St. Louis Car Accidents: The Role of Negligence and How to Prove It

Car accidents are a sobering reality on the streets of St. Louis and throughout the United States. In many cases, these incidents are not merely unfortunate but rather the result of negligence on the part of one or more parties involved. 

Understanding the role of negligence in car accidents is not only critical for legal proceedings but also for promoting road safety and accountability.

This article seeks to equip you with the knowledge needed to comprehend and address the repercussions of negligence on St. Louis roads.

What is Negligence?

Negligence, within the context of car accidents, represents a profound failure to uphold a standard of reasonable care, resulting in injury to others. It encompasses actions or omissions by drivers that deviate from what a prudent and cautious person would do in similar circumstances. 

A stark example highlighting the consequences of negligence emerged in downtown St. Louis, where a tragic incident led to a lawsuit. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a Tennessee teenager, who tragically lost her legs following a crash, filed a lawsuit against the city and the drivers involved. 

The suit contends that the city’s failure to maintain a safe intersection was a primary factor. Specifically, it pointed to an inadequate yield sign on St. Charles Street, obstructed by buildings, which impaired the visibility of oncoming traffic from 11th Street. 

The lawsuit emphasizes that a complete stop was necessary for traffic on St. Charles to safely observe cross traffic. It underlines the role of negligence not just in the actions of drivers but also in the infrastructure and signage that govern road safety. 

What Are the Elements of Negligence?

In a car accident case, establishing negligence involves proving four essential elements. Firstly, it must be demonstrated that the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff. In the realm of driving, this duty is universal. All drivers owe a duty of care not only to other drivers but also to pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road.

Secondly, it is crucial to establish that the defendant breached this duty by engaging in negligent behavior. This breach can manifest in various forms, such as speeding, distracted driving, or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These actions constitute a failure to meet the expected standard of care.

The third element, causation, necessitates proving that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries. This means demonstrating that, had it not been for the defendant’s negligence, the accident and subsequent injuries would not have occurred.

Lastly, the plaintiff must provide evidence of damages incurred due to the accident. Damages encompass various losses, including medical expenses, lost wages due to inability to work, and intangible suffering like pain and emotional distress.

A poignant example illustrating the devastating consequences of negligence is the case of Marissa Politte, an x-ray technician at Total Access Urgent Care. Fox 2 notes that her life was tragically cut short when Trenton Geiger crashed his Honda Pilot into a Ballwin urgent care building. 

Geiger, suspected of being under the influence of drugs, pleaded guilty to negligent driving. This incident underscores the critical need for accountability in cases of negligence, emphasizing the importance of upholding the duty of care.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case

Proving negligence is a crucial step towards seeking justice and compensation in car accident cases. To successfully establish negligence, the plaintiff must provide substantial evidence supporting each of the key elements of negligence. 

This evidence is essential in demonstrating the defendant’s liability for the accident. They include:

  • Police reports: They serve as foundational documents that provide critical details about the accident. The report includes the date, time, and location of the incident. It will also state the names of the involved drivers, descriptions of vehicle damage, and any citations or violations issued. 
  • Witness statements: Eyewitness accounts play a pivotal role in corroborating the events leading up to the accident. Witnesses can provide valuable testimony about what they saw, helping to establish the sequence of events and the actions of the parties involved.
  • Medical records: Comprehensive medical records are vital for documenting the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and the medical treatment they received. They provide tangible evidence of the physical and emotional impact of the accident on the injured party.
  • Expert testimony: Expert witnesses include accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals. They offer specialized knowledge to assist the court in understanding the causes of the accident and the full scope of the plaintiff’s injuries. 

Amidst the complexities of legal processes, consulting experts like a car accident lawyer in St. Louis becomes invaluable. These professionals possess a deep understanding of city-specific laws and regulations, offering comprehensive guidance to plaintiffs. 

TorHoerman Law notes that their expertise aids in gathering and presenting evidence effectively. They also ensure that every aspect of negligence is thoroughly examined, strengthening the plaintiff’s position in the pursuit of justice and rightful compensation.

Statute of Limitations in Car Accident Cases

In Missouri, personal injury cases, including those arising from car accidents, are subject to a statute of limitations lasting five years. Adhering to this timeframe is vital for individuals involved in accidents as it signifies the limited period within which a lawsuit can be filed. 

Forbes notes that the countdown typically commences from the day of the incident causing harm. However, if injuries were not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations might be initiated upon their discovery. 

It’s important to note that if a child is injured, the limitations period might differ. Generally, it begins upon the child reaching the age of majority, typically at 18 years old. 


In a world where accidents can happen to anyone, knowledge is the greatest asset. Understanding negligence and the legal framework surrounding it empowers individuals to seek justice and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Whether it’s a minor fender bender or a life-altering collision, the principles of negligence remain constant. By comprehending these principles and acting within the confines of the law, individuals can navigate the often complex process of seeking compensation. 

In the end, it’s about safeguarding one’s rights and securing a brighter, more secure future after the ordeal of an accident.