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The Law Office of Steve Slough Sept. 19, 2023

Important Steps to Take After an Accident

You set out on a sunny morning to go shopping or have lunch with friends, and all of a sudden, another car plows into you. Your car is damaged, and you’re jostled about and suffer injuries. It’s not your fault, but you still must deal with the property damage and your own injuries. 

All you have to do, you think, is get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, and once you make a claim, everything will be taken care of. Maybe, but nothing is guaranteed when it comes to insurance companies and even traffic laws. The other driver’s insurance company can claim you were as much—or more—responsible for the accident than their policyholder was. Then what? 

Nothing is clear-cut when it comes to auto accidents, and your best approach is not to deal with any insurer but to get a car accident/personal injury attorney to answer their questions and do the negotiating for a settlement. Statistics show that an experienced attorney can increase your settlement offer by two or three times over what you can do on your own. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around St. Louis, Missouri, contact The Law Office of Steve Slough. We will provide personalized, one-on-one service and fight for the just compensation due to you or your loved one. We also proudly serve clients in St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and Madison County, Missouri, as well as those located in St. Clair County, Illinois. 

Steps to Take After an Accident

If you’re injured, or someone riding with you is injured, the first priority after an auto accident is to seek medical attention. Call 911 if you or someone else needs immediate medical attention.  

Also, by Missouri law, you must report to the police any accident that results in injury or in $500 or more in property damage. The police should come and investigate. Their investigation can prove crucial to any claim you file if it shows the other driver was at fault. Obtain a copy of their report as soon as it’s available. 

When it comes to injuries, they are not always immediately evident. Due to an adrenaline rush, your pain may be masked, and you may not feel your injuries for hours or days later. The point is to seek medical evaluation even if you don’t feel immediate after-effects of the accident. 

If your injuries are not so serious that you have to go to the ER immediately, or your passenger does, then you should take additional steps at the scene of the accident. Of course, you should drive your car to the side of the road so as not to block traffic. In addition, you should use your smartphone to take pictures or videos of the scene, including your injuries, damages to your vehicle, and even any traffic signs that the other driver may have ignored. 

If there are witnesses, try to get their statements and contact information. Other drivers who saw what happened may pull over and try to help, and they can be a vital source of witness testimony. If the accident happened in front a of business district, people shopping or working in the nearby stores may have witnessed what happened.  

As soon as you get a chance, record or write down what happened to the best of your recollection. This can also prove important in making an insurance claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit. It will also give your attorney solid background information with which to represent you in your claim.  

And that’s the final and most important point—find an experienced personal injury attorney to make your claim for you and deal with the insurance company’s questions and demands. 

Missouri’s Rule on Comparative Negligence 

As mentioned earlier, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will no doubt look for any reason they can find to pin the fault, wholly or partially, on you. Under Missouri’s legal standard of pure comparative negligence, each driver will be assigned a portion of the fault. The insurance company can do this, as can a jury in a trial. 

Say you suffered $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages due to the accident. The insurer for the other driver then claims that it was 50 percent your fault because you failed to signal you were making a lane change. Your $50,000 claim or lawsuit then becomes $25,000. Or worse, they could claim it was 100 percent your fault. 

This is why you should let an experienced attorney handle negotiations with the insurer. Your attorney will also know when it’s time to file a lawsuit, either to force the insurer into honest negotiations or to hold the other party accountable. 

Filing Your Initial Claim

Insurance policies routinely contain “prompt reporting” clauses, which means you can’t sit on your injuries for three months and then suddenly make a claim. The assumption will be that you’re faking it and also that you didn’t report promptly enough. When it comes to a personal injury lawsuit, you may have five years to file one of those, but insurers aren’t going to respect a claim that isn’t reported quickly.  

Report the claim and then have your lawyer take over for you. You don’t want to deal with the claim adjuster assigned to you. That person’s sole mission is to pin as much of the fault as possible on you, and they have an arsenal of questions and tricks to try to get you to admit fault. 

Experienced and Resourceful Legal Guidance

In the St. Louis area and in surrounding communities, and even in St. Claire County, Illinois, reach out to us immediately at The Law Office of Steve Slough if you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident. We know how to deal with insurance companies and their claims adjusters, and we’ll fight for the just settlement you deserve. 


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