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.
- Page 1
How does PIP help me if I am hurt in a car accident in Kansas?
Under Kansas law, you're required to purchase a minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage in order to drive your vehicle. Because Kansas is a no-fault state, the types and amounts of insurance you'll need is different than in at-fault states, where the negligent driver is responsible for fully compensating victims for their injuries. In the Sunflower State, you must first file a claim with your insurance company for injury compensation.
An important coverage you're required to add to your policy is personal injury protection (PIP), which helps if you're hurt in a motor vehicle accident.
Benefits of PIP Coverage
Every insurance policy in Kansas is required to have a minimum amount of PIP coverage.
You also have the option of increasing your limits, which you should do if you can. The minimum amounts of coverage you could have include:
- $4,500 per person for injuries caused in the car accident
- $900 per month for up to a year for disability or the loss of wages
- $25 per day for in-home services, such as cleaning or cooking, that you cannot perform due to your injury
- $4,500 for rehabilitation services, which can include psychological services and occupational rehabilitation
Personal injury protection benefits only pay for out-of-pocket expenses following a motor vehicle accident. This means it won't cover pain and suffering damages that victims in an at-fault state would receive.
In addition, loved ones of a deceased victim are entitled to PIP survivor benefits which include:
- $2,000 for funeral, burial, or cremation services
- Disability or lost wages of up to $900 per month for one year
- $25 per day for in-home services for up to one year
Who Is Eligible for PIP Benefits Following an Auto Crash?
In order to be eligible for PIP benefits, a person has to be covered under the auto insurance policy. This generally includes the following:
- Policyholder. The person(s) named as policyholders would be entitled to PIP benefits.
- Family. Family members of the person insured under the policy who live at the residence would be covered for injuries if they were driving the vehicle(s) covered under the policy or were passengers.
- Passengers. Other passengers who aren't family household members injured in the accident could be eligible for PIP benefits. However, if they already have auto insurance, they would need to apply for PIP benefits under their policy instead of yours.
What Happens If PIP Benefits Don't Provide Full Compensation
The amount of PIP benefits depends on how much coverage you purchased. In order to pursue a claim against the negligent driver for your pain and suffering, as well as other compensation, your claim must meet certain threshold requirements.
Your expenses must exceed $2,000, and your injuries must meet a set definition of a serious injury such as:
- Fracture of a weight-bearing bone
- Compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent injury
- Permanent loss of a body function
Although you're filing a claim for PIP benefits with your insurance provider, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive all of the benefits you deserve. He can also review your medical records and pursue your claim against the negligent driver if your injury qualifies under Kansas law.
The knowledgeable legal team at Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys has helped many clients fight for the PIP and other compensation to complete their recovery. Let us help you pursue all possible avenues of justice. To schedule your free consultation, call our office today.
Who pays my medical bills if I'm injured in a car accident in Kansas or Missouri?
If you were injured in a car accident, one of your major concerns after receiving initial medical care may be how to pay your mounting bills. These unexpected treatments and expenses caused by the accident probably weren't anything you planned for in your emergency savings fund.
Even if an insurance company or negligent driver is responsible for reimbursing you, you're ultimately liable for paying your doctor bills and other medical expenses, and creditors don't have to wait for a settlement of your claim to be paid.
Fortunately, you have options for funds to pay your medical bills, but they're different depending on whether your accident was in Kansas or Missouri.
Options for Paying Accident-Related Medical Expenses in Kansas
Kansas is a no-fault state, which means victims of car accidents must first turn to their auto insurance company for compensation for medical expenses. Here are your options:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Under Kansas law, you're required to have a minimum amount of PIP coverage to pay out-of-pocket expenses, such as wage losses and medical bills. When establishing this coverage on your policy, you can choose whatever limits work best. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, PIP coverage is what the provider will use for injury compensation, and you'll file a claim here first.
