Car Accident Attorney Kansas City
No matter how safely and cautiously you operate your motor vehicle as you drive in Kansas City, you will always be at risk of accidents that someone else causes. Unfortunately, this is a reality that we must all accept when we take to the public roads. Still, fortunately, victims of car accidents can seek compensation from the at-fault party (or, more commonly, their liability insurance) through a tort claim. While no amount of money will undo the pain and trauma of experiencing a car accident, this compensation can ensure that a victim does not suffer the financial consequences of someone else’s dangerous behavior.
When you file an insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident, it is crucial to keep in mind that the insurer is not investigating your claim to ensure that you receive all of the money you rightfully deserve; in fact, the Kansas City claims adjuster assigned to your case is working to find the path towards an inexpensive settlement to save their employer as much money as possible. This is why it is so vital to work with a Kansas City car accident lawyer for the duration of your personal injury claim.
Contact Our Law Firm Today For An Initial Consultation About Your Car Crash
Ryan Bratcher offers free initial consultations for victims of auto accidents so we can discuss the specifics of your situation and provide you with legal advice on how best to proceed. He understands how confusing and intimidating it can be to advocate for yourself through an insurance claim as the insurance company is inundating you with legal documents, veiled suggestions that you may be held accountable if you refuse to accept the first offer, and other unnerving strategies. Ryan Bratcher is here to help you understand your rights and options moving forward and provide you a better understanding of the type of support we can offer.
After a crash — especially one that someone else caused — you may feel overwhelmed as you try to navigate the complex legal process of filing a claim and calculating your damages as you are working to prioritize your medical needs, personal life, and professional obligations. This stress is something that insurers leverage as they attempt to settle your case for as little as possible. By offering a one-time payment for a settlement as the victim is overwhelmed by mounting medical bills and lost wages, insurers hope to avoid discussing things like the amount the victim deserves for other, more complex damages like pain and suffering or emotional trauma.
Before you move forward with your claim, we encourage you to reach out to our law firm and better understand how we can help. Then, when you are being represented by a Kansas City car accident law firm, you can look towards the future with confidence, knowing that a legal professional is fighting for the money you rightfully deserve.
Who Is Responsible For Your Kansas City Car Accident?
After car accidents, one of the most important things to determine, from a legal standpoint, is the issue of fault. Who caused the accident, and therefore, who is liable for the damages that arise from this auto accident case? Once this is established, your attorney will be able to move forward with calculating damages, negotiating a fair settlement, or preparing to take your case to the Missouri courts.
Comparative Negligence in Missouri Car Accidents
Missouri uses a rule known as comparative negligence when assigning fault in personal injury cases, allowing a victim to seek compensation for their damages even if they are partially responsible for the accident. In the Missouri Statutes, this rule reads that: “Any fault chargeable to the plaintiff shall diminish proportionately the amount awarded as compensatory damages but shall not bar recovery. Simply put, the percentage of fault will reduce the victim’s final award that they contributed to the accident.
An excellent example of this is speeding while involved in an accident with a drunk driver who failed to yield while merging correctly. The drunk driver is clearly at fault for the accident, for both operating a car while intoxicated AND failing to yield. Still, the victim may be held partially accountable due to speeding. The defense may push for the victim to accept 10% of the blame, and if this is agreed, then the final settlement will be reduced by 10%.
While comparative negligence is an important law, since the alternative would be to bar a victim from seeking compensation if they contributed to the accident at all, insurance companies use this law to their advantage by trying to pin additional blame on a victim to reduce their financial obligations. Your attorney will work aggressively to ensure that you are not held accountable for ANY fault that you did not contribute.
How Much Is Your Auto Accident Personal Injury Case Worth?
