Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers
Filing a Car Accident Claim in Missouri
Car accidents are incredibly common—but that doesn’t mean the aftermath of a crash is an easy thing to navigate. If you were involved in a serious car accident in the Kansas City area, you are likely wondering where to turn and what comes next.
Since 1949, Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, CHTD. has been helping victims of negligence fight for fair compensation. Our Kansas City car accident lawyers are prepared to guide you through the process of filing a claim and seeking the maximum recovery you are owed. We have a proven track record of successfully taking on major auto insurance providers; our team has secured more than $625 million to date on behalf of our clients. More than this, we are available to assist you not only with the legal aspects of your claim but with the physical and emotional challenges you now face, as well. From finding a qualified doctor to having your car repaired after the accident, our firm is prepared to help you every step of the way.
Reach out to us today to schedule your free, confidential consultation. Call (816) 542-5999 or submit an online case evaluation form to get started.
Proving Liability in Your Car Accident Claim
In order to have grounds to file a car accident claim, you will need to prove that another person or party was at least partially responsible for the accident. This typically involves proving that another motorist (or another party) was negligent or acted unlawfully.
Examples of negligence and wrongful conduct that often leads to car accidents include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs
- Fatigued driving
- Reckless and/or aggressive driving
- Failing to obey red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices
- Unlawful or unsafe passing, lane changes, merging, and turns
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
While driver error, inattention, and recklessness are all examples of negligence, these are not the only negligent factors that can lead to accidents. In other cases, third-party negligence can contribute to or cause serious car crashes. Examples include defective autos/auto parts, dangerous highway design or faulty roadway construction, defective railroad crossing safety features, and more.
If you were involved in any auto accident and you believe someone else was to blame, reach out to our Kansas City car accident lawyers to learn more about your rights and how we can help you fight for fair compensation. Call (816) 542-5999 today!
The Rule Of Comparative Negligence
In most cases, the at-fault person or party is the one with legal liability, meaning the person or party that caused the accident is the one who is responsible for paying the injured party’s damages. But what if both drivers share some portion of fault? What if there were multiple involved parties? Who is liable for an accident when there are multiple people to blame?
The state of Missouri follows the rule of comparative negligence (also known as “comparative fault”). Under this rule, you are not barred from recovering compensation after an accident if you were partially at fault for the crash. And, because the state follows the rule of pure comparative negligence, your at-fault percentage is not relevant in determining whether you are entitled to compensation except that it must be less than 100%.
In other words, whether a jury decides that you were 20% at fault or 80% at fault for an accident, you can still recover compensation for your damages. However, your total recovery will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are found to have.
Damages in Car Accident Cases
After a car accident caused by negligence, injured victims are entitled to seek certain damages. “Damages” are simply economic and non-economic losses the victim endures as a result of the crash.
Common damages in car accident cases include:
- Emergency medical care costs
- Ambulance expenses
- Hospital fees
- Medical bills for all treatments related to the victim’s injuries
- Reasonable future medical expense
- In-home care costs
- Medications and medical devices/equipment
- Modifications to a home, vehicle, etc.
- Lost income, wages, and other benefits
- Lost future earnings
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering, including emotional trauma
- Counseling services
- Treatment of emotional/mental conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression
At Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, CHTD., our attorneys can sit down with you to discuss the specifics of your case and determine which damages you may be entitled to recover, as well as the potential value of your case. We encourage you to contact us right away to schedule a free consultation.
How Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, CHTD. Can Help
After a serious car accident, you are likely to face a number of unexpected challenges. From obtaining proper treatment for your injuries to dealing with a new disability to managing day-to-day expense while you are out of work, an accident can affect nearly every aspect of your life. The last thing you need to deal with on top of all this is negotiating with the insurance company to recover a fair settlement.
Instead, allow our trusted, award-winning team to advocate for you. We are ready to take on the insurance company on your behalf and, while most of our cases settle before going to trial, we are fully prepared to litigate your case in the courtroom if necessary. We always strive to achieve the best possible results for our clients while providing them with the personalized attention and care they deserve.
Give us a call at (816) 542-5999 or contact us online today to get started with a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents
Who was at fault and does it matter?
Fault is always important. You should discuss the details of the accident with an attorney who can assist you in making a decision about responsibility for the accident. In Missouri, you may be able to bring a lawsuit even if you were equally or more at fault than the other driver. In Kansas, if you are found to be 50% at fault or more, you will not be able to make a recovery.
