Columbia Car Accident Attorney
Auto Accident Lawsuits In Columbia, MO
Being injured in a car accident can make for difficult times, forcing victims to deal with pain, limitations, and immense emotional stress. For many, concerns about lost income and paying for medical bills and possible future treatment make it even more stressful.
Fortunately, Missouri law allows victims injured in auto accidents to hold those at-fault financially responsible for these damages. But because the insurance companies that handle personal injury claims are businesses that care most about their bottom lines, securing a full and fair recovery demands the help of experienced attorneys.
At Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., our Columbia car accident lawyers are passionate about helping injured clients fight for justice. With over 235 years of collective legal experience, our team has recovered more than $400 million in verdicts and settlements and has made the difference for auto accident victims when it mattered most. If you were injured anywhere in Boone County or the surrounding areas, we’re ready to help.
Causes Of Car Accidents In Columbia, Missouri
Car accidents can happen anywhere and at any time, and they can have a range of consequences. But for as much variety as there is when it comes to accident types and their outcomes, nearly all result from some act of negligence – whether it’s committed by a negligent motorist, commercial driver, property owner, or even a product manufacturer.
At Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., we’ve handled countless auto accident cases involving all types of circumstances. This insight allows us to better investigate the underlying causes of crashes and how to help our clients seek the compensation they deserve.
We handle car accident cases involving all causes, including some of the most notorious:
- Distracted driving: One of the leading causes of car accidents is driver distraction. This includes activities like texting or talking on the phone, using GPS devices, eating, grooming, adjusting the radio, or interacting with passengers while driving. Taking attention away from the road increases the risk of collisions.
- Speeding: Driving at high speeds reduces a driver's ability to react to sudden changes in road conditions or unexpected obstacles. Speeding also increases the severity of crashes and reduces the effectiveness of safety features in the vehicle.
- Driving under the influence: Operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or certain medications significantly impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times, leading to an increased risk of accidents.
- Reckless driving: Aggressive driving behaviors, such as tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and ignoring traffic signals, often lead to accidents. In addition to facing citations or even criminal charges, aggressive and reckless motorists may also be held liable in civil court for injuries and losses suffered by victims.
- Fatigue: Driving while fatigued or drowsy can impair a driver's ability to focus and react quickly, increasing the risk of accidents. Some studies have equated poor sleep with impaired driving ability on par with alcohol intoxication.
- Failure to obey traffic rules: Disregarding traffic signs, signals, and right-of-way rules can lead to collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.
Who Is Liable For Your Car Accident In Columbia, MO?
Figuring out who to hold financially responsible (or liable) for your accident is one of the most important objectives in any injury case. But because every accident is unique, liability will depend on specific facts and circumstances. Some general examples of parties who may be held liable include:
- A negligent driver.
- The employer of a negligent driver in a commercial vehicle or truck accident case.
- A school district or municipality responsible for a bus accident
- Manufacturers, distributors, or suppliers of defective products.
It is important to note that fault and liability are not always one in the same. That’s because personal injury claims need to be brought against parties that not only bear legal responsibility but also have the financial means to cover a victim’s expenses. This means that when you file a personal injury claim against an at-fault party after being injured in a car accident, that party needs to have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate you for your losses.
This being the case, car accident investigations also focus heavily on finding available insurance coverage. In a typical case involving one at-fault driver, this coverage will often come from that driver’s auto insurance policy. In an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it will likely come from the employer’s commercial insurance policy.
Of course, there can always be challenges when it comes to identifying liable parties and searching for sufficient coverage, which is why our team at Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. is so detailed in the investigatory work we do. We’re also experienced in identifying liable parties and sources of coverage in cases where fault, liability, or insurance issues make for complications. Some examples include:
- Rideshare accidents: Accidents involving Uber and Lyft are common in Columbia, which is home to the University of Missouri and a thriving rideshare scene. However, they can create challenging questions about liability, leaving victims to wonder whether they should pursue claims against a private motorist, the rideshare company, or some other party.
- Defective products: Products liability is the liability that manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers have for injuries caused by their products. This includes auto parts like faulty tires, brakes, or airbags that cause or contribute to accidents and injuries. Determining how a defective product caused a crash and pursuing compensation from the appropriate party requires a great deal of investigative leg work.
- Uninsured / Underinsured motorists. Accidents caused by drivers who don’t carry insurance, or who don’t carry enough, put victims are great risk of not being able to recover funds for their medical bills and other damages. This is why having UM/UIM coverage, which is optional, is so important. When you have this coverage and are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can file a claim with your own insurance company to recover the compensation you need.
- Hit-and-run accidents / at-fault party can’t be located. UM/UIM insurance can also prove invaluable in crashes where at-fault parties cannot be located, either because they fled the scene of the crash or created a hazard and never stopped to address it (such as when something falls off the roof of a car). As with cases involving uninsured drivers, victims in these situations can file claims under their own insurance policy, if they have this optional coverage.
What Damages Can I Recover In A Car Accident Lawsuit?
When you’re able to prove fault and liability, you’re entitled to a financial recovery of your damages. These are damages that you incurred as a direct result of your accident and injuries, and they can cover a range of economic and non-economic losses, including:
- Medical expenses. Victims are entitled to compensation for costs associated with treating their injuries. This can include everything from emergency room visits to various treatments, surgeries, therapies, medications, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages. When injuries prevent victims from working and earning income, they can seek a recovery of their lost wages from when they missed work due to being injured, seeking treatment, or recovering.