- Health insurance company. If you have health insurance coverage through your employer or an individual policy, the health insurance company is the second option for paying your medical bills. Most likely, your health coverage reimbursement won't kick in until it has proof that you've exhausted your PIP policy. It may also require reimbursement if you successfully pursue a claim against the negligent driver.
- Negligent driver. If you meet certain threshold requirements, you may still be able to sue the negligent driver for medical expenses not covered by PIP. You can pursue this claim if your medical bills exceed $2,000 and you suffered certain injuries, such as a compound fracture, permanent scarring, or permanent disability.
How to Pay Medical Bills Following an Auto Accident in Missouri
Like most states in the U.S., Missouri is an at-fault state, which holds the negligent driver who caused your injuries fully responsible for compensation. However, it could take months or longer for you to settle your claim with his or her insurance company. Here are other options for paying your medical bills:
- MedPay. MedPay is optional medical insurance coverage you can add to an automobile insurance policy. It pays for your medical bills—even if you caused the accident—up to the coverage limits. You'll first submit any medical expenses through your MedPay coverage.
- Health insurance. If you have health insurance, it will pay your medical bills, but may first require proof that you used any available MedPay coverage. In addition, your health insurance provider will most likely require reimbursement of the payments they extended from your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
- Medical lien. Some medical care providers will agree to hold off on collection of their bills until the settlement of your claim. They place a lien on your settlement that requires any proceeds to fully reimburse them before you realize actual compensation.
Did you suffer injuries in a car accident in Missouri or Kansas? Even if you're filing a claim with your auto insurance company, you need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement so you receive fair and just compensation. To learn more about your legal options, call our office today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Are there any kinds of accidents that my Kansas personal injury protection (PIP) won’t cover?
Kansas is a no-fault car insurance state—one of 13 in the U.S. This means you're required to purchase an additional automobile insurance policy item to cover your injuries in an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
This additional coverage is known as personal injury protection, or PIP. In most cases, PIP reimburses you for medical expenses up to your purchased policy limits. However, there are certain circumstances when you may be ineligible for benefits.
What Are PIP Benefits?
Under Kansas law, you're required to purchase a minimum of $4,500 in PIP coverage and have the option increments—as much as $50,000.
PIP can be used to compensate you and any passengers injured in a motor vehicle
accident, regardless of who caused it.
If you have the minimum coverage, PIP pays:
- $4,500 for medical expenses per person
- $900 per month for lost wages and disability for up to one year to an injured victim or his family if he died in the accident
- $25 per day in in-home services for one year
- $2,000 for funeral, burial, and cremation services
- $4,500 for rehabilitation costs
What Are Exceptions to PIP Benefit Coverage?
While you're entitled to PIP benefits in most automobile accidents even if you were at fault, there are exceptions, including:
- Intentional act. If you caused the accident on purpose, you may be disqualified from receiving PIP benefits.
- Motorcycle. You're not entitled to PIP benefits under your auto insurance policy if injuries were caused in a motorcycle accident. You would need to purchase PIP coverage for your motorcycle separately. This coverage isn't required under Kansas law.
- Work. If your accident occurred while driving for your job, you may not be entitled to personal injury protection payments. You'll most likely be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, and should first file a claim with your employer.
Were you injured in a car accident in Kansas? You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your rights and pursue a claim against the negligent driver if possible. To learn more about your legal options and our experience in these cases, start an online chat to schedule your free case evaluation.
How does MedPay help me if I'm hurt in an accident in Missouri?
Missouri is an at-fault state when it comes to automobile accidents. This means the negligent driver is responsible for fully compensating for your injuries.
However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't obtain the best automobile insurance coverage in order to protect yourself. There are many coverage options you can add to your policy. One you might find helpful is MedPay coverage to help pay your medical expenses after a serious car crash.
