Motor Vehicle Negligence & Accidents
With over 240 million registered passenger vehicles in the United States, it’s not surprising that lawsuits related to automobile accidents are the most common type of personal injury cases pending in our court system. Automobile accidents can happen for any number of reasons, but a leading cause behind many of them is driver “negligence.” Even though negligence is a common cause of motor vehicle-related accidents and deaths, you may be unfamiliar with what exactly negligence is, how it relates to Missouri driving laws, and how to prove negligence in a personal injury claim.
If you have been hurt, or a loved one has been injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact the Missouri personal injury lawyers at The S.E. Farris Law Firm by calling 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) today for a free consultation.
In the legal sense, negligence when operating an automobile is “failure to use the highest degree of care, resulting in damage or injury to another.” In other words, when a person acts in a careless or thoughtless manner, and as a result injures another person, he or she is negligent. Motor vehicle negligence can be a result of a driver’s action (speeding; running a red light; tailgating,) or through a driver’s inaction (failing to stop at a crosswalk; not yielding; not using turn signals or headlights properly).
Non-negligent drivers are those who exhibit “the highest degree of care” when operating and/or while in the presence of motor vehicles. In Missouri, the “highest degree of care” means the degree of care that a very careful or prudent person would exercise in the same or similar circumstances. Negligent drivers who do not perform at these standards and subsequently injure someone else are liable for the injuries and/or damage they cause.
Motor vehicle negligence laws vary from state to state. In Missouri, the following elements must be present in order to file a motor vehicle negligence claim:
- A vehicle was being operated when damages occurred; the vehicle was an automobile or motorized vehicle; the vehicle was operated by the defendant; the vehicle was operated in a negligent manner; and the negligent action contributed to cause some or all of the plaintiff’s damages.
If you are a Missouri driver who has been hurt by motor vehicle negligence, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Your personal injury attorney can determine if these elements were present during your accident, and help your prove that your accident resulted from another driver’s negligence.
As with many accidents, it may seem apparent which party is at fault. It may also seem apparent that the at-fault party is also guilty of negligence, but in order to determine that, you and your attorney must prove that the at-fault driver’s carelessness was the proximate cause of the accident. There are a few key items that can help prove the offending party acted in a careless and negligent manner.
A police report of the accident may state explicitly whom the responding officer thinks is in violation of the law, which could add great support to your claim. Even when the officer actually witnessed the event, however, he or she is not the final word on who is at fault. Only a jury can determine this. Additionally, each state has its own “rules of the road.” You can research the rules of the state in which your accident occurred and look for laws that relate to your case. A local DMV or library should have these laws on file. Being familiar with and able to reference these laws may help you in negotiating your claim.
Contact a Missouri Personal Injury Attorney
The most valuable asset to have on your side is a qualified and experienced personal injury attorney. The St. Louis personal injury lawyers at The S.E. Farris Law Firm can help you determine whether you or a loved one is the victim of motor vehicle negligence. Call 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) today for a free consultation. It is important to contact an experienced Missouri attorney as soon as possible so that the circumstances surrounding your negligence claim are investigated, and that your rights are protected.