Hit and Run Laws in Missouri – St. Louis Car Accident Attorney

Hit and run drivers face serious legal consequences in Missouri. Hit and run accidents refer to an auto accidents where the driver at-fault leave the scene of the accident, after causing injuries and damage. Fleeing the accident scene can have both civil and criminal consequences. Knowing the hit and run laws in Missouri can help you understand how to pursue a claim, if you are a victim of such an accident, or the consequences you may face, if you are found guilty. In this post, we will explain hit and run laws in Missouri.

Duties of a Driver

Not many are aware that there are certain duties when a driver is involved in an accident. If the accident resulted in injuries, the uninjured driver should call 911 and report the accident. The drivers involved in the accident are also required to exchange important information such as contact details and insurance information. In order to fulfill these duties, the driver must not flee the accident scene under any circumstances.

Punitive Damages Following a Hit and Run Accident

Punitive damages are normally not awarded in auto accident cases, however, they may be awarded in hit and run accidents. Punitive damages are a type of compensation that can be obtained when the at-fault driver caused the harm, either recklessly or intentionally, or acted in an egregious manner. The purpose of these damages is to punish the at-fault driver and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

Everyone is expected to be legally aware of their responsibilities as a driver at the scene of an accident, and committing a hit and run is in most cases considered worthy of punitive damages. Even if the car accident was unintentional, the fact that you fled the scene of accident is enough to invite punitive damages.

Criminal Consequences of a Hit and Run Accident

In most states, the driver who is found responsible for a hit and run accident, which resulted in serious injury or death, may face criminal consequences as well. For example, in Missouri, if a hit and run accident results in injuries or death, it is considered a Class D felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, and/or jail time of up to four years. However, if the hit and run accident causes less than $1,000 worth of damage to the victim’s vehicle, it is considered a class A misdemeanor. However, if the damage exceeds this amount, or the at-fault driver has a prior violation, it is considered a class D felony.

Speak With a St. Louis Attorney

If you have been injured in a St. Louis car accident, you should immediately seek legal help from a St. Louis car accident attorney, who is experienced in handling such cases. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. today at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.

Side Impact Collisions & Brain Injuries – St Louis Automobile Wreck Lawyers

Side impact accidents, also known as T-bone accidents, occur when vehicles form a T-shape when a vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. T-bone accidents are extremely common at intersections, however, they can also occur when drivers leave driveways and parking spaces, or hit the side of an oncoming car. Irrespective of where the collision occurs, the side of the car absorbs almost no impact and provides little protection when the collision occurs. Even if the vehicle has side airbags, they are usually not as effective as the front airbags.

According to our St. Louis automobile wreck lawyers, side impact accidents are extremely dangerous, because the side of a car offers little to no protection. According to a study conducted by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine, 19 percent of the total crashes studied were side impact accidents, nut these were responsible for 32 percent of all car accident fatalities.

One reason that side impact accidents are more likely to be fatal is that there is a greater risk of occupants suffering a traumatic brain injury. Surprisingly, 51-74 percent of the fatalities in side impact accidents are caused by a traumatic brain injury. While not all traumatic brain injuries are fatal, more often than not, they are life altering.

Side Impact Accidents – a Leading Cause of TBI

In a study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, researchers from University of Rochester evaluated the risk of brain injury after a side impact accident. It was found that side impact accidents cause brain injuries so commonly that when a victim reports to the emergency room after a side impact crash, doctors generally evaluate him/her for a TBI even if there are no obvious signs of it.

A study, based on National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, on accidents involving 5,483 vehicles and 6,780 people. The research was focused on more than 1100 people who were involved in accidents, were present in the car at the time of accident, and where at least one person suffered serious injuries. The researchers analyzed the type of crashes that occurred, and the injuries that victims suffered. It was found that side impact crashes were thrice as likely to result in TBI compared to other types of crashes including head on collisions. The cases in which the victims sustained TBIs, it was more likely to be a severe injury. It was also found that women face a higher risk of sustaining a TBI in a side impact crash compared to men, primarily because their neck is not as strong as that of men.

Have you been injured in a side impact crash?

