What should I do if I was involved in a Kansas motor vehicle accident?
Do not say anything regarding the facts of the accident. This includes making an apology or admission. These statements can be used against you to avoid paying you for your injuries. They may also be used against you in a criminal or traffic proceeding. If you do receive a citation (i.e. speeding, failure to maintain lane, etc.), you should NOT plead guilty. You are strongly advised to call the attorneys at DeVaughn James, LLC to discuss how to handle any citation.
Second, if you are in pain, go to a doctor immediately. The insurance company will likely argue that you did not sustain serious injuries if you wait several days or weeks to seek medical treatment.
How do I know if I am entitled to compensation for injuries as the result of a car accident? Also, what types of damages can I recover for?
The law entitles victims of car accidents to recover damages and compensation for their injuries sustained in the accident. You likely have a good personal injury claim if:
• Your injury is a direct result of the car accident.
• The accident was caused due to another person’s negligence or fault and not your own. The law does not allow you to be compensated for injuries you caused to yourself.
If we can establish that someone else was at fault, you may be able to recover compensation and damages for the following:
• Medical expenses incurred in the treatment of your injuries.
• Any future medical costs.
• Compensation for actual loss of wages.
• Loss of future wages.
• Compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
• Damages for mental pain and anguish.
Do I need to notify MY insurance company about the accident?
Your insurance company probably requires you to notify your insurance agent as soon as possible. This is usually necessary to process all or part of your claim; however, do not give any type of recorded statement to your agent or carrier without our firm being present.
Should I speak with the other person’s insurance company if they contact me?
No. Do NOT discuss your case with anyone until you have met with one of the personal injury lawyers at DeVaughn James, LLC.
First, the other driver’s insurance company may try to blame you for the accident and sue YOU for damages. They have a team of accident “experts” that they will use to show you were at fault.
Second, the process may be confusing for you, especially if you are likely in shock, angry, sick, and hurt from the accident. You may also be taking pain medication. This is not the right frame of mind to deal with the insurance company. Remember, the adjuster’s job is to minimize any exposure for the insurance company (i.e. avoid paying a claim).
In an attempt to blame your condition on anyone but their insured, they will ask you to sign authorizations for release of your medical records. This will likely be a broad release giving them FULL access to ALL of your records, even if the records have nothing to do with your accident. To avoid compensating you, they will then try to blame any current injuries on your unrelated past medical history.
Third, if you claim to have lost time from work due to your injuries, the adjuster will ask for a work release. This gives him access to your ENTIRE employee file–including personnel records. You claim that you missed work because you were injured? The insurance adjuster will point out that you missed 5 days of work (when your child was sick), and tell you they will not compensating you for lost wages for your injuries—missing work is a habit for you.
Fourth, the adjuster will attempt to convince you that you were not really injured. He will tell you that your medical bills were generated from diagnostic tests and were not used for treatment. Maybe it took you a few days to realize how truly injured you were and you took some over-the-counter remedies thinking your pain would go away. He may tell you that “everyone takes aspirin” and that your injuries are not serious. Remember, he is trying to minimize your injuries to avoid paying you.
Fifth, you may end up in collections because of your medical bills. The adjuster will tell you, “just send me all the bills” giving you the impression that he will pay the bills as he receives them. This is not the case. He will not pay any bills until your case is finished and you have signed a settlement agreement. In the meantime, your bills have been unpaid, sent to collections, and negatively affect your credit report.
Once you hire an attorney, you do not speak to the adjuster. The attorney handles all correspondence for you. Further, the attorney will review and approve any and all releases to make sure they are limited to your current situation.
Should I apologize to other driver?
You should NEVER admit fault for the accident to anyone, including the other driver, passengers, relatives, and/or police officers. You may have signed a citation from the investigating officer. This action was not, however, an admission of guilt. It was simply a promise to appear in court.
Who is responsible for my medical treatment and expenses?
Until the case is resolved, you are responsible for any treatment and expenses not covered by any insurance policies you have. If you do not have funds to pay for health care, you can still obtain treatment if the health care provider agrees to accept a lien for payment. By placing a lien on your potential settlement, the caregiver is willing to forego payment during the course of treatment. Instead, he will be paid when the case is settled.
We can also assist you in obtaining Medicare or Medicaid to ensure you receive the treatment you desperately need.
The at-fault party of the accident and/or their insurance company is ultimately responsible. In the event the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may help in paying expenses and other damages if you purchased this coverage. Expenses may also be paid from PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage if you have paid for this coverage or if the driver in the auto in which you were a passenger had this coverage.
What happens if the other party is not insured?
Check your own coverage. You may have purchased uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Other types of insurance, such as homeowner’s insurance, may be in place to pay you for your injuries. If there is no insurance available, we will perform an asset search to determine if there is money available for you elsewhere.
What do I do if I am unable to work due to the accident?
You may be entitled to receive lost wages from injury due to your accident. Generally, we do NOT recommend that you take time off from work without a written order from your doctor. This could hurt your chances of successfully recovering money. It is important for you to keep a detailed list of days missed and income lost due to the accident.
Do I really need a lawyer?
You have the right to legal counsel to protect your rights when someone else’s negligence has caused damage to you and/or your property. Hiring an injury lawyer sends the insurance company the message that you are serious about your claim. You will also have the security of having your personal rights protected. The at-fault insurance company may try to tell you that you do not need a lawyer. The person giving you that advice is probably not a lawyer and may even be breaking the law by attempting to practice law without a license.
