Find a Traffic Lawyer in Jefferson County, MO for Help after a Car Accident

by | Sep 1, 2015 | Law Services

Car accident law is governed by rules that determine responsibility for personal injury and property damage after a collision. This practice area consists of the doctrine of negligence, as do other types of personal injury cases, and litigation is affected almost exclusively by state laws. While slight differences exist in certain jurisdictions, injury victims must prove four elements to win a case: duty, breach of duty, causation, and actual harm. These elements will be discussed below.

Duty, Breach, Causation, and Harm

A duty’s existence is accepted almost universally. A plaintiff is typically required to prove a defendant’s actions constituted a breach of duty. Proof can come in the form of witness testimony, video evidence, or the defendant’s own admission. In some cases, however, plaintiffs must rely on circumstantial evidence, such as BAC readings or skid marks.

Just because a defendant has a duty of care and the plaintiff proves that the duty was breached, it does not mean the court will assume the breach caused the injury. A plaintiff must prove causation. In a car accident case, it can be done through expert testimony from doctors who can prove causal links between injuries and accidents.

The final element to be proved is actual harm. Regardless of the other person’s conduct, a plaintiff and his or her traffic lawyer in Jefferson County, MO, cannot sue for negligence unless the behavior resulted in personal injuries and property damage. Near-misses don’t qualify. Once harm is proven, a plaintiff may receive compensation for lost income, pain and suffering, as well as for medical expenses.

Steps to be Taken after an Accident

After an accident, the driver should not make statements about who is at fault. As elementary as it may seem, admission of fault is a common error among potential litigants after a crash. Evidentiary rules do not allow hearsay, but admissions are an exception. Even an apology can be used against one in court.

Conversely, drivers should take notes if the other party makes a statement. The driver should gather information by any means necessary, starting with the other party’s name, address, insurance information, and license plate numbers.

Hiring an Attorney

Of everything that can be done after an accident to get a victim the compensation they deserve, calling a traffic lawyer in Jefferson County, MO, will have the most effect. Before a victim signs any settlement or insurance paperwork, they should visit to consult a lawyer.

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