If you or someone close to you has suffered a TBI in a side impact crash, you are likely facing huge medical bills. Get in touch with an experienced accident lawyer to learn more about your legal right to compensation. Our experienced attorneys have been helping injury victims for over 15 years and can do the same for you. Call us today at (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.

Read more: Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Car Accident Lawyers – How Seasonal Affective Disorder Affects Driving

Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD is a severe type of winter disorder common in many parts of US.

Many people tend to suffer from this disorder when winters settles in. Researchers believe this could be caused by darker winter days, snow, or genes. Even if you live in a sunshine state that receives a good amount of sunshine throughout the year, people can still suffer from this disorder.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

There are several reasons why people might experience SAD, although it might not be as cold and snowy as it is in other parts of the country. The time after the holiday season can lead to stress and disappointment for many individuals. The pressure of returning to work, and keeping New Year resolutions can make things worse. As seasons change, it may lead to stress for the body.

Individuals who suffer from Season Affective Disorder (SAD) can experience a wide range of symptoms including:

  • Feeling of moodiness and sluggishness
  • Changes in eating habits and patterns
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Problem concentrating and thinking
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Loss of interest in hobbies

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Car Accidents

If you are suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), you could be at a greater risk of being involved in a St. Louis car accident, especially if you are having trouble concentrating or sleeping. If you cannot concentrate on the task at hand, because of your condition, you may be driving distracted. If you have sleep disruptions or feel fatigued, your response times could be slower, and you may even fall asleep behind the wheel.

How Can Individuals with SAD Avoid St. Louis Car Accidents?

If are feeling low at this time of the year, you can make some efforts to address this disorder and thereby decrease your chance of being involved in a car accident:

Get some exercise: Sunshine can be a natural cure for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), especially when you combine it with exercise. Whenever possible, go out for a swim, walk, hike or some other outdoor activity.

Relieve stress through social interaction: Spend some time with loved ones as it can help reduce stress and fight loneliness.

Seek medical attention if necessary: If you are finding it difficult to perform normal activities, and experiencing sleep disturbances, you should seek medical attention. Ignoring your symptoms can put you at a high risk of car accident and workplace injuries.

Eat healthy: Do not rely on junk food to beat your depression. Instead adopting a healthy diet that can improve your overall health. Eating empty calories or eating too much can aggravate SAD symptoms and contribute to feelings of sluggishness.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent, distracted, or fatigued driver, you may have a claim. You should discuss your case with a competent St Louis Automobile Accident Attorney, who can educate you about your rights and help get you rightful compensation. Call (314) 361-4242 to discuss your claim with an experienced attorney free of charge.

Injured in St. Louis Car Accident – Facial Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents

Facial injuries are one of the most common injuries associated with car accidents.

In spite of the fact that cars have become safer over the years, thanks to the advancement in manufacturing and technology, the faces of drivers and passengers are still exposed. There are various ways in which a person can sustain a facial injury in a car accident including: head slamming into the steering wheel, windshield glass flying into face, sudden forceful opening of airbags, and many other ways. In short, our face is extremely vulnerable when it comes to car accident injuries. In this post, we have put together important information about facial injuries that could occur as a result of St. Louis car accidents.

Common Types of Facial injuries Suffered in St. Louis Car Accidents

The most common facial injuries that can result from a car accident include:

  • Breaks: Our face is made up of 14 bones, and the force of a car accident can cause these bones to become damaged or broken. The fact that these bones encase critical organs such as brain and eyes, there could be serious complications.
  • Facial deformity: Even after the facial injuries are treated and have healed, the face can set in ways that makes you look significantly different from how you did prior to the accident, and can result in deformities. This can have an adverse effect on the quality of life and self-esteem of the victim.
  • Scarring: In a car accident, the victim may get hit by an object or the victim may land on an object in a way that leaves a deep cut on the face. In some cases, even after the wound has been treated properly, there is still scar. It is a visible sign of trauma of the unfortunate car accident, and leaves the victim with permanent pain.
  • Eye injuries: Eyes are one of the most vulnerable and sensitive parts of the body. They are exposed to various dangers during a car accident, and one of them can cause a serious injury. Common eye injuries include scratched cornea and visual impairments.
  • Burns: Car accidents can also start a fire, due to the presence of flammable materials, car components, or nearby circumstances. In some cases, these flames may engulf the victim and cause serious burn injuries. These injuries can be very serious and often serious prolonged and extensive medical treatment.

