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Top Five Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents

At Call & Gentry, we field questions from members of the public on a weekly basis. Below, we reproduce some of the most common questions about car accidents, along with our answers.

Is the driver who hit me always at fault?

Not necessarily! In Missouri, liability for a car accident depends on whether a driver failed to use reasonable care while driving and ended up causing the accident. We call this “negligence.”

There are many examples of negligence:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Failing to yield
  • Texting and driving
  • Running a red light
  • Following too closely
  • Illegal lane changes
  • Failing to use turn signals or mirrors

It’s possible that you hit another car but are not at fault. For example, you might be passing through an intersection on a green light when someone makes an illegal left turn right in front of you. The driver making the turn is probably at fault because they cut you off, causing the collision.

Should I call the police after an accident?

Yes! Missouri Revised Statutes 300.110 requires that you report an accident to the police as soon as possible if you cause bodily injury/death or at least $500 in damage.

There are also advantages to having an officer come out to the scene:

  • The responding officer should create a crash report, which insurance companies like to see.
  • The officer can ask a driver to perform field sobriety tests if they suspect intoxication or chemical impairment.
  • The officer can arrest a driver if they committed a crime.
  • An officer might speak to witnesses and get their name, which is helpful if you are too injured to walk around.

Can I negotiate a settlement on my own?

Missouri does not require that you hire an attorney, so it’s possible. But there are real disadvantages. Few people know how much compensation to request, or they don’t know how to find evidence to prove fault. Negotiation is also an art, and you must be alert to shady insurance tactics.

Here are 5 reasons to hire Call & Gentry to represent you:

1.       We can properly value your claim. Do you know what is a fair settlement for your injuries? We have negotiated countless cases, so we know how much insurance companies can afford to pay. Without this information, it’s nearly impossible to negotiate effectively.

2.       Our team will handle all communications for you. You should focus 100% on getting better and going to rehab. We will fill out all forms for you and provide requested information to the other side.

3.       We can help you find a doctor for treatment if you lack health insurance. Some doctors will provide treatment on a lien basis.

4.       We will meet all deadlines. Missouri’s statute of limitations gives car accident victims five years to file a lawsuit. We keep you from going past the deadline.

5.       Hiring us shows the other side you are ready to fight. Insurance companies love to see accident victims without lawyers. They think you’ll accept a small settlement without knowing any better.

How long will I need to wait for a settlement?

The length of time will depend on the facts. If both sides agreed on everything, we could wrap up negotiations in a week. But there are usually some snags along the way, which means a settlement could take 3-6 months:

  • Disagreements over fault. This is a big one. The other side might point the finger at you and blame you for causing the accident. Working through disagreements over fault can take months of back and forth and reviewing additional pieces of evidence.
  • Questions about the severity of your injuries. The amount of compensation you receive is tied to the severity of your bodily injuries and emotional distress. The other side might think you’re exaggerating your bodily pain and disabilities. We might need extra time to collect supporting evidence, like X-rays or statements from family members showing how the accident affected you.
  • Defendant’s willingness to settle. Some insurance companies are more difficult to negotiate with. They think it works to their benefit to drag out the process.

Contact Call & Gentry today. We can provide a better estimate in a free consultation.

Can I afford to hire a lawyer when I have no money?

Yes! We represent car accident victims using contingency fee agreements. These are easy to understand. We agree to represent you but don’t require any upfront legal fees. Instead, you agree to share a portion of any settlement or court award if we win. If for some reason we don’t win, you’ll owe us nothing.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers

We offer a free consultation to anyone injured in a car wreck.