Whenever an auto accident in Missouri leads to passenger injuries, the passengers are unlikely to know where to turn or what to do to get compensation for their injuries. Missouri is a fault based state when it comes to auto accidents, with comparative negligence laws. Yet, the passengers are not involved in the comparative negligence aspect of an auto accident claim because they cannot be held liable for the collision in full or in part. The passenger is not responsible for the accident. Still, these laws can be confusing when it comes to which insurance policy the passenger should turn to for coverage. This is where it helpful to communicate with a Missouri auto accident attorney from the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm. We can evaluate your claim and help you to figure out which insurance policy should cover your damages. Then, we’ll negotiation for a settlement that fairly compensates your injuries and losses.
What Kinds of Injuries are Passengers in Missouri Auto Accidents Most Likely to Have?
Which kinds of injuries you are likely to encounter as a passenger in a Missouri auto accident depends on many different factors. Where were you sitting in the vehicle? Were you wearing a seat belt? Did your seat belt have a shoulder strap? Were you using the shoulder strap? Were you reclined or lying down? Were you sitting in an odd position? Were you sleeping? All of these factors can impact the passengers in Missouri auto accidents. The driver is going to be sitting in the typical position, not reclined, not laying down, not sitting with their legs crossed. Thus, the injuries that we see in drivers are often similar. Drivers are at risk for whiplash and steering wheel impact injuries, for example. Meanwhile, passengers are at risk for various injuries depending on these listed factors. At the same time, passengers can be in a safer position if they are relaxed and do not see the accident coming. If you were asleep, then you didn’t tense up when you realized an accident was about to happen, so you may have fewer injuries. On the other hand, if you were lying down in the back seat or simply not wearing a seat belt, you could be crushed between seats or thrown from the vehicle.
Steps to Take After a Missouri Auto Accident When You Are an Injured Passenger
If you are an injured passenger in a Missouri auto accident, the steps that you take in the immediate aftermath of the collision will depend largely on the severity of your injuries. If your injuries are severe and immobilizing, then you need to stay still. You may have spinal injuries that could result in paralysis or death if you attempt to move from your position. If you have a cell phone that you are able to reach, then you can call 911 for help. If you are not able to call 911, then you may be able to shout for help and for someone else to call 911. Try to remain as still as possible until help arrives. If you are bleeding a lot, then you may be able to locate the source of bleeding and put pressure on the wound. In any event, doing your best to remain calm is going to be your best option in the immediate aftermath of a Missouri auto accident that causes you to become severely injured.
If you are not severely injured and if you are able to move to check on others, then this is what you need to do. Find out if anyone else is injured and respond to those injuries to the best of your ability. This may mean putting pressure on a wound or providing first aid in any way that is necessary. You should call 911 if the injuries are serious to get an ambulance quickly on the scene. The 911 operator can also assist you in providing first aid to the injured. Again, be aware that injured persons should not be moved after a Missouri auto accident unless it is absolutely necessary.
What You Should Do After Injuries Are Addressed in a Missouri Auto Accident
After the injuries of the incident are addressed, you can focus on exchanging information and collecting evidence. If you are taken to the hospital via ambulance, then you may be able to ask someone to do this for you. As a passenger, you may not know which auto insurance policy is going to cover your damages, so you will need to collect he auto insurance and contact information of all drivers. This includes the driver of the vehicle that you were a passenger in. You can also take time to gather evidence in the form of photographs of the scene, injuries, and damage, and the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened. You should also write down your memory of the auto accident before the details start to fade, which can happen more quickly than you think.
If you are not taken to the hospital with serious injuries after the auto accident, then you need to either go to the emergency room or schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Even if you don’t think you are injured, you need to do this. You may not notice your symptoms or you may find that injuries become much worse over time. Seeking medical treatment right away will ensure that any injuries you may have are found and addressed quickly. Thus, those injuries will receive proper treatment instead of becoming worse without treatment. At the same time, you will have medical evidence that the auto accident did cause injuries.
Contact a Missouri Auto Accident Attorney to Discuss How You Will Recover Compensation
The process of recovering compensation as an injured passenger in a Missouri auto accident can be confusing and complicated. The best thing to do is to contact a determined Missouri auto accident attorney from the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case. We will help you to establish who was at fault in the auto accident and which insurance policy is responsible for compensating your injuries and damages. Call us today and get all of your questions answered.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.