Injured in a St. Louis Car Accident?

If you have suffered facial injuries in a car accident, chances are that you may require extensive, costly treatment. Make sure that you recover the rightful compensation from the at-fault party. Call (314) 361-4242 to speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Your Job Can Increase Your Chances of Being Involved in an Auto Accident

While St. Louis automobile accidents can be the result of a variety of factors, some people may be at a higher risk compared to others.

For example, older drivers, newer drivers, and those with health and mental conditions may have an increased risk of being in a St. Louis auto accident. One important factor that can impact your safety behind the wheel is your ability to drive and focus on driving. Many experts have been suggesting that the person’s job could also have an effect on their accident risk.

New research shows that the nature of person’s job could have an effect his/her chances of being in an accident. The website Moneysupermarket.com analyzed around 2 million insurance claims and found that healthcare related professionals are at a higher risk of car accidents compared to other types of workers. According to the study, surgeons and general practitioners have the highest rate of accidents among all professions. Surprisingly, of the top 10 professions, 9 were health care professionals, with probation officers being the only exception at rank 7. Also, the study showed that office workers had the lowest rates of claims.

Why Are Healthcare Workers at Risk?

It is important to understand why healthcare workers may be at a higher risk of car accidents. One important reason could be nature of the job itself. Most healthcare workers are prone to:

Stress and distractions: General practitioners and surgeons are usually overburdened with work and have to handle emotionally difficult cases such as patients with life threatening conditions. This can be both stressful and distracting, which means it is more likely that they might be thinking of work and their patients even while driving. Distracted driving is an obvious risk for drivers, which puts healthcare workers at a higher risk.

Speeding and hurrying: Healthcare workers often have to attend to emergency cases, and this requires them to rush much too often. They have to rush to make it to the hospital in time to attend to a critically ill patient. Speeding could therefore play a role in car crashes involving healthcare workers.

Fatigue: Healthcare workers often have to work long hours and night shifts. Studies have shown that shift work can lead to fatigued driving. For this reason healthcare professionals have been found to be more prone to accidents compared to other workers. Long hours in the emergency rooms and night shifts often cause a lot of stress and fatigue putting healthcare professionals at a high risk of car accidents.

Speak With a St. Louis Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone dear to you has been injured by a fatigued, distracted, or negligent driver, you may be entitled to claim for medical expenses and lost wages. You should get in touch with a competent automobile accident attorney in St. Louis to get help with the claim process. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free and private consultation with an experienced lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C.

St. Louis Auto Accident Injury – Lower Back Pain

It is common for auto accident victims to suffer from a lower back injury.

In addition to pain, you may experience tingling and numbness in the region. If the pain radiates from the lower back down the leg, it could be a symptom of lumbar radiculopathy, commonly referred to as sciatica.

Sciatica is caused by nerve compression or slipped discs from a sudden blow to the lower back area at the time of the accident. When a spinal disc is pressed against a spinal nerve, it may cause nerve root compression, irritation, severe lower back pain, and inflammation.

Common Symptoms of Sciatica

If you get injured from a car accident and experience the following symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

  • Severe pain in the lower back area. The pain radiates along the spinal nerves down the back of the legs into the feet. You may also notice that the pain worsens when you walk, move your feet, or put pressure on the leg.
  • Tingling, burning sensation, or stinging sensation in the legs or feet.

Treatment Options for Sciatica

According to Chicago personal injury attorney Matthew Willens, depending on the extent and severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend therapies, medication, or surgery. Common treatment options for sciatica include:

  • massage therapy
  • anti-inflammatory medicines
  • spinal manipulation
  • physical therapy
  • exercising
  • acupuncture
  • epidural steroid injections
  • application of heat and/or ice
  • surgery

Recovery from Car Accident Injuries

If you suffer a serious injury, you may need to take time off from work to recover. How long it would take to recover depends of the severity of the injury. Long-term physical therapy may be required. Meanwhile, you may be allowed to return to work, but there could be restrictions on certain activities.

