The Ins and Outs of Vehicle Accidents and Injuries

The Ins and Outs of Vehicle Accidents and Injuries

Vehicular accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury cases, with injuries sustained often resulting in life-altering changes for victims. As a consequence, lawyers who can competently handle such cases are in high demand.

Julie Siegel, a highly experienced Missouri-based personal injury attorney, provides an in-depth look at motor vehicle accidents in this article.

What are the typical kinds of injury that you observe as a result of motor vehicle accidents?

Approximately 90% of my work is representing people who have been injured in a motor vehicle collision. The most common type of crash is a rear-end collision, but we see plenty of crashes that occur because people run red lights or stop signs, striking a car that has the right of way. Probably the most horrific crashes are those that occur with a tractor trailer or commercial vehicle. Those vehicles tend to be larger and cause more damage to both the car and the people in it.

Motor vehicle collisions can cause serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and cervical and lumbar spinal injuries. As a result of a crash, the most common injury is whiplash or an injury to the neck and back caused by the sudden jerking motion that a car crash involved. The types of injuries range from soft tissue, or your average sprains and strains, to herniated discs. While these are the most common types of injuries, we also have client who have broken bones, torn rotator cuffs and knee ligaments, as well as surgeries on their necks and backs.

What are the limits to the compensation that an injured party may receive following a motor vehicle accident?

A client’s case is most likely limited by the insurance policy limits for the person who hit them. In Missouri, the minimum policy limits for a motor vehicle is $25,000. That means that if the person who hit my client only has a minimum policy, that might be all the coverage they have, regardless of the injury sustained. Not every case has a minimum policy; it starts at $25,000 and goes up from there. Some policies, especially for commercial trucks, are over $1,000,000.

There are other types of insurance that may play a role, such as medical payments coverage or underinsured motor vehicle coverage. Sometimes the minimum limits are all we are able to obtain. While I do not sell insurance, I often recommend to people that they check their policies and see if they have medical payments coverage – which will pay medical bills regardless of fault – and underinsured motor vehicle coverage, which covers you if the at-fault person does not have enough insurance to cover your injuries. While it would be using your own insurance, it protects the injury victim from people who do not have enough coverage.

How is liability demonstrated in such cases?

Liability is dependent on each case. Some cases are more clear than others, such as a rear-end crash. The person who rear-ends will almost always be at fault for the crash, and likely have a greater percentage even if the person in front of them stops short. To determine liability, we often go back to the basic rules of the road taught in the driver’s manual. There may be other circumstances that dictate liability like scouring an area for cameras, or an admission of texting and driving. Police officers also make a determination in their reports based on the facts they gather at the scene.

In what ways have advances in medical technology and the rising cost of medical care affected the way motor vehicle injury cases are litigated and settled?

We have not seen a lot of differences in our cases due to the rising cost of medical treatment. On many of our cases we work with doctors’ offices on a lien basis, which means the doctor has a right to be paid out of the proceeds of the settlement. It works well for our doctors and clients. Insofar as medical technology, this has mostly stayed the same in our cases. Clients still need x-rays and follow-ups with CT scans or MRIs. We have not seen a lot of changes from medical advancements, but I think the technology is getting better every day and will provide even more relief to our clients.

After experiencing a motor vehicle accident, what should be an injured party’s first course of action?

The first thing a person should do after being involved in a car accident is call 911. They should report the crash and injuries to the police officer or first responder. If it is safe to do so, they should take a few photos of the vehicles and the scene to preserve the evidence, especially if liability is challenged. Next, they should seek medical attention if they have any pain following a car accident. The next thing they should do is obviously call Siegel Injury Law to assist them with a claim.

How can an experienced personal injury attorney help to reduce losses and stress during these situations?

There are a lot of things a personal injury lawyer can help a client who has suffered injuries from a car crash. Of the many things a lawyer can do, we can help with finding medical providers to work on a lien, help with property damage assessments, and help getting rides to and from doctor appointments. Statistically, people who hire a personal injury attorney get higher average settlement offers than without an attorney, even taking into account the attorneys’ fees. There are tons of advantages to having an attorney, who will alleviate the stress and worry of having been in an accident.


Julie Siegel, Founder

Siegel Injury Law, LLC

130 S Bemiston Ave UNIT 608, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Tel: +1 314-695-8060



Julie Siegel is a St Louis-based personal injury attorney. She is experienced in tackling a range of personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, slip and fall, wrongful death, workers’ compensation and product liability. Since graduating from St Louis University in 1996, Julie’s years in practice have seen her issuing sound advice on workplace injuries, auto accidents and family law to countless clients.

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