Comparative Fault and Why You Need an Attorney After a Car Accident
By Ryan McElderry, March 2, 2021
Sharing the road with other drivers offers ample opportunity for an accident to occur. When this happens insurance companies will battle over which driver is at fault. This is not an easy battle and can have drastic effects on any potential monetary award you receive.
While each state has their own laws regarding determining fault in auto accidents, there are certain factors that can immediately identify fault or in the alternative, simplify the process. These factors could be a police report indicating an obvious disregard for the safety of others on the roadway (excessive speeding, running a red light, driving while under the influence, etc) or the presence of witnesses to the accident. Unfortunately, these factors are not always present in auto accidents. Without legal documentation attributing fault or witnesses to attest to the events leading up to the accident, it is a matter of those involved claiming the other(s) are at fault.
In the event fault is cannot be identified, Missouri’s pure comparative fault rule comes into play. Comparative fault is the division of fault for the cause of an accident based on the determination of a jury at trial. If you are attributed 20% fault for the accident, then any monetary compensation awarded is reduced by the attributable fault.
Regardless of identified or unidentified fault, hiring an attorney and having that legal representation is crucial to the outcome of any auto accident where bodily injury has occurred and compensation is being sought. If it is clear from the beginning of a case that fault lies solely on one specific driver in whole, the burden of negotiation and potential litigation is lessened but still great. However, if fault has not been identified, the burden of negotiation and potential litigation increases exponentially.
Your legal representation will lessen the burden on you by being responsible for:
• gathering all information regarding the accident,
• collecting all necessary documentation such as insurance policy information, police report, damage estimates, pictures, videos, or any potential witness statements,
• requesting and reviewing all medical records and medical bills,
• preparing a demand using all information, documentation, records, and bills associated with the accident and injuries sustained,
• continuing negotiations after demand has been made, and
• preparing and representing you in the litigation process if settlement cannot be reached through demand negotiations.
Not only can this process be administratively burdensome but can also be very costly. Your attorney absorbs the costs associated with this process until settlement has been reach and received. If you have been in an auto accident, it is very important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. House Packard McElderry, LLC is ready for your call. (816) 381-9105
- Ryan McElderry