Missouri is an “At Fault” State
Missouri is an “at fault” state, which means that after a motor vehicle crash, the person who caused the accident is responsible for the harm that was done. While the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the damages, it only includes up to policy limits. With that said, it’s critical to follow these steps to prove that you aren’t liable for the damages.
Critical Steps to Take After a Motor Vehicle Crash
You should first call an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process and build a strong case. In addition, you’ll need to gather evidence that supports you are not at fault for the car accident. Some of the most crucial evidence you need to prove a car accident wasn’t your fault include the following:
If there were any witnesses to the car accident, get their contact information. These witnesses can provide valuable testimony to help prove that the accident wasn’t your fault. Eyewitnesses can often give an unbiased account of what happened, which can be helpful in disputes between the drivers involved. If there are any inconsistencies in the statements told by the drivers, eyewitness testimony can help uncover the truth.
Photos or Video Footage
Photos or video footage of the car accident can be extremely helpful in proving you were not at fault. This evidence can help to show what happened before, during, and after the accident. It can also disprove any false statements made by the other driver. If you have a dashcam, download the footage as soon as possible. If there are any witnesses with cell phones, ask if they were able to take video or photos of the accident. This evidence can be extremely helpful in proving you are not responsible for the crash.
If you’re wondering why police reports are not included in the above evidence list regarding evidence, read on to learn why.
Police Reports Are Considered Hearsay
In Missouri, a police report after a car accident is considered hearsay. This is because the officer who made the report was not present at the time of the accident. Hearsay is defined as an out-of-court statement offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. The exception to this rule is if the police report is considered an official record. An official record is defined as writing made by a public officer in the performance of their duty and kept in the custody of the public office where it was made. For a police report to be considered an official record, it must be properly authenticated. Authentication is proving that a document is what it purports to be.
If a police report after a car accident is not properly authenticated, it cannot be admitted into evidence, and the court will not consider it. Your attorney will decide whether or not it will be necessary to authenticate a police report to be submitted as evidence.
Why A Police Report Can Still Be Helpful
A police report can still be helpful as it contains other pertinent information, such as n such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as a description of what happened. It will also list any citations that were issued to the drivers involved. The report can also be a tool to help you remember details of your accident.
Getting Help After a Car Accident
It’s important to remember that insurance companies are in business to make money, so they may try to minimize the amount of compensation they have to payout. That’s why it’s crucial to have an experienced lawyer on your side. If you or someone you love were injured in a car accident in Missouri, Meyerkord & Kurth is here to support you every step of the way.
Contact us today at (800) 391-4318 to learn your rights.