Why a Negligent Driver’s Liability Coverage May Not Be Enough
You may wonder why you need any additional insurance coverage of your own if the negligent driver is responsible for paying you. However, this coverage is often insufficient to fully reimburse you. In Missouri, all drivers are required to purchase a minimum amount of automobile liability insurance coverage in order to drive on Missouri roads. This minimum required amount is set by law and includes the following:
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 in property damage per accident
If the negligent driver only had the minimum in liability coverage, you would only be entitled to a maximum of $25,000 to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unless you suffered a very minor injury, this coverage most likely will not cover even the cost of your medical care.
In addition, you cannot count on the negligent driver being insured even though he is required to have this insurance by law. In 2015, 14 percent of motorists drove in Missouri when they were uninsured. This means that there is a good chance that you could be involved in an auto crash that was no fault of your own where the negligent driver had no insurance or other assets to pay you what you are owed. By having MedPay coverage, you ensure that your medical bills will be paid up to the coverage limit in your policy.
How MedPay Auto Insurance Coverage Helps If You're Injured
MedPay coverage pays for the medical bills you or your passengers may incur due to accident injury. This is an optional insurance coverage you add to your existing policy, and coverage amounts range between $1,000 to $10,000. The additional MedPay premium on your policy may be a few dollars each month up to approximately $30 per month. Your insurance agent can line item the expense for you.
Here are some key points regarding MedPay coverage:
- Fault. You and your passengers are entitled to this payment regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident—even you.
- Health insurance. If you have health insurance through your employment or otherwise, you may wonder why you need MedPay coverage. However, most health insurance companies require individuals to exhaust MedPay before paying medical bills for injuries caused in a car accident. In addition, most health insurance policies require reimbursement out of a victim’s settlement for any payments they initially covered. This means your overall settlement will be less.
- No reimbursement. Because you purchased the MedPay coverage, you're not required to reimburse the insurance company for medical bills that are paid as part of your settlement. This can increase the amount of your overall settlement and make it more likely that you'll be fully compensated.
- Collection. Many auto accident claims with a negligent driver’s insurance company can take months or longer to settle if the company fights to reduce or deny the claim. If you don't have other health insurance or MedPay to cover injury expenses, the medical provider could refer your account to a collection agency. This can result in you receiving threatening calls and letters, or being sued. A deferment to a collection agency also impacts your ability to obtain credit. .
Before submitting any bills to MedPay for payment, you want to discuss this with an experienced car accident attorney for advice on which bills should be submitted first. For example, he may believe he can reach favorable settlements with some of your medical care providers to reduce what you owe. This means he may want you to first pay off difficult accounts, such as an ambulance company, that often don't negotiate.
Whether you need to file a claim with a negligent driver’s insurance company or through your own automobile insurance policy, our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help. Get started now by filling out our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
- Unemployed Drivers May Be Negligent and Uninsured
- Types of Compensation You Could Receive in a Car Accident Case
- How Long Will It Take to Settle My Car Accident Case?
How do personal injury claims differ from workers’ compensation claims?
If you were involved in a workplace accident, it may be confusing to determine whether you need to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim against your employer. In Kansas and Missouri, you most likely will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. You should know how this option differs from a personal injury claim, because it affects your rights to compensation.
Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claims: The Question of Liability
One of the key differences between personal injury and workers' compensation claims is the issue of fault. Personal injury cases involve many different types of injury claims, such as car accidents, slip and falls, and medical malpractice. In a personal injury case, you must prove the negligent party’s fault in causing your injuries in order to receive compensation.
Workers’ compensation operates differently. It's a no-fault system that provides you with benefits if you're injured in a workplace accident, regardless of who was at fault for causing it.
This means you could be entitled to benefits even if you were the negligent party.
Compensation in Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Comp Cases
Potential compensation in workers’ compensation is different than personal injury cases. Under workers’ compensation laws, you're entitled to benefits to pay your medical bills, a fixed portion of your wages, vocational rehabilitation and, if applicable, permanent disability benefits. You're not entitled to any pain and suffering damages.