The measurable impacts of a personal injury are called “damages,” and these damages will not always have set dollar values associated with them. The types of damages victims seek are known as “compensatory” or “actual” damages because they seek to compensate for these measurable impacts. In some instances, a judge or jury may award punitive damages at the end of the trial, which is meant to punish the at-fault party, not compensate the victim. As such, these damages are not sought after during settlement negotiations and may not be requested by the plaintiff.
When you file a claim with an insurance company after a Kansas City car accident, the claims investigation is, ostensibly, performed with the intention of identifying all of the damages you have suffered and then compensating you for each. The reality, though, is that the insurance company is not looking out for your best interests — the adjuster on your case is focused on settling your claim for as little as possible.
If you are not working with an auto accident lawyer, this leaves you to calculate your damages as you are trying to recover from your injuries. Once the damages have been calculated, the next step is to negotiate an out-of-court settlement since the insurance company’s initial offer will likely be far less than what you deserve.
Economic damages are the impacts and effects of a car accident that have set, measurable market values. The most common monetary damages are your medical bills, and it impacts your income like lost wages and paid time off you have used to cover missed time at work. For long-term or permanent injuries, there will be additional long-term costs like palliative care, long-term loss of earnings, impacts to retirement funds like a pension or 401k, and more.
There are many other economic damages that car accident victims suffer, many of which get missed in the calculation process because they seem to be minor or inconsequential. However, the reality is that each dollar either spent or lost due to an auto accident that someone else caused should be accounted for, and accident lawyers in Kansas City know to focus on these details to ensure their clients are compensated fairly. In addition, keep in mind that your total economic damages may also be the basis for your non-economic damages, so every dollar of economic damages could be multiplied by anywhere between 1.5 and 5x to calculate this other category.
Non-economic damages are trickier to calculate because they seek financial compensation for damages that do not have set dollar values — and in many cases, they are difficult to quantify. These damages include things like your actual pain and suffering, both physically and emotionally, following such a traumatic accident. Other non-economic damages include loss of enjoyment, depression or fear, decreased quality of life, and more.
As mentioned above, non-economic damages may be calculated by using a multiplier, which is one of several tools used to reach a financial figure for these impacts. A multiplier is a number, typically on a scale of 1 – 5, that indicates the severity of these damages. Once an understandable and reasonable multiple is established, this number is multiplied against a victim’s total economic damages to reach a total value of these otherwise abstract impacts.
For example, suppose your economic damages total $50,000, and your non-economic multiplier is 2x. In that case, your attorney will seek $100,000 in non-economic damages in addition to the $50,000 of monetary damages for a total of $150,000 in compensation.
Determining Whether Or Not To Hire an Attorney After a Kansas City Car Accident
After a car accident, many people decide to simply file a claim with the insurance company and wait to see if they need legal representation. We encourage car accident victims in Kansas City to reach out to our law office before contacting the insurance company to get a better sense of how a lawyer can help get the money they deserve. The claims process is designed to raise a few red flags as possible to the claimant not to consider hiring a car accident lawyer until too late. Still, when our law office initiates your claim for you, the adjuster knows from the start that you will be fighting for the money you deserve.
When you have a car accident lawyer handling your claim on your behalf, you will be able to focus on your recovery without taking on the added stress of the legal process. In addition, and just as important, the insurance company will not be able to leverage your inexperience with the car accident claims process to lower your settlement. Ryan Bratcher understands this process well and will recognize and counter each of the insurer’s tactics to work towards a settlement that you deserve.
Many people think that they will only need a lawyer after a car crash if they plan to file a lawsuit, but the reality is that personal injury lawyers will work to settle a claim out of court as often as possible. Lawsuits are time-consuming, costly, and leave your financial future up to a judge or jury. Our law office will work directly with the insurance company or defense team to reach a settlement agreement that fairly compensates you while also avoiding getting the courts involved.
Contact Us Today For Your Initial Consultation
The sooner you contact our team, the sooner you will be able to discuss your car accident with an experienced Kansas City legal professional. This consultation will help you understand your options and look towards the future with confidence.