When you are involved in a car accident in Kirkwood, Missouri, it is important that you take particular steps to protect the value of your claim for a personal injury.
Statistically, most people are involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. But, it is the brutality of the crash that will determine whether or not a personal injury claim is justified against the careless driver’s insurance provider. As the victim of a car crash personal injury, attempting to negotiate with the insurance providers directly, and on your own, could see you fall short of a fair settlement. If you fail to have the backing and help of a Kirkwood car accident lawyer, there are a few steps you must take to avoid being denied compensation for your injuries.
How to Settle a Claim for a Car Accident in Missouri
If you have been a victim of a car accident and you wish to seek recovery for your losses, you will want to get the best possible settlement from the insurance providers. However, keep in mind that while just about every driver has car insurance coverage since it is required under the state’s law, not every driver will follow the law and maintain liability cover. In this particular instance, you will have to seek a claim for uninsured motorist coverage against your insurance provider. But, no matter how you proceed with your claim, you will be dealing with big car insurance companies, which is why it is important to have experienced car accident lawyers on your side.
Car insurance companies are usually concerned with one thing, and that is profits. These companies need to make a profit in order to remain in business. While they are happy enough to sell you a policy and collect a monthly premium for you, they can be hesitant to pay out claims when you are involved in an accident.
While you may have never had a problem with your insurance provider, or indeed, never had to deal with the company other than the agent who sold you your policy, when you need to claim for damages sustained in a car accident in Kirkwood, M.O., it is not your agent with whom you will have to deal. Your insurance company, as well as the other driver’s, will have experienced claim handlers and their own expert lawyers fighting in their corner to try and ensure you get as little payout as possible for your claim. Local agents are typically powerless over the process, and the insurance experts are involved in the case with the aim of protecting the insurance company. That’s why you need to equalize the negotiating field by having a car accident attorney on your side. A competent personal injury lawyer will help you deal with these large companies and their legal teams.
Keep in mind that you only receive a full and complete settlement of all your damages and injuries only once the insurance company is convinced that you and your legal representatives could force them to go to trial in order to seek a just recovery. Often, it is the threat of heading to trial that forces an insurance provider to offer a fair settlement. If the company truly believes that you will settle for a smaller amount than your claim is actually worth, this could be all that you receive.
Kirkwood car accident attorneys will ensure that the insurance providers grow concerned over the facts that are developed around your case in order to fight for a fair payout for your accident and injuries.
Not all cases are settled out of court, though. Sometimes, a case must go to trial to fight for what you deserve. Going to trial is nothing to be feared, though, provided you have the right representation on your side, and lawyers that are properly prepared to fight in court for you.
If the insurance providers are not forthcoming with a fair offer for your damages and injuries, you should welcome the chance to go to court to fight for compensation. By taking the case to a Missouri court, you might stand a better chance of securing a full and complete recovery for the accident than if you were to accept a settlement deemed inadequate to cover your expenses and losses.
Below, we outline the steps you need to follow when dealing with an insurance company to ensure you get the best payout for your claim.
Steps to Follow When Dealing with Insurance After a Car Accident in Kirkwood, MO
The first step is to collect contact information of all the witnesses at the scene of the incident and keep that information safe and secure. You should also if you are able to do so, take photographs of property damage and any evident skid marks and other telltale evidence present at the scene. Don’t only rely on the law enforcement officials to do the investigative work for you. Instead, be proactive and preserve your evidence if you are able to do so.
Of course, your immediate priority right after an accident is to ensure the safety of both yourself and those around you. Do not flee the scene, but rather call for medical attention and try to gather the other driver’s insurance information and a form of identification. You should also aim to call your insurance provider within 24 hours to report the accident as well as any injuries incurred.
Don’t try to talk to any other insurance providers other than your own company and do not give any recorded statement to anyone, or sign anything until you meet with your knowledgeable Kirkwood car accident attorneys.