In a personal injury case, you have the possibility of recovering to the full amount of your losses if you prove the other party’s negligence. This can make your claim worth more than in a workers’ compensation case. Types of compensation you may receive include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages and benefits of your job, such as commissions, bonuses, and sick and vacation time
- Lost earning capacity if you must make a career change or are permanently disabled
- Pain and suffering
Can You Sue an Employer in a Workers’ Compensation Case?
Your rights to sue when you suffer an injury at your job are more limited than in a personal injury accident. In exchange for the more guaranteed right of compensation that workers’ compensation provides, you give up the right to sue your employer and any co-workers whose negligence may have caused your injuries, except in limited circumstances. However, you do retain the right to file a lawsuit against third parties that were partially or completely at fault in causing your workplace accident.
In a personal injury case, you can—and should—pursue a claim for compensation against any potentially liable party. By doing so, you increase the likelihood you'll receive all you deserve for injury recovery.
Process of Filing a Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claim
If you're hurt at work, you have to file a claim with your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company. In a personal injury case, you would file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance carrier. This could be a driver’s automobile insurance, a homeowner’s insurance policy, or a business’ liability insurance coverage.
If there are disputes about your right to compensation, here's what happens:
- Workers’ compensation. Your claim would be filed with your state workers’ compensation agency, and an administrative judge decides your case. There are special laws and procedures governing workers’ compensation cases.
- Personal injury. When you cannot settle a personal injury case, you must file a lawsuit in civil court, where your case would be decided by a jury if it's not resolved during the litigation process.
Personal injury and workers’ compensation claims are similar in a few ways. In both, you may need to fight for the compensation you deserve. In addition, when filing either type of claim, you may need the assistance of an experienced attorney who handles the type of case you have to protect your interests and ensure a full chance at financial recovery.
Were you injured in a workplace accident? Our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys are here to explain your rights and to fight for your benefits. We also represent clients in personal injury claims, and can pursue litigation for you. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
How long will it take to settle my Kansas City truck accident claim?
When you must file a claim for compensation following a truck accident, you probably have two burning questions: how much financial recovery are you entitled to, and how long before you get it? An experienced truck accident attorney will be able to estimate the value of your case and general settlement timeline with the insurance company based on his knowledge of negotiating and trying these cases. However, he can't give you a precise deadline for when your case will be over.
Factors That Slow the Settlement Process
Every truck accident claim is different, and the speed of settlement is based on the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If you feel yours is taking longer than you'd like, you don't want to make the mistake of accepting less than you're owed just for resolution.
You can prepare yourself by understanding some of the factors that can slow down the process. They include:
- Investigation. Truck wrecks require extensive investigation. Drivers and trucking companies are required to comply with many federal regulations regarding hiring, hours of service, vehicle maintenance, companion driving, logging devices, and other considerations. It may take your legal team longer to obtain the necessary documents and evidence to prove liability.
- Severity of your injuries. If you sustained serious injuries, the value of your claim will be greater. Before agreeing to settle, the insurance company will conduct a more extensive investigation and may debate longer to reduce or deny your claim if it finds legitimate issues.
- Your recovery. The length of time you need to heal can make the settlement process take longer. You don't want to settle your case until you've either fully recovered, progress in healing as far as your condition allows, or receive a final prognosis from your physician. Waiting until one of these stages of medical treatment is important so the settlement includes all of your future losses.
- Disputes. Even if a truck driver’s liability is clear cut to you, an insurance adjuster could raise arguments about the cause of the accident, or your injuries and their severity. When disputes arise, your attorney may need to obtain more evidence or hire an expert to support your claim before he can convince the insurance adjuster of the company’s responsibility to pay you.
- Litigation. If your attorney is unable to settle your claim for what you deserve, he'll need to file a lawsuit and litigate it. This is a lengthy process that can take months or longer to complete. However, it's likely that your attorney will be able to reach a settlement at some point during litigation before your trial date.
Can You Do Anything to Make Your Case Go Faster?
