Answers to Your Personal Injury, Workers Compensation, and Medical Malpractice Legal Questions
Your Questions Answered - Your Legal Options Explained
At KCAIA we know that it is essential for every injury victim to get good information about how to pursue their accident claim. Following an accident that causes serious injury to you or a loved one, there are often many unanswered questions.
Listed below are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from new clients. You can browse by category using the dropdown menu. Alternatively, for a quicker, more customized search, try typing your question into the search bar above.
Don't see what you are looking for? If you don't find the answers you need, contact us today for answers to your specific questions. Remember, the consultation is FREE and there is no obligation.
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Who's at fault in a car accident involving a left turn?
In most cases, someone making a left turn at an intersection, stop sign, or onto a street is presumed to be the negligent party.
This is because a motorist turning left only has the right of way when turning on a green left-turn arrow. In other cases, he must yield to oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicycle riders before executing his turn. While these are the rules in most left-turn car accidents, there are exceptions.
There are circumstances when the motorist turning left isn't presumed to be at fault. Here are some of those situations:
- The driver going straight exceeded the speed limit. This defense can be difficult to prove if there weren't witnesses to the collision.
- The other motorist ran a stop sign or a stop light. Traffic camera video footage or eyewitness’ statements can help establish this.
- The driver traveling straight through the intersection caused the crash or at least was partially at fault because of distractions, intoxication, or other negligent practices.
- When the person turning left began the maneuver, it was safe to do so, but other circumstances required him to stop, slow down, or swerve.
The Right Legal Team Will Help
If you were the individual injured while turning left, an insurance company adjuster could raise certain objections in an effort to deny or reduce your claim.
If any of the above circumstances contributed to the crash, you may not be at fault.
Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
When can a shipper and broker be liable in a truck accident?
If large truck cargo wasn't loaded or secured properly, and there's proof this caused a collision, liable parties can include the shipper and/or broker.
When a Shipper’s Negligence Causes Truck Accidents
A shipper often needs to maximize truck orders, packing freight to capacity whenever possible. However, it must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding the safe loading and securing of cargo.
Here are some of the ways a shipper may be found negligent in a truck accident:
- Failing to provide adequate instructions to a trucker or trucking company on the proper way to load the freight
- Failing to secure or load cargo correctly
- Violating FMCSA cargo securement rules in other ways
- Hiring unqualified employees or independent contractors to load the goods
To determine shipper liability, you'll need the assistance of a skilled truck accident attorney to conduct a thorough investigation, review documents, and interview witnesses.
When Should You Pursue a Claim Against a Broker?
A transportation broker acts as a middleman between trucking companies and shippers and arranges for freight transport by contracting truckers or fleet companies.
A broker has a duty to investigate trucking companies and vehicle operators.
This includes reviewing the trucker’s driving and safety records, as well as performance evaluations; and company accident statistics, traffic violations, and potentially negligent incidents. If a broker is found liable, it might be an additional party in the lawsuit.
Do you need assistance identifying the responsible parties in your Kansas or Missouri truck accident? Our legal team is ready to help. Schedule a free initial consultation to get your questions answered and learn about your right to injury compensation. Just call our office or start an online chat today to schedule your appointment.
How long will it take to receive payment after I settle my car accident claim?
Many car accident victims assume they'll receive their check immediately after settling a claim or winning their case at a jury trial. Unfortunately, this isn't how it works.
It takes about four-to-six weeks to complete the settlement process and receive payment.
What Needs To Take Place To Receive Your Settlement Payment?
Sign a Release
The insurance company requires you to sign a release of your claims before issuing a settlement.
By doing so, you agree this is a final settlement of all aspects of your case and that you're waiving your right to pursue further legal actions against the driver and insurance company.
An insurance adjuster prepares this document and sends it to your attorney for review. In some cases, your lawyer may have to negotiate some terms in the agreement to protect your rights, which could delay this step of the process.
If you win the case at trial, this first step may be slightly different. You probably won't sign a release. However, the insurance company has approximately 14-to-21 days to file a motion for a new trial or an appeal.
It will wait until this time period elapses to send the judgment amount to your attorney.
A Check Is Issued
Once the insurance company receives your signed release, an adjuster will follow the company’s procedures for getting a check processed. This could take some time if checks are only issued once a week, or the person responsible for doing so is out sick or on vacation. If a lawyer handled your, case, the check would go to his or her firm first, not to you.
Trust Fund Deposit and Paying Expenses
After your attorney receives payment from the insurance company, he'll deposit the proceeds into a client trust fund. This allows a few days or longer to secure the funds.
