Car Accidents and Using Your Seat Belt in St Louis, Missouri

Just a few weeks ago, a two-week safety campaign was launched in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kansas, which included the use of seat belts while in the vehicle and other safety precautions for people on the road. According to local authorities, teenagers are not as diligent in using their seat belts as adults and young children, which is why the police will be patrolling the school areas more through mid-March in an attempt to educate teenage drivers.
Part of the reason for this campaign is a push to further decrease the number of traffic accidents resulting in death or major injuries across the country. The US Department of Transportation reports a 24% drop since 2004, except for 2014 when there was an unexpected spike in car accidents.
In the state of Missouri, car accident deaths increased overall by 11%, and their incidence was alarmingly high at a 36% increase in Southwest Missouri. Most of these accidents were caused by distracted driving rather than a failure to use seat belts.
In Missouri, the penalties imposed on at-fault drivers are severe, especially for drivers under the influence (DUIs), who could face charges of assault or manslaughter. If you have been injured by another party who was driving distracted (e.g., texting while driving), you have every legal right to file a claim against the driver and you can file both a civil and criminal suit.
The most compelling reason to use the seat belt is to save your life. Of those killed in a car accident in Missouri in 2015, 63% were not wearing their seat belt. Injuries could be reduced to minor scratches with the buckling of a seat belt. Unfortunately, many people think “it’s not going to happen to me.” Then, often tragically, it does.
And like most states, Missouri law recognized shared liability so if the courts were to decide that you contributed to your injuries, the claim compensation amount would go down. Under Missouri law, pure comparative fault rules (i.e., it does not matter what the percentage in fault is; both persons can file for personal injury claims if they were both injured, though the compensation is reduced to equal the injury). Thus, not wearing a seat belt lowers your chances of getting paid for damages and/or personal injuries caused by an accident. You could lose thousands in a potential damage claim.
Finally, under the law, the state of Missouri also has its statute of limitations (Title 35, Ch 516, Sec 516.120), which is five years from the date of the accident for civil cases. If your case in not filed within five years, you have very little chance of ever getting compensated for injuries sustained in the accident. There is no cap on the amount of damages you can claim on personal injuries.
If you need legal advice and you have been in a car accident or suffered injuries or property damage, contact us to discuss how we can claim for just compensation.

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Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC

Ryan R. Cox & Associates, LLC is a litigation law firm that represents individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death claims throughout Missouri. We help people who have been injured in all types of accidents—including car or truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and much more. Whether your injury is something that can cause long-term issues like a brain injury or spinal cord injury, or it is something you’ll likely make a full recovery from, we are here to help.

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