St. Louis Personal Injury Law-North St. Louis Car Accidents More Common
St. Louis Personal Injury Law: Natural Bridge and Fairground Park Car Accidents Becoming More Common
Due to its size and congestion, car accidents are common in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Collisions are particularly common on Fairground Park and nearby Natural Bridge Avenue because of the deadly combination of high pedestrian traffic and low speed limits. The speed limit for Fairground Park is 25 mph, and it never exceeds 40 mph anywhere on Natural Bridge Avenue. Natural Bridge Avenue in particular has been the subject of motorist complaints of “speed traps” in areas where the speed limit drops to 30 or 35. The reputation of these areas for frequent car accidents is becoming worse every year.
Special Case: Car-Pedestrian Accidents
Over 60,000 pedestrians are injured in traffic accidents every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Car-pedestrian collisions, distressingly common in Fairground Park, are highly likely to lead to large courtroom damages or out-of-court settlements because the fragility of the human body. Even a collision at ten miles an hour can seriously injure or disable a pedestrian. Although pedestrians generally enjoy the right of way, however, sometimes courts rule that an accident is partly or entirely the pedestrian’s fault.
Missouri applies a “pure comparative fault” rule for car accidents -- the plaintiff’s damages are reduced by his percentage of fault. If the court rules that the plaintiff was 50 percent at fault, for example, he would receive compensation for only 50 percent of his damages. Scenarios in which fault for an auto accident might be shared include:
A speeding car collides with a jaywalking pedestrian,
One driver is speeding and the other driver runs a stop sign,
One car is driving at just under the speed limit on an icy one-way street, and collides with another driver driving the wrong way.
Insurance companies and corporate plaintiffs are particularly likely to attempt to reduce the amount of a judgment or settlement in a case where their liability is clear, by attempting to place partial blame on the plaintiff. A skilled St. Louis car accident lawyer can help you avoid this result or at least reduce the percentage of fault that the court attributes to you. Keep in mind that even the value of an out-of-court settlement will be determined by how much you are likely to win in court.
Two forms of litigation are possible in a St. Louis car accident – a personal injury lawsuit and a wrongful death lawsuit. Missouri state law governs both of these actions.
Personal injury lawsuits: A car accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for his financial losses (such as medical bills) and for his pain and suffering. In fact, compensation for pain and suffering often exceeds compensation for medical expenses by multiples of three or four to one. You must generally file a personal injury lawsuit within five years of the accident.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Since a deceased victim cannot file a lawsuit, Missouri car accident law allows certain close family members of the victim to file a lawsuit to recover certain damages suffered by both the victim and themselves. Normally, a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within three years of the victim’s death
Making It Happen
Winning a lawsuit or an out-of-court settlement requires quite a bit of expertise in Missouri substantive law and civil procedure. Gathering admissible evidence, interviewing witnesses and reconstructing the accident to prove fault, are all complex and difficult tasks that you will likely have to undertake even to obtain a settlement. If you were injured in a car accident that occurred in Fairground Park, on Natural Bridge Avenue or elsewhere in the greater St. Louis area, an experienced car accident attorney could make the difference between winning and losing your case. Call Alvin Wolff today for a free initial evaluation.
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