While there are many aspects of settling your truck accident claim you can't control, your actions still matter. Follow through and aid the process in these ways:
- See a doctor soon after your accident to protect your health as well as avoid disputes about whether your injuries were caused by the incident.
- Retain an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after your wreck so he can conduct a thorough investigation, obtain evidence that you need before it's lost, and begin the negotiation process.
- Follow your physician's advice regarding your medical care, and don't miss doctor, physical therapy, or other medical appointments. This will help you recover from your injuries more quickly and prevent disagreements with the insurance company about the severity of your injuries.
- Promptly provide your attorney with all requested information.
- Follow your attorney’s advice, because he's protecting your interests and trying to help you receive a proper settlement.
Our knowledgeable truck accident attorneys are here to help if you must file a claim for compensation following a truck wreck. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
What compensation could I be entitled to in my Kansas City truck accident case?
Being injured in a truck accident is an incredibly stressful, life-altering event. You suddenly face worries about your health and the ability to pay your bills while you are off work recovering—if you're not permanently disabled.
To obtain justice and receive the compensation you deserve, you may need to file a claim against the insurance companies for the negligent truck driver and the transportation carrier. It's important to understand the types of compensation available in cases like these so your settlement covers all damages.
Compensation You Could Receive After a Truck Accident
The value of a truck accident claim could be larger than a passenger vehicle accident case.
The massive size and weight of commercial vehicles increases the likelihood catastrophic injuries or death.
This is why it's essential that your legal team asks for all possible compensation to cover the following:
- Medical expenses. As a major portion of your claim, this line item should include the cost of doctor visits, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, medications, and psychological counseling. If you need a wheelchair, bathroom accessories, or other assistive devices to help manage your injury rehabilitation, these expenses may be recovered as well. In addition, you should request the cost for a home aid, travel expenses if you must seek treatment elsewhere, and other miscellaneous medical fees. It's important to include any additional expenses related to future care related to accident recovery.
- Wage losses. You're entitled to your past and future wage losses related to missed employment as a result of your accident injuries. Lost vacation and sick time, bonuses, commissions, and other perks of your job should be included in this portion of your claim. If you must make a job change or are permanently disabled due to your injuries, your future wage losses become more complicated to calculate. You may need the assistance of an economic expert to determine your lost future earning capacity damages.
- Pain and suffering. The pain and suffering endured due to your injuries can be a large portion of your claim, especially if you have a more long-term injury. However, it can be impossible to value this portion of your claim or to properly document it without the assistance of an experienced truck accident attorney.
- Property damage. You're entitled to reimbursement for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and the damaged property inside it. Associated expenses such as towing and car rental, and any other property damage costs incurred, might be included.
- Wrongful death. If a loved one died due to injuries suffered in a truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death action against the trucker and transportation company. You may be entitled to receive compensation for the loss of your loved one’s financial support, possible inheritance, advice, and companionship.
Evidence Needed to Prove Your Right to Compensation
Your legal counsel needs to prove the negligence of the large truck operator and fleet employer, as well as your right to the requested settlement amount. Evidence that can help your case includes:
- Medical bills and diagnosis/prognosis reports
- Paystubs and documentation of financial loss claims
- Income tax returns
- Car repair receipts
- Car rental bills
- Witness testimony
- Expert witness testimony
Do you need to file a claim for compensation for injuries you or a loved one suffered in a commercial truck accident? Our truck accident attorneys are ready to provide their expertise in these cases to establish your case and use valuable evidence to prove your damages. To get started, contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
I was in a serious car accident. How can I prove the crash triggered PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often associated with experiencing the horrors of war, but can also be caused by other traumatic events someone may experience, such as a terrifying car accident. It's a psychological condition that can significantly limit a person’s ability to work, interact with family members and friends, and perform basic day-to-day tasks that we take for granted.
If you suffer with PTSD caused by an auto wreck, you may be entitled to compensation for these injuries. However, proving you have this mental health condition may be more challenging than suffering obvious physical injuries.