If you have been harmed, seek medical attention. This is necessary for two important reasons: it is in your best interest to have a physician’s opinion of your injuries, and it also serves to document your injuries to create a record that your car accident lawyers can use as evidence in your personal injury claim.
If you are injured in a car accident in Kirkwood, Missouri, chances are you will be experiencing adrenalin surging through your system, and be aware that there are some injuries that may not appear right away. If you are injured, it is important to continue with medical treatment until you are 100% recovered.
Get in Touch with a Car Accident Attorney in Missouri
Many car accident attorneys will offer an initial consultation to give you pointers on how to handle your claim for your car accident in Kirkwood, M.O. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows the tactics that insurance adjusters use and is able to offer advice that you can use to preserve your claim and maximize compensation.
Medical Release Authorization
It is also not advisable to sign a medical record release authorization that allows the insurance adjuster to get hold of your medical records. Often, such authorizations tend to be somewhat ambiguous and allow for adjusters to obtain your entire medical history, which may be viewed as an invasion of your medical files.
Keep Going with Medical Treatment
When you are involved in a car accident in Kirkwood, M.O., you should keep going with your medical treatment until you have completely recovered. Then, ask your treating physicians to write up an opinion report for you with regards your future medical treatment and costs. These kinds of reports are useful for a car accident lawyer when fighting for just compensation for your injuries.
Recovery for Medical Bills
In the state of Missouri, a claim for compensation after a car crash consists of recovery for both past and future medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, and emotional damages, if any. As a personal injury victim, you are not only limited to compensation for your medical bills.
Attempting to handle your own claim can be tricky, especially when it comes to dealing with claims adjusters in the insurance field. Experienced car accident lawyers are better equipped to avoid the above mistakes and fight for fair compensation for you. They will also be able to guide you through the state’s laws and statutory rules.
Statutory Rules and Personal Injury Laws in Kirkwood, Missouri
If you have been involved in a car accident in Kirkwood, MO, a knowledgeable car accident attorney will help ensure that you adhere to the state’s laws that apply to personal injury claims, regardless of whether you are negotiating a settlement or pursuing a court case. Some of the most pertinent laws are outlined below.
Personal Injury Lawsuits and Deadlines
Missouri, like other states in the U.S., has a statute of limitations dictating how long you have to file a court case after you have sustained injuries in a crash. If you fail to file a civil complaint within the statutory time period, the court is likely to refuse to hear your case, and you could lose out on obtaining compensation.
What is Shared Fault?
Missouri also has a rule that applies to cases in which you may be found to share part of the fault for the accident you are involved in. The state makes use of a pure comparative fault rule. This rule reduces the amount of compensation you can receive by an amount deemed equal to your percentage of fault, no matter how big or small that percentage may be.
For instance, if you were stopped at a red light when another driver raced up and rear-ended your car, but one of your taillights wasn’t working at the time, it may be decided that you were 10 percent at fault for the incident because your taillight was broken, while the other driver was 90 percent at fault, and your compensation will be calculated according to those figures.
Caps Placed on Injury Damages
While there are some states that place a limit, or a cap, on damages in personal injury cases, Missouri does not place a limit on damages. There was a cap placed on medical malpractice damages that was enacted in 2005. However, it was struck down in 2012 by the Supreme Court.
Contact a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer Today
An important factor in a case is your attitude to fighting for a fair recovery. Securing a competent Missouri car accident attorney as soon as you are able to after becoming a victim of a car accident in Kirkwood, MO, is vital. You should not have to fear to deal with insurance companies. Rather, you should be ready to head to court if the insurance providers are unreasonable in negotiations. Then you may be able to enjoy the benefits of a fair settlement.
At the Walton Telken law firm, we put our client’s needs first. We aim for a fast resolution of your car accident and injury claim, but we will always fight for an adequate settlement for your injuries and damage. Contact one of our car accident attorneys to find out what your rights are if you have been involved in an accident in Kirkwood, Missouri.