Claiming Compensation for Sciatica

If you suffer from a severe lower back injury from a car accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent party. Seek legal advice from a car wreck injury lawyer from The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Call us at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation. Make sure you recover maximum compensation for your injuries.

Auto Wreck Attorney: Concern Over the Increase in Missouri Car Accident Deaths

Car accidents are a leading cause of death among Americans. While some accidents are minor fender benders, others are quite serious, leading to loss of life.

Thousands of people get killed and thousand others get permanently injured and may lead a life of misery. When it comes to automobile accident statistics, Missouri paints a pretty grim picture compared to many other states. In Missouri, automobile accident deaths are on a rise, and this is a matter of concern not just for authorities and law makers, but also for the residents.

Statistics show that motor vehicle deaths are on a decline across the nation. In the year 2013, around 32,719 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents, according to the US Department of Transportation. This shows a decrease of more than 3 percent from the previous year, and almost 25 percent decrease from 2004. However, Missouri has been showing a different trend altogether. According to Missouri state highway patrol, there has been a significant increase in car accident fatalities in 2014 over the previous year.

In Missouri, traffic fatalities increased by about 11 percent last year. In Southwest Missouri, there was an increase of 36 percent in traffic fatalities. Not wearing proper seat belts and distracted driving are believed to be leading causes of traffic fatalities in Missouri.

Missouri state highway patrol troops have been try to prevent fatal motor vehicle accidents by imposing serious consequences for those at fault. For example, drunk or intoxicated drivers could face assault or manslaughter charges for causing the motor vehicle accident. The driver at-fault can face criminal charges if the crash results in injury or death. The family of the person who gets killed in a motor vehicle accident can file a wrongful death claim against the driver at fault.

Not wearing a seatbelt properly (or at all) is one of the biggest mistakes a driver or passenger can make. According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, getting into a car crash at 30mph without a seatbelt is as dangerous as falling from a three story building. There have been cases of people getting killed in crashes as slow as 12 mph. Even other safety devices such as air bags become less effective at preventing injuries when the person is not wearing a seatbelt. In spite of this, many drivers and passengers do not wear a seatbelt.

It has been revealed that of the people killed in car accidents last year in Missouri, 63 percent were not buckled up. About 50 percent of these death could have been prevented if the occupants were wearing a proper seatbelt.

Missouri Automobile Accident Attorneys

So, it is important to follow all traffic rules and wear a seatbelt at all times. If someone close to you gets killed in a car accident, get in touch with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you pursue compensation from the party at-fault. Call (314) 361-4242 to schedule a free consultation.

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How Loose Items in Your Car Can Become Deadly

Car accidents are a harsh reality that drivers face every day.

The biggest misfortune is that a large percentage of car accidents are avoidable. Drunk driving, distracted driving, recklessness, and road rage are common causes of accidents. Even though most of us are aware of this, we still take these risks. There are uncommon causes of car accidents as well and by being aware of these causes we may be able to prevent a number of accidents. One such cause of car accidents is loose objects inside the car.

Loose Items Are Dangerous

Are you aware that loose items in your vehicle could be very dangerous and cause accidents or lead to injuries in the event of a crash? Loose items in the car can become trapped under the pedals, leading to a fatal car accident. Imagine a situation when you are driving towards an intersection and suddenly the cell phone charger that you had placed on the dashboard close to the steering wheel falls down and the cord becomes tangled. You may be able to untangle the cord, but even a slight delay can cause you to lose control of the vehicle and cause a collision. Other loose objects, such as a water bottle, can cause a dangerous situation for drivers and passengers alike.

Safety Tips to Prevent Potential Harm

  • Before you operate your vehicle, make sure there are no objects on the dash.
  • Keep water bottles and other such objects in their designated places such as a cup holder.
  • In case you are carrying luggage, secure everything with straps.
  • If traveling with pets, secure them in a kennel.
  • Before you start driving, check if the floor mats are placed correctly and not piled under the pedals.