Then, the firm will use the settlement to pay all accrued expenses related to your injuries. These often include reimbursement to your health insurance company, an ambulance service, Medicaid, or Medicare, or any other healthcare providers. Your lawyer may negotiate settlements with these creditors, which can take time but saves you money in the long run.
Deducting Attorney Fees and Costs
Your attorney will then deduct fees and expenses advanced during your case development. Often, attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis. While this type of agreement allows you to secure legal counsel right away and not have to pay anything upfront, there are still expenses incurred during the case. They may include:
- Medical and other record copying fees
- Filing and service fees for your lawsuit
- Expert witness fees
- Deposition costs
After all these steps, you'll receive your settlement proceeds. Your case is also finally complete.
It's essential to retain a skilled car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement so you receive what you deserve and to ensure that your legal rights are protected. To learn how we can assist you, contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.511 to schedule your free consultation.
How much does a truck accident attorney cost?
If you were injured in a commercial truck accident that wasn't your fault, you might know that it's best to retain an experienced truck accident attorney to settle your claim.
However, it may worrisome if you can't afford one, so you contemplate trying to negotiate an injury settlement on your own. Here's the good news: most lawyers handling cases like these provide services on a contingency fee basis. This is an affordable option to help an accident victim file a case correctly and have a better chance at rightful compensation.
How a Contingency Fee Arrangement Works
There are many advantages to hiring an attorney on a contingency fee basis.
Perhaps the most important one is that you don't have to come up with a payment at the beginning of your case. When you're already struggling to pay your medical bills and basic monthly expenses, knowing you can secure expert legal counsel right away is a great relief.
Here's how these agreements work:
- You only owe attorney fees if your lawyer settles your claim or wins your case at a trial. If the case isn't won or resolved, then you won't owe the attorney anything.
- When your case is won, attorney fees are a percentage of what you receive in your settlement or jury verdict. Some attorneys charge a lower percentage if a claim is settled without the need for litigation.
- Your attorney deducts his fees from the proceeds you receive. This means you won't need to write a check for his payment at the end of your case.
Before retaining a lawyer, ask for clarification regarding the amount of legal costs for your case. This should be outlined in a written agreement.
Other Potential Costs Involved in Your Case
Besides attorney fees, your lawyer may charge you the costs necessary to settle or litigate your case. These expenses often include medical record fees, a court filing fee for your lawsuit, expert witness fees, and deposition costs.
Some attorneys cover these expenses first and then deduct them from your settlement. Others want you to pay them upfront. Once again, before hiring legal counsel, ask for the approximate costs you'll incur and when payment is due.
If you were injured in a truck accident, there are serious disadvantages to handling your claim alone. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys to learn about your legal options and how we can assist you.
How soon after my truck accident should I see a doctor?
While you know to seek prompt medical care if you suffered apparent injuries in a large truck accident, you may not believe this is necessary if you don't think you were hurt or only suffered minor injuries.
However, this isn't a good decision for your health or your claim for potential compensation. If you later discover your injuries are more severe than initially thought, it might be more challenging to seek damages from the negligent truck driver and trucking company.
Three Reasons to Seek Prompt Medical Care
It's rare that a collision with a semi, big rig, 18-wheeler, tanker, or another large commercial vehicle won't cause injuries and property damages. No matter how much adrenaline is pumping through your body and blocking pain receptors, you must seek medical attention immediately after a crash.
Any delay might make even minor injuries worse, or symptom of more severe injuries could present later when it's more difficult to relate them to the incident.
Even when the liability of the trucker and transportation company is clear, an insurance company could use any delay on your part as a basis for denying or reducing the claim. Here are important reasons why you want to be examined by a doctor within 48 hours of your wreck:
As mentioned, the symptoms of some complicated, long-term injuries can take days or longer to develop. Traumatic brain injury, back and spinal injuries, and internal injuries are a few conditions that sometimes present multiple symptoms. A prompt examination by a healthcare professional helps you receive necessary treatment, documents the relatability of your condition to the crash, improve the likelihood of a robust recovery, and avoid a potential medical emergency due to undiagnosed issues.
Proof For Your Claim.
In both Kansas and Missouri, you have the burden of proving the truck operator and fleet company's negligence in causing your collision and your injuries. By seeking immediate medical care, your physician documents health concerns, which is vital evidence that your injuries were the result of the accident and not another incident.
Disputes With the Insurance Company.
While being treated by a doctor quickly won't help you avoid all conflicts with the carrier, the action weakens or eliminates its arguments that your injuries weren't caused by the crash or not that serious.
