A car accident can turn your world upside down within a split second. Being involved in a traumatic event, such as a car accident, usually leaves you feeling stunned and unable to focus on anything else. It is possible that you or a loved one has been hurt as a result of the recklessness or negligence of another. It is important to understand your state of mind during and after the car accident and why you may need legal representation. Psychological trauma is as real as physical trauma. The recovery process includes the healing of emotional wounds. It is also important to hire a St. Louis car accident lawyer who is determined to help you through this difficult time.
REACTIONS TO A CAR ACCIDENT
A situation that results in a victim of a car accident feeling emotionally devastated can be traumatic, whether there are physical injuries or not. Car accidents are the largest source of psychological trauma. According to a report of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Traffic and Highway Safety Division, and other State and local authorities with information on Missouri’s traffic, there were approximately 142,966 traffic crashes in 2011 of which o.5% (716) one or more persons being killed in the incident. In 2011 a total of 786 people died in Missouri traffic crashes. That means a person was killed every 11.1 hours. A total of 51,060 people were injured in traffic crashes in 2011. In other words, one person was injured every 10.3 minutes. Psychological trauma is the emotional condition after surviving a frightening experience.
Everybody responds differently to traumatic experiences. Some of the responses can even be seen as disturbing. It is important to remember that these responses are normal reactions to abnormal events. The first reaction is usually shock and disbelief. The most common symptoms of shock include low blood pressure, feeling faint or weak, a fast weak pulse, shallow breathing and dizziness. As soon as the brain gets the car accident in perspective, normal life resumes.
If the shock was profound, one can suffer post-traumatic stress disorder which can include emotions of anger, guilt, shame, anxiety, mood swings, worry and fear. One can experience physical reactions of nightmares, fatigue, muscle tension, aches, headache, exaggerated startle response and racing heartbeat. One can also have negative cognitive experiences, such as confusion, flashbacks and difficulty concentrating. Some people have trouble functioning at home and in some cases, people use drugs or alcohol to cope.
SEEK HELP FROM A STL CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER
It is essential that post-traumatic stress disorder is treated. An experienced St. Louis auto accident lawyer understands the trauma of an accident. You will need legal guidance in this difficult time. An expert injury lawyer will help you avoid costly mistakes when dealing with the insurance companies. Under Missouri law, car accident victims may seek compensation for their past and future medical expenses. If you have been injured in a car accident, or a loved one got injured or killed in a car accident, seek immediate help from a St. Louis car accident attorney.
If a car accident was caused by the recklessness or negligence of another, the law in Missouri holds the driver responsible for the personal injury and property damages that result. There are many factors that contribute to car accidents and some of these factors include poor condition of roadways, in which case the city, county or state may be the ones responsible.
COMMON CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
Factors that contribute to car accidents, of which you can become a victim of, are driver behavior, mechanical or equipment failure, weather conditions and poor roadway maintenance or roadway design.
It is found that over 95% of car accidents in the United States of America involve some degree of driver behavior, such as:
- Distracted driving is at the top of the list of causes of car accidents. Text messaging, mobile phone dialing, unwrapping food and eating, enjoying the scenery, staring at somebody or something, adjusting the radio or looking at maps.
- Driver fatigue: Drivers can become drowsy or fall asleep behind the wheel. A large number of accidents are caused by driver fatigue.
- Drunk and drugged driving: According to a national survey, Johnston L.D., O’Malley P.M., Bachman J. G. and Schulenberg J.E. (2011), almost fifty percent of all drivers who were killed in car accidents and tested positive for drugs, had alcohol in their system. Results from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. The research also found that sixteen percent of drivers involved in fatal accidents during the week were drunk driving and thirty-one percent of accidents were because of drunk driving on weekends.
- Speeding: Do not fool yourself – speed kills. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when speed increases from 40 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles.
- Disobeying traffic signs: Drivers that do not stop at stop signs and red lights are at risk of side-impact collisions at high speed and often cause death. Many people are ignorant of curve signs. Many drivers have lost complete control of their cars along a dangerous curve. Some drivers disobey the animal crossing signs and simply speed on. This can have fatal consequences.
- Teenage drivers: Driving under the influence of alcohol was 5.8 percent among persons aged 16 to 17 and 15.1 percent of 18 to 20 year olds. Research performed by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that teens are four times more likely to get into a distracted driver-related car accident than adults.
- Street racing: This is a culture of fast cars and deadly car accidents.
Many state police characterize aggressive driving by the following traffic violations:
- Failure to signal
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Disregarding traffic controls
- Excessive speed
- Unsafe lane changes
Police say there is a difference between aggressive driving and “road rage.” Road rage is an angry behavior by a driver of a car and can lead to assaults and collisions which result in injuries and deaths. This behavior can include rude gestures, deliberately obstruct or prevent another from moving their vehicle, verbal abuse or physically assault.
Mechanical or equipment failure:
Equipment failures are usually loss of brakes or tire blowouts. It is also possible that steering or suspension system failure can occur. These failures leave drivers helpless with no control over the vehicle.
Winter driving conditions such as rain, snow and ice affect the braking distance of a vehicle. Inexperienced (and sometimes experienced) must learn how to use slippery roads. Fog limits you vision and can be the cause of a car accident.
Poor roadway maintenance:
Potholes can be potentially dangerous. A driver can lose control of a vehicle or a tire blowout can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Temporary road construction can be a risk if you disobey the warning signs. Roadway maintenance contributes to a very small percentage of car accidents. Debris on the roadway or faded road signs occasionally contribute to accidents.
If you, or a loved one, were a victim of a car accident, you need a reliable St. Louis car accident lawyer to help you deal with your medical expenses, damage to your property and the insurance companies. Personal injury cases are not simple. An experienced Missouri personal injury attorney can handle a wide range of personal injury matters. It is important to contact a St. Louis accident lawyer as soon as possible.