Kansas City is known for its sports, performing arts, historical sites, and barbecue restaurants. But if you experience a serious accident while enjoying these activities, you might be inundated with medical bills, property damage estimates, physical or mental pain, and other damages.
Seeking restitution from the insurance company can be a complicated process fraught with difficulties, and disputes over fault are common. What’s the best way to ensure you receive a fair settlement?
Contact a Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Today
Navigating a personal injury can be challenging. While dealing with pain, doctor’s appointments, bills, and missed days at work, you also have to figure out how to get compensation from the at-fault party (who may or may not be willing to admit fault).
At the same time, their insurance company could be investigating your accident or injury, looking for any excuse to say you were to blame. Under Missouri’s pure comparative negligence laws, your damages can be reduced if you have any percentage of fault, so this is a common tactic insurance companies use to save money.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will be on your side, investigating your accident or injury and collecting evidence to build a strong case. Our legal experts at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm will review your accident or injury, answer your questions, and detail your options for pursuing compensation.
There is no obligation, and if we take your case, we won’t charge you anything until we win or settle it, so please contact us today to learn more.
A Note About Kansas City, Missouri
The information in this article is based on Missouri state laws; if your injury occurred in Kansas City, Kansas, some laws may be different. However, the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm team can assist you with a personal injury claim in either state.
What Is Pure Comparative Negligence, and How Does It Affect Your Claim?
Comparative negligence is a legal concept that allows for parties to an accident or injury to share fault. While there are certain situations where one party is completely at fault, there are many other circumstances where both parties had some degree of negligence that contributed to the accident.
Some states use a modified comparative negligence system under which an injured person is barred from recovery if they reach a specific percentage of fault, usually 50 or 51 percent. Missouri uses a pure comparative negligence model that permits everyone to recover damages even if they are 99 percent at fault.
However, in that scenario, you would only recover 1 percent of your damages. That’s because each party can only recover based on the percentage of fault the other party has.
If you are 20 percent at fault, you could recover 80 percent of your damages (and the other party could recover 20 percent of their damages from you).
Will Insurance Cover Your Personal Injury Claim?
Not surprisingly, many personal injury cases focus on a disagreement about percentages of fault, with each party or their insurance carrier claiming the other has more fault. Clients sometimes ask us who actually decides fault in a personal injury case.
It depends on the situation, but in many cases, one or more insurance companies determine fault. We’ll use car accidents as an example, although insurance carriers may apply in other situations, such as premises liability.
Let’s say you have a car accident. You and the other driver both file claims with each other’s insurance policies, and each carrier assigns an adjuster to investigate the claim.
It’s likely that both adjusters will estimate the other driver’s share of culpability a bit higher to reduce what they will have to pay. This leads to negotiations between the two adjusters, and ultimately, they will reach an agreement that satisfies both insurance companies and their bottom lines.
However, it may not be in your best interest. They might agree that you have more responsibility for the accident than you do, which could drastically reduce your settlement.
Additionally, both carriers could undervalue your claim, overlook some damages, or refuse to pay for necessary treatments. This is where a knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help—we’ll correctly value your claim and fight for a fair accounting of your contributions to the accident (if you have any).
What Happens in Other Personal Injury Situations?
In other types of claims, such as an injury at a retail store, you will usually deal with one insurance company representing the at-fault party. The insurance adjuster will likely be critical of your claim, looking at every detail in search of an excuse not to pay it.
Often, this involves blaming you for the accident, and comparative negligence can be a problem in these cases as well. Again, your attorney will build a strong case in your favor and negotiate with the insurance adjuster to get you the best settlement possible.
Do You Have to Go to Court for Your Personal Injury Claim?
It’s possible but not very likely. With the help of a seasoned personal injury lawyer, most claims can be settled out of court through negotiation with the other party and/or their insurance carrier. We often file a lawsuit to begin the process but settle the case before the trial stage.
However, we are always prepared to argue your case in court. Our dedication to fact-finding, evidence collection, and strategy development improves our ability to negotiate with the other party.
Once they realize how solid our case is, the other party and their lawyer will usually be willing to discuss a fair resolution. If not, we will continue to court and fight for your right to adequate compensation.
What Damages Can You Seek in a Personal Injury Claim?
One of the reasons insurance companies often succeed in undervaluing claims is that valuing a claim is a complex process. The average layperson doesn’t have the knowledge necessary to determine how much their claim should be worth.
Without the assistance of an attorney, many injured people accept an offer that undervalues their damages because it seems fair. Only later do they realize they have more expenses, and the insurance company no longer has any obligation to pay them.
