INJURED IN AN AUTO ACCIDENT?
Most people think any attorney can satisfactorily handle their auto accident claim. While many “soft tissue” claims, with clear facts, do not require specialization, in reality, automobile accident cases often involve something less than clear-cut facts. Were there impartial eyewitnesses? Is there physical evidence that can only be evaluated by expert accident reconstruction? Were the injuries complex and significant, requiring retention of experts to analyze future disability and lost income? Were there special vehicles involved, that require an analysis of trucking regulations or regulations that pertain to buses or “common carriers”? Was there a death? If so, other special experts and laws may apply.
In Kansas and many other states, limits on the amount of money that can be recovered provide distinct obstacles that only an experienced personal injury attorney can hurdle. In short, there is no such thing as a simple motor vehicle or auto accident case. You deserve someone with the training and experience to maximize your recovery, no matter the facts and circumstances. A car accident is one of the most terrifying situations a person can go through. And the difficulties do not soon end. Victims must deal with ongoing medical needs, insurance issues, financial issues and much more.
What You Should Do after a Car Accident
- Stay At the Scene – Never leave the accident scene until it is appropriate to do so. You can face serious criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.
- Check on All Drivers and Passengers – Before assessing property damage, make sure everyone involved in the accident is OK. Get medical attention for anyone who needs it.
- Call the Police – If there is any reasonable chance of physical injury or if there is significant property damage, call the police. When they arrive, ask that a police report be filed and note the name and badge numbers of all responding officers.
- Exchange Information – Get the names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved, as well as passengers.
- Be Careful What You Say – Try to be cordial and cooperative, but do not offer apologies such as “I’m sorry, I ran the red light.” Even the innocent expressions of kindness such as “I’m so sorry”, may later be seen as admitting liability or fault.
- Talk to Witnesses – Ask every witness what he or she saw. Get their names, numbers, or addresses, if possible.
- Inform Your Insurance Company – Promptly tell your insurance company that you have been in an accident. Explain the facts clearly and be truthful about what happened and the extent of your injuries
- Take Photos – Record any damage to your vehicle as soon as possible after the accident. Photos of the positions of the vehicles, skid marks, road debris and injuries are also very helpful.
- Be Wary of Early Settlement Offers – Do not settle a claim until you know you will be compensated for all your injuries. Keep in mind not all injuries show up or reach their greatest level of discomfort until many days, weeks or months later.
- Consider Hiring A Lawyer – Consult an attorney before signing any waivers or settlement documents. This is especially important if there were injuries. An attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you were injured.
Understanding the Legal and Insurance Process
There are two prongs to an auto accident claim – liability (responsibility for the accident) and damages (Compensation for injuries and related losses). In almost all cases, damages are paid by insurance. This may be a combination of:
- The other driver’s liability policy if he or she was at fault
- Your own auto policy if the other drive is “uninsured” or “underinsured”; and/or
- Coverage of third parties (trucking company, construction contractor, and automobile manufacturer) that caused or contributed to the crash or its consequences.
Damages are based on the economic impact and the personal aftermath. This could mean several things. It could mean all medical bills and future medical care, lost wages, and projected loss of income. It could also be compensation for pain and suffering. Or, it could be compensation for disfigurement or permanent disability. You are also entitled to coverage for repair/replacement of your damaged vehicle.
Damages in an Auto Accident
Each insurance policy has an upper limit, or maximum, on damages. This upper limit depends on how much coverage the policy owner purchased. In cases of catastrophic personal injury or wrongful death, we may seek compensation from several sources to reach the needed amount, including claims under your own insurance for excess losses. At other times, unsafe road or highway design or a defect in the automobile operated may signal other avenues of recovery.
The vast majority of claims are settled out of court, although negotiations may take several months. We can file a formal lawsuit to preserve your rights. A lawsuit could also put pressure on a party that is reluctant to admit liability or settle the claim. The last recourse is to try the case before a jury. This is an expensive undertaking involving many experts and witnesses, and there is always the risk of coming up empty. However, we do go to trial (and regularly win) when the facts support our client but the defense refuses a reasonable settlement.
What You Can Expect From Monsees & Mayer
When you contact us after an accident, we begin an investigation into the circumstances of the crash. Our lawyers will talk to you and other passengers in your vehicle and contact any witnesses. Depending on the nature of the injuries or complexity of the crash, we may hire professional investigators and accident re-constructionists.