PTSD is a psychological condition that can cause a person to have debilitating nightmares or traumatic memories, which can sometimes trigger severe anxiety or panic attacks. After a car accident, a person suffering with this condition may also be fearful of driving, riding in a vehicle, or traveling near the crash scene.
Other ways PTSD affect a person’s psychological health include:
- Insomnia and other sleep problems
- Physical reactions to memories of the crash, such as increased heart rate, nausea, and sweating
- Mood swings and anger
- A heightened alert for danger
- Withdrawal from activities, family, and friends
- Alcohol or drug addiction to cope with PTSD symptoms
How to Prove You're Suffering PTSD
Because PTSD is such a complicated psychological condition, you will most likely need a qualified medical expert to prove you have this disorder. If you're receiving treatment from a psychologist or another mental health professional, you may use this person as your expert witness. However, your attorney may decide to retain a neutral expert who specializes in PTSD as well.
A medical professional must have extensive qualifications regarding his or her knowledge of symptoms of and treatments for PTSD—ideally, someone who frequently helps people who suffer from the disorder. He or she should also be able to explain this condition in a way that you and the jurors understand, which isn't always the case with expert witnesses.
Your expert needs to be able to discuss the following:
- How an initial traumatic event—such as a motor vehicle accident—may result in PTSD
- How PTSD causes an accident victim to relive the event through flashbacks
- Symptoms of PTSD, such as insomnia, angry outbursts, depression, anxiety, and avoidance behaviors
- How PTSD can disrupt a person’s ability to function at work, maintain his or her relationships, and perform everyday tasks
- What symptoms of PTSD you exhibit, how this psychological condition negatively affects your life, and your prognosis
Role of Other Witnesses in Proving Your PTSD
While an expert witness is essential in proving your PTSD, your testimony and that of family, friends, and co-workers will be important, too. These witnesses can confirm your symptoms of PTSD and what they notice. They'll also be able to share first-hand knowledge of how this disorder has affected your ability to work, to perform household chores, and to enjoy other activities and relationships important to you.
Hiring an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys have qualified experts we can turn to for assistance in your case. We'll also work with you to obtain the other witnesses and evidence you need to convince the insurance company or jury of your injuries. To learn about your legal options and our expertise in handling accidents causing PTSD, contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 and schedule your free consultation.
How much is my truck accident claim worth?
After an accident with a semi or other large commercial vehicle caused by a negligent driver, there are a lot of unanswered questions. If you're conflicted about filing a claim for compensation, it's important to know your options, and the varying levels of value. Even an experienced truck accident attorney cannot give you a precise figure of a claim's worth. However, he can give you a good sense of what you can expect to receive based on his experience handling similar cases and the specific circumstances in your case.
Common Types of Compensation in Truck Accident Claims
Large truck accidents often cause catastrophic injuries and damages. Passengers of automobiles, SUVs, and trucks simply don’t have the protection against a loaded tractor-trailer that may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Frequently, victims of these accidents are entitled the following compensation:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost and future wages and other benefits of your employment
- Future earning capacity if you must make a career change that results in a reduction in your wages or you become permanently disabled
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
While you may be able to determine an approximate amount of rightful compensation for property damage, medical bills, and lost wages, you'll need the assistance of an experienced attorney to determine the value of your pain and suffering and future earning capacity.
Factors That Affect the Value of a Truck Crash Claim
A number of factors affect the strength of your case against a negligent truck operator and his or her employer. The following include some variables that could strengthen or weaken your claim and its value:
- Disputes. When there are serious disputes about the cause of your wreck, your injuries, or some other issue in your case, they might weaken the overall value of your claim. In addition, you may need to fight harder and longer to obtain a fair settlement.
- Severity of your injuries. If you suffer more serious injuries that require surgery or other long-term treatments, your claim's value will be larger. In addition, the worth of these allotments might also influence an increase of the less-tangible portion of your claim—the pain and suffering you endured due to injuries and the resulting life limitations.
