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How Do Police Handle Hit-and-Run Investigations?

Published on Nov 28, 2018 at 9:25 am in Car Accidents.

It’s understandable to be confused and angry if you’re the victim in a hit-and-run accident. Car accidents by nature are traumatic experiences; however, if the guilty party decides to vanish and further neglect their responsibilities, it can make the experience much worse.

According to AAA, there are over 700,000 hit-and-run auto collisions every year. As a result, thousands of individuals are injured or lose their lives. In the event of a hit-and-run accident, as a victim, you may be wondering what your next steps are. While the process is a little different than it is when a typical accident has occurred, there is a process in place that will allow you the opportunity to hopefully find the guilty party.

Personal Injury Compensation Part 1: Economic or Tangible Damages

Published on Nov 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm in Car Accidents.

In Missouri, individuals injured through the negligence or recklessness of others in a personal injury case have the ability to seek compensation for both “tangible damages” and “intangible damages.”  “Economic” or “tangible damages” are those things that can be calculated or identified, such as lost wages, lost earning capacity, past medical expenses, and future medical expenses.

We have provided two posts to explain the difference between both types of damages. This is part one of two. For more on “intangible damages” or “non-economic damages” please watch for our post next week.

First off, what are damages?  Damages are something an injured person receives, through a settlement or jury verdict, to compensate them for the harms they suffered a result of that injury. In the American civil justice system, we use money to compensate people as damages. Below are the types of “economic” or “tangible damages” you can receive monetary compensation for in a Missouri personal injury case.

Can I Get Compensation for a Car Accident I Partially Caused?

Published on Oct 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm in Car Accidents.

You’ve just been in a car accident and your thoughts are going a mile a minute. You know you need to seek medical attention and talk to the other driver right away. You realize you’re experiencing some pain and think you might have injuries. You’re worried about medical bills and other financial burdens. Now you’re worried even more because you’ve just realized you may have partially caused the accident. What now?

Our Columbia, MO auto accident attorney is prepared to answer your questions. Keep reading to learn about Missouri’s car accident laws and how determining fault and receiving compensations works.

What if I Don’t Have Health Insurance and I’m in a Car Accident?

Published on Sep 20, 2018 at 2:03 pm in Car Accidents.

One of the major issues our clients have when they are involved in a car accident is that they have received medical treatment and bills are piling up, or they need additional medical treatment and cannot afford it on their own.  There are a few options that people have when they find themselves in this situation.  Please note that every situation is unique, so there is not a “one size fits all” approach. 

Many people believe that the other side’s insurance company will pay their medical bills as they receive treatment.  Unfortunately, that is typically not the case.  For more information about why insurers typically won’t pay your medical bills as you treat, please see our blog where we discuss this issue at length.  As a result of not having health insurance or having some insurance company pay your bills, you are left in a terrible financial decision while you’re trying to get better.

In these situations, though, our firm gets hard to work looking at a few things.  First, we see if you have any medical payments (medpay) coverage available under your own automobile insurance that may cover past or future medical bills.  If you have medpay coverage available, then we work with your insurance company to make sure that you get all of the insurance proceeds you are entitled to and have paid a premium for.

When Will the Other Party’s Insurer Pay for Medical Bills After a Crash?

Published on Sep 6, 2018 at 2:24 pm in Car Accidents.

If you were injured in a car accident, you should know that most automobile insurance companies will not pay your medical bills while you treat.  In other words, if you are currently treating for your injuries and are sending the other insurance company your bills, it’s rare for the other insurance company to pay your bills “as you go.”

Instead, what the other side’s insurance adjuster will want is a full and complete medical history from you (through a HIPAA Authorization), access to your private medical history (even for things completely unrelated to your injuries), and will want to obtain all of your medical bills before they agree to reimburse you and compensate you for any medical bills that you have sustained as a result of an injury from a car accident.  Even if the other side’s insurance company agrees to eventually pay your medical bills, they will want to do so only when you are ready to settle your case completely.  Oftentimes, this is not possible when you are receiving your medical treatment.