It's also important to retain a truck accident attorney soon after the incident to collect all aspects of evidence for the success of your claim. To learn about our extensive knowledge of these cases and how we would aggressively fight to protect your rights, contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation.
What's the statute of limitations to file my motorcycle accident lawsuit in Kansas or Missouri?
If you're injured in a motorcycle accident in Kansas or Missouri caused by a negligent driver, you could suffer catastrophic injuries that prevent you from working and affect your quality of life.
Even less severe injuries might require months off work for your recovery and cost tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Receiving full compensation for your injuries is essential. One critical step to ensure this is to file your lawsuit within the statutes of limitation.
The statute of limitations is the timeframe you have to file a civil lawsuit in your motorcycle accident case. If you fail to file a suit within this time period, the judge will most likely dismiss it. Each state has different guidelines for statute of limitations, and you must follow the law in the state where your collision occurred.
Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Accidents in MO or KS
In Missouri, the statute of limitations depends on whether the accident caused someone’s injuries or death. Here are the rules you must follow:
- The deadline is five years from the date of your accident if you suffered injuries in the crash.
- The deadline is three years from the date of a victim’s death if a loved one died as a result of a motorcycle accident.
You have a much shorter time to file your lawsuit in Kansas. Under the state's statute of limitation, you must do so within these time periods:
- Two years from the date of the accident for personal injuries
- Two years from the date of death if a family died in a motorcycle wreck
Contact Us Right Away for Help With Your Claim
Even though you may have plenty of time to file your lawsuit following a motorcycle collision, it's never a good idea to wait. Enlisting the expertise of a skilled motorcycle accident attorney right away prevents case challenges such as lost evidence, witnesses who can't recall details or move away, and other mistakes.
Our personal injury attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of motorcycle accident victims in Kansas and Missouri. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office today at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
What are common defenses raised in truck accident cases?
There are many. If you were injured in a commercial vehicle crash in Kansas or Missouri, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries from the negligent trucker and/or his fleet transportation company.
Unfortunately, it may not be easy to settle your claim with the liable party's insurance company for what you deserve—even if you believe that you have an open and shut case for fault. The carrier will most likely raise defenses to your claim in an effort to reduce or deny it.
Insurance Companies Defenses Against Truck Claims
The specific defenses an insurance company may raise in your case depends on the facts of your crash and injuries.
However, it's important to understand common defenses that may be used in your case so you can anticipate them and collect the evidence you need to refute the insurance company’s arguments.
This can make your claim stronger and enable you to settle it faster.
Large truck accident defenses often include:
If an insurance company cannot claim you were the at-fault driver in your accident, it may argue you were partially to blame in an effort to reduce your claim. Both Kansas and Missouri have comparative fault laws which limit victims' rights to compensation if they were partially at fault in causing a collision. Under Missouri’s comparative fault guidelines, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash. For example, if you were 30 percent negligent, you would only be entitled to 70 percent of the total potential compensation. Kansas follows a modified comparative negligence doctrine that completely bars you from receiving any damages if you're found to be 50 percent or more to blame for your truck accident.
Another common defense an insurance carrier may use is to point the finger at another party. It may argue another driver involved in the collision or another entity, such as the shipper or truck maintenance facility, was responsible for causing your wreck.
Failure To Mitigate Damages.
You have a duty under the law to mitigate or reduce your damages. The insurance company could argue that you caused injuries to worsen by not seeking prompt medical care, or you received excessive or unnecessary medical treatments.
Statute Of Limitations.
The statute of limitations is the deadline to file your lawsuit against the negligent trucker and/or trucking company. If this time period expires, the insurance carrier would use this to bar your claim.
In Missouri, the statute of limitations is five years from the date of the accident for personal injuries; and three years from the date of death if a loved one died as a result of the accident. In Kansas, you must file your complaint for personal injuries within two years of the date of the wreck; and two years from the date of death of a family member due to crash-related injuries.
Our experienced truck accident attorneys can help you build a strong claim and help you to defeat defenses insurance companies raise to try to deny or reduce your claim. Contact us online or call our Kansas City metro office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
What are some of the factors that increase the risks of delivery truck accidents?
Because many people are taking advantage of the ease of online shopping, the number of packages and other goods being delivered to homes and businesses is increasing dramatically.
Fed Ex, United Parcel Service (UPS), and furniture and big box stores are just a few of the delivery trucks seen regularly on roads and highways in Kansas and Missouri. Unlike other commercial truck accidents, these collisions can occur right in your own neighborhood. Unfortunately, motorists, pedestrians, and bicycle riders injured in these wrecks can suffer catastrophic injuries.