- Disability. If you suffered a permanent disability that affects your ability to work or perform day-to-day tasks, this increases the value of your claim due to your additional expenses and pain and suffering.
- Your partial fault. If you were partially responsible for the accident, your comparative negligence reduces the value your claim by the percentage of fault. For example, if you were found 20 percent at fault in causing the wreck, you'd only be entitled to 80 percent of damages from the trucker and fleet company.
- Participant credibility. Credibility analysis of all parties is common in truck accident cases. Throughout the process, if your accident recollection and the severity of your injuries stay consistent, this makes you a strong, believable witness at trial. If your attorney is able to point out discrepancies in the trucker’s statements or actions, this indicates he or she is less credible. The result could potentially increase the value of your claim.
- Witnesses. If other people who saw the accident can corroborate that the truck driver was the negligent party, this may make your claim worth more. This is especially true if the witnesses are neutral parties you don't know and who have no interest in the outcome of your case.
- Experienced truck accident attorney. Hiring an experienced truck accident attorney who has a track record of success in settling and trying these cases significantly increases the value of your claim. He understands the importance of thoroughly investigating your crash and will not be afraid to take your case to trial if necessary to obtain the settlement you deserve.
Do you need advice on the value of your claim for injury compensation caused in a truck accident? Our knowledgeable attorneys are here to help. Call our Kansas City office today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company when filing a car accident claim?
If another driver caused your injuries in a car accident, a claims file will be opened by his or her insurance company once the incident is reported. An adjuster is assigned to investigate your potential claim, and will contact you as part of his investigation.
You may even receive a call from the adjuster while you're in the hospital. One common request from him or her is for you give a recorded statement. A recorded statement is a question and answer session conducted by the insurance adjuster with an accident victim either over the telephone or in person. The recorded conversation is later transcribed into a written document.
The adjuster may ask general questions about the victim's employment, educational level, and marital status as well as questions about the accident and the individual's resulting injuries.
Why You Should Decline to Give a Recorded Statement
While the insurance adjuster may try to convince you that giving a recorded statement will help speed up your claim, the reality is this is not usually true. In fact, many accident victims discover later that agreeing to give a recorded statement did exactly the opposite and slowed down or caused problems with their claims process.
Here are reasons you don't want to agree to give a recorded statement:
- Not required. It's important to remember that you're not required to give a recorded statement to settle your claim.
- Inconsistent statements. The insurance adjuster has a duty to his company to investigate your claim before agreeing to a settlement. And it's his job to raise any disputes during this process in order to reduce or deny your claim. One way he can do this is to compare the statements you make in a recorded statement to others you gave to police, a doctor, and witnesses. If your statements are inconsistent for any reason, he could use this information to try to deny your claim.
- Answers you didn’t mean. If there's a chance you're confused about the details of your accident due to your injuries, or simply misunderstood an adjuster's question, your responses may still be used against your claim.
- Use of answers in litigation. Any part of your recorded statement can be used against you at court hearings or at trial. This may impact your right to compensation.
Preparing for the claims process is one reason why it's important to secure the help of an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible after the incident. This allows you to politely decline to participate in a recorded statement and direct all communications and negotiations with the insurance company to your attorney.
Have You Ruined Your Case by Giving a Recorded Statement?
Fortunately, it's unlikely that you ruined your case if you gave a recorded statement. Many victims of car accidents have and still settled their claim. However, it's possible that an adjuster used your responses to reduce the claim's value.
If you provided a statement, it's helpful to review it during the claims process, but it's unlikely that the adjuster will give you a copy voluntarily. This is another reason why having an experienced attorney on your side helps your case. He can obtain a copy and evaluate your statements and how they may affect your settlement.
If you or a loved one was injured in a collision, we urge you to quickly retain an experienced attorney to investigate your claim, communicate with the insurance company, and negotiate your settlement. To learn why we're the right attorneys for you, call our office today to schedule a free consultation.