We take on the burdens of dealing with insurance companies. We keep clients informed and involved at every stage of the process. If you have questions or issues that arise, such as problems with hospital bills or property damage claims, we are always accessible. Assistance with these matters comes at no additional charge.
At Monsees & Mayer, we develop a relationship with our clients so we can understand their medical progress, their symptoms and limitations, their financial hardships and the impact on their daily life and future. Those insights and details help us get the maximum recovery so that you and your family can move forward.
Types of Auto Accident Cases We Handle
In addition to representing victims of car accidents, we help those who have been injured in:
- Motorcycle and moped accidents – Many times there are claims that go beyond a simple collision. Did a helmet properly protect the victim? Was there stability issues with the motorcycle? Many folks get distracted by the perception that motorcycles are inherently dangerous. Tim Monsees is a licensed motorcycle operator, and can relate to the special challenges of motorcycle operation.
- Trucking accidents and charter or school bus accidents – These special vehicles are often regulated. Operators or drivers that fail to abide by applicable regulations may invoke other theories of recovery that a simple “car wreck” attorney may overlook.
- Pedestrian-related accident– This could be in crosswalks and other dangerous areas. Pedestrian cases include walkers, runners, and others who were hit on highways, roads and city streets by motorists.
- Bicycle accidents – Representing adults and children who have been hurt by motorists while biking requires the following inquires: What are the rules of the road for bicycles? Was there a defective helmet? Was there a defect in the bicycle that contributed to the injury? Our experience and expertise allows us to identify and quickly navigate these issues at the outset.
- Hit-and-run accidents – Cases where you or a loved one becomes a victim of a hit-and-run collision. Many times you are left navigating the troubled waters of insurance policies that cover such accidents “phantom” drivers. Also, many times, even your own insurance policy can be looked to for “uninsured motorist” or “motor vehicle” coverage. That is where we come in.
- Distracted driving-related accident – Auto accident cases caused by drivers who were texting, talking on a phone, navigating a GPS and engaging in other dangerous behavior.
- Drunk driving accidents – collisions involving motorist under the influence of alcohol, illegal substances or prescription drugs.
- Accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists– Helping clients seek compensation after being in accidents involving drivers who had no insurance or minimal insurance
Attention To Detail
At Monsees & Mayer, P.C. our job is to make things right for our clients. Building successful car cases includes a meticulous attention to detail. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Did you report the accident as quickly as possible to the police? Have you been able to obtain a copy of the police or accident report?
- Did you obtain prompt and complete medical treatment and testing?
- Was an adequate investigation done at the scene of the collision to find clues that will help later in proving your case?
- Were good photographs taken of the scene, the vehicles involved and the injuries you suffered?
- Has a proper and thorough estimate been made of the damage to your vehicle?
- Have all witnesses been identified and spoken to?
- Are there other types of claims that may exist due to the fact there was a vehicular collision? Should a claim be made against the other driver’s employer? What rights may you have against your own insurance company if the other driver is uninsured or if the other driver has too little insurance to fully compensate you for your injuries and losses?
- In truck accidents, was the truck driver following all the proper state and federal regulations? Did the driver violate his or her own company rules, policies or procedures?
Our commitment to assist you in your automobile accident case begins the moment you contact us. Is there evidence of the accident still on the roadway? Do we need to preserve the vehicles for testing and analysis? Do not wait. The sooner we begin the fight for you, the sooner we can help. No matter what type of accident you were involved in, we are committed to helping you maximize your compensation and get through this difficult process. We are available to answer any questions you have along the way — we are here for you.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today
At Monsees & Mayer, P.C., we help victims of car accidents throughout Kansas City and surrounding areas. We also have an office in Springfield, Missouri and routinely work in Jackson, Cass, Clay, Platte, Clinton, Buchanan, DeKalb, Nodaway, Caldwell, Ray, Carroll, Saline, Pettis, Green, Taney, Christian, Stone, and Ozark counties in Missouri, and Wyandotte, Johnson and Franklin Counties in Kansas. If you are interested in talking to one of our attorneys about your accident and legal options, please complete our online contact form.
Get your questions answered. Contact Monsees & Mayer, P.C. for a free consultation about your case.