hired, refrain from giving a recorded statement and contact an attorney right away.
What should I do if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?
When an at-fault driver does not have insurance, it is possible to sue him or her directly. However, uninsured motorists typically do not have insurance due to a lack of financial resources and would unlikely be able to pay a judgement. For this reason, most people have an uninsured motorist provision under their own auto insurance policy to cover costs.
How much does a car accident injury lawsuit cost?
Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum works on a contingent fee basis. That means a case does not cost our clients anything if we don’t recover money for them. If we do recover money through a settlement or judgment, we receive a percentage of that amount in addition to being paid back any expenses incurred prosecuting the case.
At Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum we work diligently to hold the defendant responsible for all of the damages they caused in an effort to receive the highest possible compensation for our clients. Our experienced auto injury lawyers have successfully tried and won cases thoughout the state of Missouri, including in St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Jefferson County, St. Charles County as well as throughout the state of Illinois, including Madison County and St. Clair County.