5 Things NOT to Do After a Car Accident

Published on Aug 16, 2018 at 12:07 pm in Car Accidents.

After a car accident, you’re probably thinking about what you need to do next. What you might not be thinking of, however, is what you should not be doing. You’ll want to avoid certain actions after a car accident in order to improve your recovery time, avoid implicating yourself, and get the best possible settlement.

1) Do Not Leave the Scene

Regardless of how minor the car wreck may be, it’s imperative you stay at the scene of the accident until you check on the other party involved, exchange the proper information, and report the event to law enforcement. If you do not do these things, you’re committing a crime and could be charged with a hit-and-run.

If you leave the scene of an auto accident you can be charged with a misdemeanor and a fine– depending on the outcome of the crash. You may also have to serve a sentence of jail time.

What is Underinsured Motorist Coverage?

Published on Aug 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm in Car Accidents.

Underinsured Motorist Coverage (or “UIM”) is an optional coverage available for your personal automobile insurance that compensates you for personal injuries in a car accident when the at-fault driver’s insurance does not adequately cover your injuries.  Unlike uninsured motorist coverage,  drivers in Missouri are not required to have underinsured motorist coverage.

Under Missouri law, a Missouri driver must carry at least $25,000.00 in liability coverage to cover any bodily injuries that the driver may cause in a car accident.  Since state law only requires $25,000.00 in liability coverage, many drivers do not elect to obtain additional coverage under their policies.  As a result, many people who are seriously injured in a car wreck cannot recover the amount they need from the other driver’s insurance to cover their injuries.  This is when underinsured motorist coverage comes into play.

What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

Published on Jul 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm in Car Accidents.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage (or “UM”) is a required coverage available under your automobile insurance policy that covers your personal injuries in the instance that the other driver is at-fault and does not have insurance.  Under Missouri’s motor vehicle financial responsibility law, all Missouri drivers are required to have at least $25,000 in liability coverage to cover any injuries they may cause in a car accident.  Unfortunately, there are times when people allow their insurance to lapse or just outright do not carry automobile insurance.

However, Missouri law also requires that every automobile policy in the state has to have $25,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits.  As a result, even if you are injured through no fault of your own in a Missouri car accident and the other driver does not have insurance to cover your injuries, you still have coverage under your own insurance policy that will apply.  In some cases, that will be the state minimum of $25,000.00.  In other cases, there may be more coverage available if you purchased additional coverage for your policy.  Although uninsured coverage is required, most people are advised to carry additional uninsured motorist coverage for these types of scenarios.

What is Medpay (Medical Payments Coverage)?

Published on Jun 21, 2018 at 11:48 am in Car Accidents.

Medical payments coverage or “medpay” is an optional coverage under your own personal automobile insurance. If you have medpay, then it will provide coverage for you and for any individuals injured in your car as a result of a car accident that is the fault of another party.

One of the first things we investigate when you retain our firm is whether your insurance policy has medical payments coverage.  You pay a monthly premium for this coverage and should use it to your benefit if you need help paying your medical bills after a car accident.  We typically see coverage limits for medpay range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the policy.  Your own insurance adjuster should inform you after a wreck that this coverage is available to you to help with your medical bills.  Unfortunately, many clients who are injured in car accidents are never told they have this coverage, even though they pay for it, and are stuck with massive medical bills.

Can I Go Back to Work After a Car Accident?

Published on Jun 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm in Car Accidents.

Going back to work sooner than you are ready can actually put you at a greater risk of re-injuring yourself or extending the time that it takes for your injury to heal.

The best tool for deciding when to return to work after a car accident is the treatment plan you receive from your doctor.  Your doctor will take into consideration your responsibilities at your job and will be able to determine when you are physically ready to handle them again.

In order for a personal injury claim to be successful, you need to have written medical documentation from your doctor that ties your injuries and symptoms to your car accident and shows a medical basis for your inability to immediately return to work.

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