Obeying traffic laws is key to protecting yourself and others. Missouri drivers must prioritize safety. Sadly, being a responsible driver doesn't always guarantee your safety.
You may be hurt in an accident through no fault of your own. It’s possible to be injured in an accident resulting from someone else’s lack of care.
You deserve to recover financial compensation if this has happened. Your accident may have left you facing medical bills and other such losses. It's only fair that you receive compensation accordingly if someone else caused your accident.
Read on to learn more about Missouri car accident statistics and how a Missouri car accident can help you after a crash.
Owning a motor vehicle is a requirement for many Missouri residents. Public transportation doesn't always offer a reliable means of getting from point A to point B in Missouri.
Those who live here must drive themselves to get where they're going. This naturally results in crowded roads. As such, accidents can and do occur.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center, in 2021, a total of 146,726 motor vehicle accidents occurred on the state’s roads. Overall, the rate of accidents has fluctuated in Missouri.
In 2019, Missouri saw 157,038 accidents. Victims lost their lives in 819 of those crashes.
In 2021, 931 Missouri traffic accidents were fatal. While fewer accidents, in general, occurred in 2021 when compared to 2019, more accidents were fatal.
There’s no definitive explanation for this trend yet. A number of factors may be to blame for the rise in fatal accidents. Examples include speeding, distracted driving, or congestion.
Factors Affecting Missouri Car Accident Rates
The above factors aren't the only ones that play a role in accident rates. For example, car design trends also affect accident trends. Flimsy vehicles put drivers at greater risk of being injured.
On the other hand, heavy vehicles can cause more damage. They might protect those inside of them, but they can injure others.
Car buying trends play a role in accident rates too. This is because a vehicle's color can affect a driver's chances of being involved in a collision.
Research shows black cars are involved in a high rate of accidents. This is because they're hard to see on the road. Spotting a black car is even more challenging at night.
White cars are involved in accidents at much lower rates. That's because white cars are usually quite visible. Spotting a white car is only a challenge in very snowy conditions.
The popularity of car colors varies from year to year. Accident rates might decline when driving a white car is in fashion. They might increase when more drivers choose black cars.
Keep this in mind when buying a vehicle. Following the latest trends is less important than staying safe.
White is the safest car color. If you don't prefer white, choose a light color instead of a dark one.
Smart pedestrians know wearing bright clothing keeps them safe by making them easier to see. The same idea applies to cars. A driver is less likely to be involved in an accident when others can see them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also potentially influenced driver behavior. Consider the fact that the percentage of fatal crashes in Missouri in which speeding was a factor increased by about 33% in 2020.
During the pandemic, many roads were emptier than usual. Those who were driving during this time might have been more comfortable speeding than they usually would have been.
They might also have been less cautious when deciding to drive drunk or high. Fatal accidents involving motorists under the influence of drugs and alcohol increased by 19.17% in 2020 as well.
These trends may have continued after the pandemic. Additionally, those who weren't driving often during the pandemic were out of practice. They've had to relearn safe driving as a result. Accidents might happen when so many are learning how to drive safely again.
Regardless of what year it is, the majority of car accidents in Missouri involve motor vehicles in transport. Such accidents account for 65.57% of motor vehicle accidents resulting in personal injury in the state. They're much more common than accidents involving stopped vehicles. They're also more likely to result in harm.
The second most common type of motor vehicle accident in Missouri is a collision with a fixed object. This type of crash accounts for 22.29% of accidents in which victims are injured.
Location can also play a role in an accident happening. The majority of motor vehicle accidents resulting in personal injury in Missouri (71.02%) don’t occur at intersections. Approximately 21.54% of accidents that leave victims injured occur at four-way intersections, where questions about who has the right-of-way can lead to collisions. Crashes at T-intersections account for 6.42% of accidents resulting in personal injury in Missouri.
Time of year is yet another factor that contributes to accident rates. In states throughout the country, accidents are often more common during the holidays. Missouri is no exception.
Holidays are times when many gather with friends and family to celebrate. Some indulge in alcohol when doing so. Others may stay out late, causing them to be very drowsy or distracted by the time they return to their own homes.
Increased traffic density during the holiday season, along with weather conditions, such as snow, sleet, or ice, can also increase the odds of accidents.
In the early morning hours, many drivers are likely tired, intoxicated, or both. This results in greater odds of collisions happening.
Additionally, data shows accidents involving pedestrians are occurring more frequently in recent years, along with accidents involving pedal cycles and other such vehicles.