Are there special considerations in serious injury or death cases?
In serious injury or death cases having an experienced, knowledgeable attorney is more vital than ever for many reasons. These cases need aggressive, early investigation, which will include interviews with you, potential witnesses, and police officers. The investigation may also include a visit to scene with accident reconstruction experts and an examination of roadway or landscape features that may have contributed to the accident. You can be sure that the insurance company for the other driver is investigating for their side and you should have a lawyer looking out for you.
Additionally, serious injury and death cases involve complex medical issues on the injured person’s current condition, prognosis, and future medical care. It is important in these cases to have an attorney with the resources and experience to hire healthcare experts, life care planners, and economists who can evaluate what your future needs may be. Insurance coverage issues also become extremely important in serious injury and death cases. A lawyer can examine the facts relating to the accident, take statements or depositions of the other driver and verify his/her insurance coverage, whether his/her employer may also be responsible or provide coverage for the accident, and evaluate whether your own insurance can help contribute to your compensation. Aggressive, thorough investigation also sometimes leads to the discovery of additional insurance coverage.
What if an auto defect or poor roadway design led to the accident?
Many times, an automobile accident was caused by auto defects, roadway defects, missing traffic signs, or improperly maintained landscapes. An attorney can visit the scene of the accident shortly after it occurs to document the conditions with photographs and videotape. Your accident also may involve product liability issues in which your vehicle did not protect you from the crash in the way it should have, or perhaps a defect in the vehicle caused the crash. For example, an airbag may not have deployed or the vehicle may have rolled over improperly and experienced roof crush that caused additional injury. Maybe the vehicle lacks certain safety features, like electronic stability control (ESC), which are highly effective in preventing accidents. There are many possible product liability and roadway defect theories and in a serious accident, it is important to have an experienced lawyer examine your potential claims.
Will I have to go to a jury trial to resolve my case?
Most lawsuits involving automobile accidents have an opportunity to be settled prior to a jury trial. However, many times to get the fair compensation that you are entitled to, you and your attorney must be prepared to go to trial and explain to the jury why you should receive a fair amount of compensation for your injuries and damages. In selecting an attorney, it is important to find an experienced trial lawyer with the resources and experience to take your case to a jury trial. Some lawyers are only interested in settling cases and do not have the resources or experience to take your case to trial. While no one looks forward to the prospect of a jury trial, in a serious injury or death case, you should be prepared to work with your lawyer and take your case to a trial if necessary.
Who will pay my medical bills?
Following a serious automobile accident, a family can be faced with mounting medical bills and questions about who will pay them. Consulting with an attorney about your accident can serve as a valuable resource on several important issues. First, in some states, like Kansas, there is “no-fault” or “personal injury protection (PIP)” benefits under your own insurance that can pay a limited amount of your bills right away. These benefits may also be available to pay you for wage loss and other types of out-of-pocket expenses. Your health insurance provider may also pay medical bills, and this raises an important issue called “subrogation” or “right of reimbursement.” Subrogation or right of reimbursement means that if you are injured as a result of the negligence of another party and you make a monetary recovery from that party, your health insurance company may have a right to be paid back for some of its medical bills.
Usually an experienced and competent attorney can evaluate your health insurance contract to see whether or not your case would be subject to subrogation or right of reimbursement and, if so, can work with the health insurance company to reduce or minimize the amount of money you may have to pay back after your case is resolved. We also assist our clients in obtaining Social Security disability benefits where appropriate, along with other government benefits to which they are entitled. Ultimately, you should keep careful records of your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, and you can make a claim for these items against the driver who is at fault for your accident.
How do I select the right attorney?
Selecting the right attorney is an important part of getting your case resolved satisfactorily. You can be sure that in a case of serious injury or death, the insurance company for the other driver will have an investigator and an attorney working on their side of the case right away. You should move quickly to get an attorney who can represent you and protect your interests. In automobile accidents involving serious injury or death, you should look for an attorney and a law firm who has the knowledge, experience, and resources to fully investigate and pursue your claims. You should find an attorney and law firm with experience with jury trials, as well as one with the resources and experts necessary to help you stand up to the big insurance companies. Personal injury cases are frequently handled on a contingency fee basis. This means there is no charge to you for the attorney’s time or expense in pursuing your case, and you only pay a fee when an attorney makes a successful monetary recovery.