According to available reports, unrestrained objects in vehicles are responsible for causing more than 13,000 injuries every year. Injuries can be caused by both small and large objects. Small objects such as soda cans and water bottles, and larger items such as luggage can cause injuries alike. It has been shown that such items are extremely dangerous in the course of a crash. There have been cases when items such as suitcases have caused serious injuries such as fractures and amputations.

St. Louis Automobile Accident Lawyer

Loose objects in your car can cause injury to you and to others sharing the road with you. If you get injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, get help from a St. Louis automobile accident lawyer. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a case evaluation.

8 Things to Know About Sharing the Road with St. Louis Motorcyclists

Many accidents occur simply because a motorist fails to notice a motorcyclist on the road.

Collisions between cars and motorcycles are a common cause of road accidents in the United States. An individual driving a car should be extra careful when passing a two-wheeler on the road or when sharing the road with motorcycles. Here are 8 things you should know about motorcycles and motorcyclists.

  1. More than 50% of all serious motorcycle accidents involve another motor vehicle. It may sound strange but most of these accidents occur due to negligent driving by the motorist rather than by the motorcyclist. There are more cars and trucks on the road than there are motorcycles. Spotting a motorcycle on the road is  a lot more difficult than spotting another car, truck, or SUV. Many accidents occur simply because the driver fails to notice a motorcycle on the road.
  2. A motorcycle, due to its small size, often goes unnoticed. It may be hidden behind a bus, truck, bridge or other visual obstruction.
  3. The view of a motorcycle from your mirrors can be deceptive. It may look further away than it really is. Judging the speed of a motorcycle can be difficult as well.
  4. A motorcyclist may slow down or stop suddenly. As a result, any motor vehicle following too closely may hit it from behind. This is why it is important to keep a safe distance when following a motorcycle on the road.
  5. A motorcyclist may suddenly change positions to bypass debris on the road or to pass another vehicle. As a motorist, you should be prepared to handle such movements by the motorcyclist safely.
  6. Some motorcyclists may forget to turn their signal on or off before and after taking a turn. Some motorcycles do not have turn signals, and a motorcyclist may not use hand signals when turning.
  7. Due to its small size, a motorcyclist may weave in and out of traffic. This type of reckless driving can cause an accident.
  8. When you are following a motorcycle on the road, make sure you keep a little more distance from it than you normally keep when following another four wheel vehicle. This is because a motorcycle is more prone to skidding and often has difficulty stopping on the spot.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, don’t talk to the insurance adjuster until you have had a chance to discuss your accident with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Winter Riding Tips for St. Louis Motorcyclists

Prepare now for winter with these safety tips for winter motorcycle riding in St. Louis.

Driving on icy or snowy roads requires special attention to safety. Inclement weather increases the risks for motorcycles as they are more prone to accidents. It may be better to keep the motorcycle in the garage until the roads are cleared of snow and ice.

Avoid Riding

In bad weather, it is difficult to react to a hazard on a motorcycle because bikes are inherently unstable. Motorcyclists are at a higher risk of sustaining a serious injury in the event of an accident. Even if you feel that the road has been cleared and is safe to drive on, you might encounter icy patches and lose control of your motorcycle. Here are some simple winter safety tips for motorcycle enthusiasts who do not wish to stop riding, even in poor weather.

Winter Safety Tips

  1. If you must travel on an icy road, make sure that you are dressed properly. Wear colors that are easily visible. Ensure that your hands and legs stay warm. Wear several layers of clothes and use wind proof gear to keep the cold out.
  2. To maintain proper control over the bike, drive slowly. Avoid sudden movements and apply brakes slowly. Apply brakes evenly to both wheels. This will minimize the risk of slipping.
  3. Accelerate slowly while paying attention to the back tire. It should not lose traction as you press the accelerator.
  4. Before you hit the road, prepare your motorcycle for the winter. Check the tires, oil, brakes, and lights before you start on your journey.

In spite of taking safety measures, if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, consult a St. Louis personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. at (314) 361-4242 for a free consultation.