Missouri Claims Process: What to Do When You’ve Been in a Car Accident
After a car accident, the Missouri claims process offers a valuable opportunity to recover losses from the at-fault driver. This is your chance to claim damages for lost wages, medical expenses, and the emotional impact of the crash.
Taking the proper steps during the claims process helps you protect your rights and receive a fair settlement. Post-accident, work with our St. Louis car accident lawyers from Cofman Townsley to file your claim and get the compensation you deserve.
Immediately after a car accident, stay calm and ensure everyone’s safety. Then, proceed with the following steps to protect your well-being and legal rights:
- Check for injuries: Carefully examine each person involved in the accident, including passengers, drivers, and pedestrians. Look for visible injuries, ask about pain or discomfort, and check for signs of shock or trauma. Call 911 to ensure that anyone with injuries receives immediate medical attention, no matter how minor they appear.
- Contact law enforcement: Missouri law mandates the reporting of any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $500. It is best to assume that any amount of vehicle damage qualifies. Immediately notify the appropriate authorities, such as the local police or highway patrol, about the crash. This also creates an official police report, which you’ll need for the claim process.
- Exchange information: Collect detailed information from everyone involved in the accident. This includes full names, current addresses, contact numbers, insurance company names, policy numbers, and vehicle information like license plate numbers and VINs. Your attorney can use this information to file a claim with the insurance company.
- Gather evidence at the scene: If it’s safe, take photographs of the accident scene. Capture images of the involved vehicles, their positions, any damage, nearby road signs, traffic signals, and markings on the road. Share this evidence with your lawyer, which they can use to analyze the crash and file your compensation claim.
- Get medical care: Seek immediate medical attention, even if you feel fine. Injuries like internal bleeding, soft tissue damage, or head trauma can take hours or days to show symptoms. A prompt medical evaluation ensures timely diagnosis and necessary treatment. It also documents and connects your injuries to the crash, which is essential for an insurance claim.
- Document medical records and expenses: Keep a comprehensive log of all medical treatments, prescriptions, and related costs as they arise. Document hospital visits, medication costs, rehabilitation sessions, and other associated expenses. This helps your attorney estimate a fair settlement and support your claim.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies
After the initial steps post-collision, you’ll start your claim with the insurance company. If another driver caused your crash, you can file a claim with their liability insurance to obtain a settlement for your damages, such as lost wages and medical bills.
Here are some tips for dealing with insurers in the Show-Me State:
- Engage legal representation: Speak with a skilled attorney before initiating communication with the other driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer from Cofman Townsley can help investigate the accident, gather evidence, estimate accurate compensation, and file paperwork on your behalf.
- Report the accident accurately and promptly: Contact your own insurance company soon after the accident. Provide factual information about the bare essentials of the crash, including the date, time, location, and what happened. This ensures a smoother claims process and aids in a fair investigation by claims adjusters.
- Handle negotiations wisely: Allow your legal representative to handle the bulk of communication with insurance adjusters. Insurers may propose a quick settlement and pressure you to accept, but it may not reflect the full scope of your injuries and damages. If you must give a statement, avoid admitting liability or speculating about fault. Your attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement based on the evidence and negotiate with insurers on your behalf.
- Document all communications: Keep detailed records of all interactions with the insurance company, including dates, representatives’ names, and what was discussed. You may refer to this documentation if disputes arise or if further legal action is needed.
- Be aware of common pitfalls: Understand potential challenges, such as low initial settlement offers, delays in claims processing, or disputes over fault and damages. Insurers may try to minimize your payout by finding evidence, such as social media posts, suggesting your injuries are less severe than claimed.
Your lawyer can guide you in handling these challenges and submitting proof of the extent of your damages to get you an adequate settlement.
If you’ve been in a car accident, our experienced St. Louis car accident lawyers at Cofman Townsley can simplify the claims process and help you get the compensation you deserve.
Our firm has been helping accident victims in and around the St. Louis area since 1973. We can use our local insurance and traffic laws knowledge to provide skilled legal representation for your case.
Contact us today for a free consultation to explore your next steps after a crash.