Causes of Delivery Truck Collisions
Delivery truck drivers are under constant pressure to quickly transport packages by the end of the work day. Some factors that increase the likelihood a driver will cause a truck accident include:
Operating a delivery truck or other commercial vehicles takes special skills, training, and licensing. When shipping companies fail to properly train their employees, there's a risk of driving errors caused by a lack of knowledge.
Backing Up and Stopping
Delivery truck drivers frequently must search for a destination address and when they find it, they can stop suddenly without notice or back up without checking for vehicles and people behind them.
Like many commercial operators, those on frequent delivery routes often drive long hours without a break. This can affect their reaction times, judgment, and other abilities.
Lack of Maintenance
Delivery companies and drivers have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their trucks. When they fail to do so, a component, such as the tires, brakes, or tires, could malfunction and cause the driver to lose control.
Improper Loading or Securing of Load
If a truck is improperly loaded or overloaded, it can lead to a rollover accident, brake or tire failure, or a driver's loss of control. Unsecured loads can also make controlling a vehicle difficult, and can cause a multi-vehicle crash if the cargo shifts during transport.
Were you or a loved one injured in a delivery truck accident? Our experienced truck accident attorneys are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Act now. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule a free consultation.
What are some of the top causes of fatal truck accidents?
Many fatalities in large truck accidents are the result of differences in size and weight between a commercial truck or bus and a passenger vehicle.
The height of most trucks is much higher than smaller vehicles, which can slip right underneath them. Trucks can weigh up to 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle, so the sheer force of impact can be devastating. These are just a couple reasons for fatalities in truck collisions.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,989 people were killed in truck crashes in 2016, and 82 percent of the victims were passenger vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or pedestrians. If you lost a loved one in an accident caused by a negligent trucker, you may be entitled to compensation from him or her, as well as the fleet transportation company, in a wrongful death action.
Main Reasons for Fatalities in Truck Accidents
Tragic truck wrecks include head-on collisions, jackknife truck accidents, rollover accidents, and underride crashes. While these types of wrecks are similar to incidents between passenger vehicles, the size and weight of commercial vehicles often result in fatal situations.
Other Contributing Factors To Truck Accidents
One of the primary causes of accidents, federal regulations nevertheless permit truck operators to drive up to 11 hours with only a short break. Additionally, some truckers may be pressured to violate hours of service mandates if delivery deadlines need to be met. Trucker fatigue can impair driving ability similar to intoxication: vision, judgement, reaction time, and ability to gauge distance are all compromised.
When a trucker is texting or reading a text, he can travel the distance of a football field in a matter of seconds when his eyes and mind aren't on the road. Talking on a phone, eating and drinking, and reading a GPS are other distracted driving behaviors that lead to fatal wrecks.
Loaded semi-trailers often require up to 40 percent longer distance to come to stop than passenger vehicles. Speeding decreases the ability to brake safely.
Lack of Maintenance
When trucking companies fail to maintain and repair their commercial fleets, key vehicle components, such as brakes, steering, or tires, can fail and cause the operator to lose control.
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of a trucker and transportation company can change your life forever. Our experienced truck accident attorneys are here to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation today.
Is a car accident settlement taxable?
In general, car accident settlements are not taxed by IRS. This is because most people receive their proceeds in a lump sum payment that doesn't delineate what it's for.
However, there are circumstances when you could owe income taxes on a settlement or jury award.
When Could You Owe Taxes on Your Settlement or Judgment?
When a negligent driver causes your car accident, you're entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. IRS regulations provide that you won't owe taxes on damages received in a settlement or award if they're to compensate you for personal physical injuries or illness. When you receive a lump sum settlement that doesn't itemize the damages, it will most likely be treated as compensation for physical injuries and not taxed by IRS.
Even if the amount is itemized in your settlement or jury award, some of it won't be taxable. For example, you won't owe taxes on the amounts paid to reimburse you for medical bills or property damage.
However, it can be complicated if you receive compensation for other types of damages. Here's what you should know:
- Lost wages. This portion of your settlement will most likely be taxed just like income, similar to how taxes are deducted from your paycheck when you're working.
- Pain and suffering. If you receive pain and suffering compensation due to your physical injuries, it shouldn't be taxable. However, if you suffered psychological injuries, such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD, they're not considered physical injuries. If itemized as such in your settlement, these damages could be considered taxable.
- Punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded to punish the negligent party for especially egregious actions. This type of compensation is rare, but if you receive it, you would owe taxes on it.
You never want to settle an auto collision claim without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive rightful compensation. To have your questions answered and learn how our legal team can help, contact us online or call our Kansas City office today at 817.471.5111 to schedule your free initial consultation.