Your lawyer will discuss the following categories of damages with you to calculate how much you should seek for each one. Then, they will add these up to arrive at a ballpark figure to pursue for compensation.
If the insurance company’s offer isn’t close to this number, we are prepared to negotiate with the insurance carrier for a more equitable deal.
Medical bills, current and future. Some injured people only consider the bills they have now, but if you need any future care, such as follow-up appointments or physical therapy, we will either wait for your treatment to end or estimate your future costs. Additionally, we’ll consider related costs, such as traveling to see a specialist, making your home accessible, buying or replacing mobility aids, etc.
Lost income. Following an accident or injury, many people have to miss work while they recover. Some don’t think about trying to recover their lost income if they took paid time off, but the reality is that you lost those paid days off you could have used on other occasions. For example, if you had to take a week off work, that’s a week of vacation pay you might have lost while in the hospital. Meanwhile, people with more serious injuries may need weeks or months away from work, and most don’t have enough paid time off to cover all the time they need.
Lost earning potential. What if you never fully recover from your injuries? In some cases, an injured person cannot return to work or has to take a less strenuous job with lower pay. When this happens, we can calculate your lost earning potential and pursue compensation.
Permanent disability or disfigurement. Aside from work, a permanent injury can affect many other areas of your life, from hobbies to relationships. We’ll consider the long-term effects on your life when estimating this damage.
Pain and suffering. Both physical pain and mental or emotional distress are included in this category. There are several different ways insurance companies can calculate pain and suffering, including the Multiplier Method, in which they multiply your economic losses by a number chosen based on the severity of your injuries. Not surprisingly, insurance adjusters sometimes select a number that’s too low, so we’ll work to ensure they recognize the seriousness of your injuries.
Property damage. In car accidents, this usually refers to damage to your vehicle. This is also true in accidents involving boats, golf carts, ATVs, etc. Property damage could also mean damage to items you had with you, like a laptop or smartphone. With defective product cases, sometimes property damage may be more extensive. For example, if a defective appliance causes your home to catch fire, you could have damage to the house itself and various possessions inside it.
Wrongful death. The most extreme personal injury cases result in one or more deaths. If you’ve lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you can file a wrongful death claim. This is like a personal injury claim, but for a person who is no longer able to file one because they are deceased. Damages include medical expenses related to the death, funeral or burial costs, loss of financial support, and loss of consortium. You might also be able to file a separate survival action for the decedent’s pain and suffering if they lived for some time after the accident.
What Should You Do if the Insurance Company Has Already Made You an Offer?
While you want the insurance company to make you a settlement offer, you should review it carefully with an attorney before making a decision. Many initial offers from an insurance company are lowball offers that undervalue your damages.
Your attorney will go over the offer and compare it to the list of damages they helped you establish. If the offer falls short, we’ll work to get a better offer that covers all your needs.
What Happens if the Other Party Doesn’t Have Insurance Coverage—or Enough Coverage?
This is frequently a problem in car accidents. Missouri state law requires drivers to carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage liability.
For less serious accidents, this minimum coverage is usually sufficient, but there are several other situations where it isn’t:
If your injuries are severe, you could have more than $25,000 in medical bills and related expenses, especially if you spend time in the ICU or are out of work for a long while.
Regardless of the requirement, about 16 percent of Missouri drivers are uninsured.
Missouri also requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage of at least $25,000. This only covers bodily injury, not property damage; you can buy a larger amount if you like, and we recommend doing so if it fits your budget.
However, in more severe accidents, you could still have damages that exceed both your own coverage and the other party’s insurance. When this happens, please speak with a lawyer right away.
We’ll review the situation and determine if there is any way to recover your additional damages, such as:
Suing the other driver. If they are at fault, we can sue them for any damages not covered by insurance. Unfortunately, this isn’t always productive. If the other driver has few or no assets we can seize, we might win a judgment but have no means to collect it. In this situation, we would not advise you to pursue a lawsuit as it wouldn’t be in your best interest.
Considering a third-party lawsuit. This is only possible when a third party (someone besides you and the other driver) contributes to the accident or injury. One example would be if an intoxicated driver injured you. Under Missouri’s dram shop laws, you might be able to sue a commercial establishment that served the driver before your accident. However, you would need to have strong evidence that the seller knew or should have known the driver was either younger than 21 or was visibly intoxicated already. Another example would be suing the manufacturer of a defective seatbelt that didn’t lock correctly and allowed you to be ejected from the car.
