What Should I Do If I Know the Accident Was My Fault?
Nov. 21, 2023
Being at fault in an accident can be a daunting experience. The fear, the guilt, and the uncertainty about what comes next can be overwhelming. You might feel like you're alone in this, but remember, you're not. It's okay to seek help, even if you think the accident was your fault. Everyone makes mistakes - it's how we handle them that counts.
Located in the heart of St. Louis, Missouri, The Morris Firm is here to provide you with the legal support you need during these challenging times. Led by attorney Raphael Morris, a seasoned personal injury attorney with over 19 years of experience, the firm gladly assists clients across St. Charles, Jefferson County, and St. Charles County, Missouri. They are committed to fighting for your rights, providing clear communication, and offering personalized attention every step of the way. So, no matter where you are in the region, know that you have a trusted ally in The Morris Firm.
Understanding Liability in Missouri
Missouri operates under an at-fault system. So, what does that mean for you? Essentially, if you're at fault in an accident, you're responsible for the damages caused. This could cover the other party's medical expenses, property damage, or any other losses. However, determining fault isn't always straightforward. Factors like police reports, witness statements, and physical evidence play a significant role. As such, it's crucial to understand your rights and responsibilities under Missouri law because you may have options.
Don't Admit Fault at the Scene
At the scene of the accident, emotions run high, and it's easy to feel pressured into admitting fault. But here's something crucial to remember: don't. Even if you believe you're responsible, admitting fault can have serious legal implications. It could impact your ability to defend yourself later on. So, it's best to let an attorney determine liability based on evidence, not emotions.
Contact Your Insurance Company
One of the first steps after an accident is to contact your insurance company. This step is crucial, as it initiates the process of filing a claim and getting the compensation you need for your losses.
But it's important to remember that navigating the claims process isn't always straightforward. The claims adjuster from your insurance company, while seemingly helpful, is not necessarily on your side. They are employed by the insurance company, and their primary goal is to save the company money. This often translates into offering you a settlement that is lower than what you may rightfully deserve.
The adjuster might use various tactics to achieve this. It's a game of negotiation, and they're well-versed in playing it.
Here's what you should do when dealing with your insurance company:
Be honest but careful with your words: It's essential to give an accurate account of the incident. However, avoid making statements that could potentially be used against you.
Document everything: Keep a record of all your communications with the insurance company. This includes letters, emails, and notes from phone conversations. These documents can serve as valuable evidence if there's a dispute about your claim.
Seek Legal Advice
Think you're at fault? You should still seek legal advice. Attorney Raphael Morris, with his wealth of experience in personal injury law, can review your case's details, assess your potential liability, and guide you on how to protect your rights and interests. Remember, the law isn't always black and white, and having a seasoned attorney at your side can make a world of difference.
What to Do If You Get Sued
When you're at fault in a car accident in Missouri, the fallout can be complex and stressful. Missouri is a "fault" car accident state, meaning the driver at fault is responsible for compensating those who were harmed. Not only are you dealing with the guilt and anxiety of causing harm to others, but you may also face legal repercussions.
Here's what you need to do if you get sued:
Contact an attorney: The first step is to contact a trusted attorney like Raphael Morris. He will review the details of your case, help you understand your rights and options, and prepare a strong defense on your behalf.
Understand the lawsuit: It's crucial to understand the lawsuit filed against you. Your attorney will explain the charges, potential penalties, and the legal process ahead.
Gather evidence: Together with your attorney, start gathering evidence that could help your case. This could include photos from the accident scene, medical records, witness testimonies, and any other relevant information.
Prepare your defense: Your attorney will use the gathered evidence and legal expertise to build a strong defense. This could involve challenging the plaintiff's evidence or presenting evidence of your own.
Negotiate a settlement: In some cases, your attorney might recommend negotiating a settlement. This can save you from a lengthy court process and potentially reduce the amount you need to pay.
Go to trial: If a settlement isn't possible or isn't in your best interest, your attorney will represent you in court. They will present your defense and work towards the best possible outcome.
Dependable Legal Guidance When You Need It
It's okay to seek help and guidance, even if you believe you're at fault. Attorney Raphael Morris and his team are here to provide reliable legal guidance during these challenging times. They'll tirelessly work to protect your rights and help you navigate the legal process with confidence. Remember, everyone makes mistakes - it's how you handle them that counts.