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5 key steps to take after a distracted driving accident in Missouri

Missouri is one of only three states that haven't banned texting while driving. In fact, the National Safety Council recently called on Missouri and the other two states -- Montana and Arizona -- "to pass legislation immediately" and ban texting behind the wheel.

The reality is that a mountain of evidence exists to show how dangerous texting while driving is. In fact, studies and national statistics have shown that texting while driving is just as dangerous as -- and sometimes more dangerous than -- drunk driving.

What should you do if you are injured by a distracted driver?

1. The first step you should take is to get medical attention. Not only is this important for your health; getting prompt medical care for your injuries starts the medical documentation needed for your injury claim with the insurance company.

2. Call the police and make a report. This can also be used for your insurance claim. The police dispatcher should ask if you are injured, and medics can be sent to the scene.

3. Document the accident if you can. Take pictures of your injuries, as well as any damage to your vehicle. If there are witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. If your injury prevents you from doing these things, see if someone -- not the other driver -- can do these things for you. Also, be sure to exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.

4. Do not give a recorded statement to the insurance company. Insurance companies are in business to make money -- not necessarily to pay out the full and fair compensation you need after an accident. Whether it's your insurance company or the other driver's that calls, politely decline to give a recorded statement and refer the insurance adjuster to your attorney. The questions the adjuster will ask are designed to minimize the amount of compensation you receive. Even an innocent remark -- "I'm feeling okay," for example -- could be used to minimize the value of your claim.

5. Let an experienced personal injury attorney handle your accident claim and all communications with the insurance company.

If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, your focus should be on your health and recovery. An attorney with experience in these matters can work to get you the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation and other costs resulting from the crash.

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