Using your underinsured motorist coverage. It’s important to understand that uninsured motorist coverage is required by state law, but underinsured motorist coverage is optional. Sometimes, clients think they have both types of coverage and can use their own insurance for damages beyond what the other party’s insurance paid. But this is only true if they purchased underinsured motorist coverage, which picks up where the other driver’s policy leaves off in some circumstances.
In many cases, underinsured motorist coverage may be your only path to recovering your damages, so we strongly recommend adding this coverage if you don’t already have it.
What About Other Types of Personal Injury Situations?
If the at-fault party is a business, there’s a good chance they have a reasonably high amount of coverage. A typical small business liability policy usually covers a million dollars in damages, sometimes more.
Large corporations often have even more coverage, so if you are hurt at a local store or restaurant, the amount of insurance will probably be sufficient unless your injuries are extremely severe. However, the policy limit is not the only obstacle.
As with car accidents, your claim will be reviewed by an insurance adjuster looking for ways to save the company money. They may blame you for the accident, suggesting you were negligent instead of the company, or in some cases, the adjuster could even accuse you of faking your accident—this sometimes happens in slip-and-fall injuries, for instance.
There are several steps you can take to protect your rights after an injury at a local business:
Take pictures of the area where your accident happened, including the floor, shelves, displays, walls, and ceiling. What happened may not be immediately evident, but these pictures can help provide us with clues.
Report your injury to the store or site manager and ask for their business card in case you need to contact them later. Some people tell us they didn’t want to bother the manager, especially if their injuries seemed minor, but if there’s a hazard in the store, the manager needs to know to prevent further accidents.
If there are witnesses to your accident or injury—for example, other shoppers or employees—try to get their names and contact info.
See a healthcare provider about your injuries, even if they don’t seem concerning at the moment. Many people find that their pain or symptoms get worse after a few hours or days have passed. Seeing a healthcare professional ensures no serious injuries are missed, and you have created a record of your injuries in case your condition worsens. Prompt treatment can also reduce the risk of scarring if you’ve suffered lacerations.
Speak with a personal injury lawyer right away. Even if you don’t feel comfortable suing a beloved neighborhood business, it’s essential to learn your options. Sometimes, we can work out a fair settlement with the insurance carrier.
Defective product claims may also fall under business liability policies. If you believe or suspect a defective product could have led to your injuries, please preserve the product in its present condition (as safety permits) and contact a lawyer immediately.
Defective product cases can be complicated, as the manufacturer may claim they outsourced design or production to another company, so narrowing down the at-fault party is sometimes time-consuming. Although you have five years to file a defective product claim in Missouri, we don’t recommend waiting that long.
What if You Are Injured on Private Property?
If you are hurt in someone’s home or elsewhere on their property (such as in the yard), you may be able to file a claim on their homeowner’s insurance. As with business liability claims, it is necessary to show the property owner was negligent because they failed to fix or warn you about a hazard on the property.
Hazards might include:
Slip/trip and fall hazards. These could be puddles or slick spots, loose or damaged floor tiles, torn or snagged carpets, bunched throw rugs, uneven flooring, damaged stairs, poor stairwell or walkway lighting, garden tools or toys left scattered on a walkway, etc.
Structural defects. Examples might be a handrail that gives way, a floor that caves when you step on it, a balcony that collapses, etc.
Toxic chemicals. For instance, if the property owner leaves a bucket of pool chemicals out where your toddler can get into it easily, they could be negligent.
Unfenced pools or other attractive nuisances. Suppose there are potentially dangerous items or features in your neighbor’s yard that could hurt a child. In that case, they have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to block young children from wandering into the yard and getting hurt. Typically, this means putting up a fence or placing the dangerous object in a locked shed.
Fires. If the owner’s actions caused a house fire or they failed to have smoke detectors installed, they might be negligent.
How Can You Get Help From a Kansas City Personal Injury Law Firm?
Please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation. Your free case review is confidential, and there is no obligation, so don’t hesitate to learn more about your legal options.
If there’s a way to recover your damages, we’ll find it.
Attorney Ali Awad established the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm a few short years ago, and it is now one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country, with more than 100 employees. Mr. Awad and his team have recovered millions of dollars for injured people and their families with a 99.5 percent success rate.
Together, they have more than twenty years of combined experience. When he isn’t hard at work on a case, Mr. Awad posts entertaining yet educational videos about legal topics for more than a million followers on social media.
Call us today at (833) 254-2923.
Find Out What Your Case Is Worth Here
Tell Us More About Your Injury Below So That We Can Get You The Most Money
All Fields Required *
Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.