Both motorists and pedestrians should be aware of these trends. Unlike drivers, pedestrians aren’t protected by airbags, seatbelts, and other safety features. This means when pedestrians are involved in accidents; their injuries have a high likelihood of being severe.
To recover compensation after being injured in an accident, you must prove the accident resulted from another party’s negligence. This often requires conducting an investigation. A Missouri car accident attorney can handle this task on your behalf.
A Missouri car accident lawyer can investigate by:
- Contacting witnesses
- Requesting police reports
- Reviewing any footage/photos of the accident
- Recreating the accident scene
The goal of your Missouri car accident attorney is to learn who caused the accident. Their investigation will also allow them to gather evidence of negligence. They can present this evidence when filing a claim. Offering evidence of negligence is key to showing a victim deserves compensation.
Negligence consists of these elements:
- Duty: All motorists have a duty of care to their fellow drivers and pedestrians. They must obey traffic laws and take reasonable steps to avoid causing accidents.
- Breach: A breach occurs when a motorist breaks a traffic law or is otherwise negligent in a manner that could put others in harm’s way. Examples of breaches include (but aren’t limited to) speeding, driving while drunk, texting while driving, etc.
- Cause: A Missouri car accident lawyer can show that someone’s breach of their duty directly caused your accident.
- Damages: These are the compensable losses you may incur as a result of a crash. Examples include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The negligent party responsible for causing a motor vehicle accident is usually another driver. However, there are exceptions. Consider these scenarios:
- A negligent pedestrian steps in front of your car. With no time to hit the brakes, you swerve to avoid them. This causes you to drive off the road. The pedestrian is thus responsible for causing your accident.
- You approach a stop sign at an intersection and apply your brakes. Unfortunately, the brakes fail. This happens because the vehicle’s manufacturer overlooked a defect. Because your brakes are defective, you’re unable to stop. You’re hit by another driver in the intersection as a result.
- The local government agency responsible for maintaining traffic lights fails to repair a malfunctioning traffic light promptly. When the light isn’t working, it’s unclear who has the right-of-way at an intersection. This creates an environment in which accidents can occur.
Do not worry if you’re not sure whose negligence caused your accident. A Missouri car accident lawyer can gather evidence and accurately identify the liable parties.
Negligence Per Se
Some laws were explicitly adopted to prevent accidents. Negligence per se is the legal doctrine stating that a defendant may be considered negligent by default if an accident occurred because they broke such a law.
Perhaps you were injured because a drunk driver struck your vehicle. It would be fairly easy for your Missouri car accident attorney to show you were harmed as a result of negligence in this scenario. They merely have to cite police reports showing the liable driver was intoxicated at the time of your accident.
Proving negligence isn’t always this simple. Sometimes, drivers may negligently cause accidents despite not breaking any specific laws.
This is where a Missouri car accident attorney can help. A legal expert who understands the nuances of these cases can illustrate how a driver was careless even if no exact statute was violated.
Missouri uses the fault or “tort” system for car accidents. In Missouri, when someone causes an accident, they are responsible for compensating victims for their negligence.
Sometimes, a car accident victim may have also been somewhat negligent. Missouri's comparative fault law might apply when this happens. A Missouri car accident lawyer can discuss this topic in more detail if you have questions.
The Missouri Supreme Court adopted the pure comparative fault doctrine in its decision in the case of Gustafson v. Benda. In a pure comparative fault state, even if a victim was partially to blame for their accident, they can still seek compensation for their losses resulting from that accident. That said, the amount of compensation a victim may recover can be reduced based on the extent to which they contributed to their injuries.
For example, maybe you were driving through an intersection when an intoxicated speeding driver struck you. Perhaps your damages total $20,000 determined that you would have potentially been able to stop and avoid the accident had you been paying closer attention to the road. Thus, you’re deemed 10% responsible for causing the accident. This would mean the most money you could potentially recover would be $18,000.
"Damages" refers to the compensation a victim may receive after being injured in a Missouri car accident. Damages may include economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
You can recover economic damages for the financial losses you've incurred after an accident. Examples of such losses include (but aren't necessarily limited to):
- Bills for medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Costs of at-home medical care and equipment
- Expenses associated with medical treatment, such as the cost of travel to and from appointments
Sometimes, victims recover economic damages for future financial losses. This might occur when a victim's injuries leave them needing long-term care. Or, it may occur if a victim's injuries permanently deprive them of the ability to work.
Calculating the potential dollar value of future economic losses is a complex process. This is a task for a Missouri car accident lawyer. Your attorney can determine how much money you may be eligible for losses you'll incur after your claim is settled.