- Future damages. In cases involving catastrophic injuries or lasting disabilities, it’s important for victims to consider any future losses they may incur. This includes costs associated with any future expected medical care, treatments, or needed accommodations, as well as lost future earnings. Calculating future damages requires a great deal of work, and financial and medical experts are often used to provide insight into the types and costs of damages victims are likely to suffer beyond the conclusion of a case.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to past and future financial losses, auto accident victims can also recover compensation for their non-economic damages. These are damages that don’t have a price tag, but which still have a tremendous impact on victims’ lives. Some examples include pain and suffering, loss of quality or enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and more. In cases of wrongful death, the emotional suffering of surviving family members is also compensable.
- Property damage. In addition to damages related to their injuries, victims are also entitled to recover costs for repairing or replacing vehicles and other personal property damaged in a crash.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Car Accident Claims In Missouri?
In Missouri, victims generally have two years from the date of their car accident to file a personal injury claim. When lawsuits are filed against a government entity, victims will have three years to file a claim. However, claims against a government entity are subject to unique rules, including requirements to provide notice within a certain period, so victims may need to act sooner.
In any car accident case, it’s vital for victims to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible after their crash. That’s because the statute of limitations functions as a legal deadline and when it expires, you will not be able to file a lawsuit or recover compensation. Taking immediate action can also provide your attorney with more time to investigate what happened and build the strongest possible claim.
Process for Filing a Car Accident Claim
While every case is unique, there is a general timeline you can expect when it comes to filing a car accident claim. This includes:
- Legal support. The auto accident claim process begins when you hire an attorney. Early in the process, the attorney will handle communications with insurance companies on your behalf, explain what you can expect for your specific case, and begin their independent investigation.
- Discovery. Early in your case, you’ll participate in discovery, a process during which both sides exchange information and evidence they’ve obtained through their investigations. During this stage, you may also be asked to complete interrogatories, which are questions about your accident and injuries, and/or provide testimony during a deposition. In some cases, testimony and findings from medical experts and other relevant experts may be exchanged.
- Negotiations. Equipped with information from investigations and experts, your attorney can engage in out-of-court negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. These negotiations are informal, and you will have the ability to accept or refuse any pretrial offers based on the advice of your attorney.
- Mediation/arbitration. In some cases, parties in a car accident case may participate in alternative dispute resolution processes such as mediation (which involves a neutral third party who helps both sides come to an agreement) or arbitration (which involves an arbitrator who hears evidence and testimony and issues a decision in a similar manner to a judge). These are more formal than negotiations between attorneys and insurance companies, but they still offer parties a way to resolve cases without having to go to court.
- Trial. If an insurance company fails to make a fair offer, a case involves disputes over essential facts or claims, or parties simply cannot come to an agreement, trial may be necessary. At a civil trial, both parties present their cases before a judge and/or jury, who then renders a decision about liability and damages. Trials come with added costs, and they do pose risks, but they are sometimes the only choice when insurance companies don’t want to accept liability.
Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
The benefits of working with an experienced attorney after a car accident cannot be understated. Car accident claims are complex and consequential matters that directly impact your physical, financial, and emotional wellbeing for years to come, and they should be handled with the skill and commitment of a proven advocate.
At Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., we believe in the value of the work we do and hear from so many of our satisfied clients about how we were able to help. Some of the things that were most important to our clients include:
- Handling all communications with insurance companies.
- Investing the time and resources into conducting investigations.
- Working with health care providers and medical experts to gather evidence about the scope of injuries and their impact on victims.
- Utilizing our experience, insight, and resources to construct claims that position clients for the maximum financial compensation possible.
- Aggressively negotiating or litigating claims to ensure insurance companies play fair.
Request a FREE Consultation with Our Car Accident Attorneys In Columbia, MO
Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. is trusted by auto accident victims across Columbia and the state of Missouri because we care about the work we do and know how to get results.
If you have questions about a case, we’re available to discuss your rights, legal options, and how we can help during a FREE consultation. Call (888) 287-1046 or contact us online to request yours.
“My husband was in a car accident, we called Aaron Sachs, and are very glad we did! First of all, they sent someone to our home to interview my husband, so he did not have to drive all the way to Springfield to their office while he was in pain.” - Former Client
“I was rear-ended by a non-insured driver. My car was totaled and I ended up having surgery on my shoulder. I was thrilled to get a settlement way larger than I could have dreamed.” - Former Client
We make sure that we are available to answer our clients’ questions, breaking down the complex legal jargon and using plain English. There is no “one size fits all” answer — your case needs and deserves individual attention, and this is what we are prepared to provide.
Our team has over 235 years of combined experience, handling over ten thousand personal injury cases. We are committed to professional excellence in every aspect of what we do and how we do it. We have over 65 employees with an exclusive focus on injury claims.
We strive to meet our clients where they are and provide the service they need. Suffering an injury is a difficult time in an individual’s life; you need representation that understands both the worries you may be feeling and the world you are now dealing with. Let us help ensure your rights are protected.