A Missouri car accident attorney may also assign a dollar value to non-economic losses. A car accident victim might recover non-economic damages for losses like:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
Non-economic losses don't have a clear monetary value. The "cost" of your pain isn't as obvious as the cost of a medical bill.
That doesn't mean you don't deserve compensation for your pain. A lawyer will account for this when seeking damages.
Economic and non-economic damages compensate a victim for specific losses resulting from their accident. They aren't meant to punish a negligent party who caused a collision. Collectively, they're referred to as actual damages. A Missouri car accident lawyer may also refer to them as compensatory damages.
Punitive damages are different. Punitive damages may be awarded or assessed when a liable party's actions are significantly negligent or outrageous.
Examples of such behavior may include:
- Driving while heavily intoxicated
- Engaging in road rage
- Racing another driver
- Knowingly operating a vehicle with a serious mechanical defect
Proving punitive damages are warranted is more challenging than proving negligence. Missouri law requires claimants to offer "clear and convincing evidence" that a liable party was either intentionally trying to harm them or acted with a "deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others."
An attorney can't promise a jury will award punitive damages. However, a Missouri car accident attorney can investigate to gather evidence showing punitive damages are warranted.
Punitive damages may discourage a negligent driver from being negligent in the future. This reduces their chances of harming others.
That's important. Recovering compensation after an accident doesn't just benefit you. It can also benefit other drivers. When a negligent driver pays the price, they're less likely to be careless on the road again.
Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri. According to the United States Census Bureau, as of April 1, 2020, it has a population of 508,394.
Car accidents tend to be more common in large cities. This is to be expected. Cities have higher traffic densities than rural areas. More traffic means more chances for crashes to happen.
Large cities may also attract more guests. This adds to the chances of an accident happening. Someone may be more accident-prone when driving in an unfamiliar area.
Data from the Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center indicates that 79 fatal motor vehicle crashes occurred in Kansas City in 2021. About 5,617 accidents left victims with injuries. In total, Kansas City saw 18,282 crashes that year.
US Census Bureau data indicates St. Louis had a population of 301,578 in 2020. In 2021, a total of 15,049 motor vehicle accidents took place in the city. Sixty-four of those crashes resulted in the loss of life, and 3,948 resulted in injury.
Springfield’s population in April 2020 was approximately 169,176. This is significantly lower than that of St. Louis and Kansas City. Springfield’s crash data reflects this population difference.
Approximately 4,389 crashes occurred in Springfield in 2021. Twenty-seven were fatal, and 1,713 left victims with nonfatal injuries.
With a population of 126,254 in 2020, Columbia is slightly less populous than Springfield. However, its rate of motor vehicle accidents is significantly lower.
In 2021, Columbia saw just 1,339 motor vehicle crashes. Of those accidents, 413 caused victims to sustain injuries, while eight were fatal.
The population of Independence is very close to that of Columbia. As of 2020, the city was home to approximately 123,011 residents. Nevertheless, motor vehicle accidents are nearly twice as common in Independence as in Columbia.
Data shows that 2,335 traffic accidents happened in Independence in 2021. Seventeen of those accidents were fatal, and 684 left victims injured.
Despite having a smaller population, Independence may see more annual accidents than Columbia due to its location. Independence is directly adjacent to Kansas City. It, therefore, shares traffic with the largest city in Missouri. This accounts for the prevalence of accidents in Independence.
Understand that accidents can happen anywhere in Missouri. If you’ve been hurt in one because another driver was negligent, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses.
How a Missouri Car Accident Attorney Can Help You
Obeying the rules of the road and exercising caution at all times when driving can minimize your chances of being harmed in an accident. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of others. You might be injured because someone else is irresponsible.
Perhaps you’ve been injured in a car accident resulting from another party’s negligence. Such an experience may disrupt your life in many ways.
Your injuries may require medical treatment. You may not be able to work, which is causing our medical bills to pile up. Additionally, along with your financial struggles, you may have to endure pain and other non-economic hardships as a result of your accident.
An experienced Missouri car accident lawyer will go over the details of your case and let you know if you have grounds to take legal action. More importantly, they can help you level the playing field when pursuing a settlement from a large insurance company.
Insurance companies are businesses. An insurer wants to minimize its financial losses. If you pursue compensation without the help of a qualified car accident lawyer, the insurance company may convince you to settle for less than your claim is worth. The insurer knows you don't have experience handling a claim. This makes it easier to convince you to settle.
An attorney has the resources and experience necessary to pursue what you deserve. You will have more time to focus on your recovery when a lawyer handles your case. Contact Accident.com to find an experienced attorney in your state.