We have seen many instances where an adjuster for the at-fault insurance company convinces a claimant that they do not need a lawyer. This usually results in a settlement that is far less than the person should have received had they obtained a lawyer. In some cases, it is then too late for us to help that claimant. We can be the most help when you come to see us immediately after the accident.
Can I fire my attorney?
Yes. You may fire your attorney for any reason. If you feel your rights are not being protected, calls are not being answered, and/or your case is not being handled properly, we can still help you. We will take care of attempting to work out an equitable agreement with your former counsel. In the vast majority of cases, we are able to do this without the client incurring any additional attorney fees.
Will I need to file a lawsuit?
The overwhelming majority of cases settle before there is a need for a lawsuit. In certain circumstances, a lawsuit becomes necessary. For example, maybe the at-fault insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith with us. If we cannot settle your case satisfactorily we will advise you on taking your case to trial.
Our firm is experienced in both negotiating of your behalf and trying cases. We will always act in and advise you about your best interests.
How much money can I expect for the property damage to my car?
You should be offered either the amount that it will take to restore your car to its condition prior to the accident, or the fair market value of your car if the car is considered totaled. There are different methods used by insurance companies to determine these values. Whatever insurance company we are dealing with, be assured that your settlement will be fair and reasonable.
How long will it take to settle my case?
All claims are handled individually on a case-by-case basis. No two cases are exactly alike. In general, we must wait until you are finished with treatment before we can proceed with settlement negotiations. In part, the amount of money you will receive depends on the actual amount of your medical bills. If we attempt to settle your case before you finish with treatment (before you stop accumulating bills), we won’t know the full amount of your damages and risk under-settling your case.
We can proceed to settlement negotiations the day your doctor releases you from treatment. Some client receive settlement checks 60 to 90 days from the date they are finished with treatment.
How much money can I expect to receive from my case?
We cannot accurately estimate the value of your case until we know all of the surrounding facts and circumstances. Unknown factors can sometimes come up or problems arise that may change the financial value of your case. No matter what the circumstances may be, our skilled attorneys at DeVaughn James, LLC consult with your treating doctors and other pertinent experts to give you an estimate that we feel is legally fair and reasonable. We will then work hard to get you the maximum amount of money possible the quickest way possible.
We offer free consultations. If you would like to sit down with us we may be able to give you a range value on your case.
Can I recover for injuries or death of a loved one?
If you have lost a parent, spouse, or child to a car accident, you can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent parties. In addition to the above, if you were financially dependent on someone, you can bring a claim of wrongful death if that person was killed in a car accident even if you are not actually related to the deceased.
Here too, you need to establish that the death was caused due to the negligent actions of the defendant and happened because of the car accident. In a wrongful death claim, you are entitled to receive damages for the following:
•Loss of companionship
•Loss of sexual relationships
•Actual financial losses, if the person killed was the provider of the household or you were dependant on them financially.
• Mental pain and suffering
I just received an offer from the insurance company. How was the offer calculated?
Quite simply, the insurance company is offering you the lowest amount of money they think you will accept. The amount you are offered usually has no bearing Insurance companies are in the business of making money for their shareholders. Despite what they may tell you, they do not have your best interest in mind. The offer is probably the lowest offer they think you will accept. The latest trick is for an insurance company to offer you a strange figure (example $2,749.48). They are hoping that you will think they made some type of calculation through a formula to arrive at this figure. There is no specific formula for determining the value of a personal injury case. An offer of a strange figure is most likely a psychological trick to make you think there is a specific formula and that is all you are entitled to.
I was involved in a hit and run accident in Kansas. What are my rights?
If your insurance policy has uninsured motorist coverage, you can generally collect for the same damages that you could if the person that hit you was caught and had insurance. Usually, this means that generally you can collect for your medical bills, lost time from work, and any pain and suffering you incurred and will incur as a result of the accident.
Why do attorneys want to be contacted immediately following an accident?
The insurance company investigates the accident from the moment it was reported. Unlike an attorney, they do not work for you and are not attempting to help you. Rather, they are looking for anything that will lower their exposure. Remember, an insurance company is a corporation whose function is to make a profit for its shareholders. By contacting an attorney immediately, you will have someone working for YOU and gathering evidence on your behalf.
How many car accidents are there in the US and how many people are killed or seriously injured as a result of these?
On average, there are more than 6 million car accidents on the roads of the US, annually. More than 3 million people are injured in car accidents, with more than 2 million of these injuries being permanent.
What are some of the reasons for car accidents and fatalities?
In more than half of all car accident fatalities, the deceased were found not to be wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Even with seat belts being mandatory, a vast majority of people choose to disregard this safety precaution and end up losing their lives because of it. Many car accidents are caused by people talking to other passengers while driving, and others due to drivers playing with the radio while driving. A large percentage is because of eating or drinking while driving, and 25% of car accidents are caused due to talking on cell phones while at the wheel of the car. These car accident statistics are sad enough on their own, the saddest part being that they could have easily been avoided had drivers been paying more attention to driving and less to other activities.
What are the legal aspects regarding compensation for car accident injuries/fatalities?
If you have been injured in a car accident, or have lost someone because of a car accident, you can file a case of personal injury or a wrongful death claim, depending on the circumstance.
Those who are involved in car accidents usually suffer serious injuries or death. Various types of car accident injuries include brain injury, injury to the spine, neck injuries, fractures and broken bones, head injuries, etc.
Such serious injuries can often leave the victims in severe pain and discomfort, not to mention making them disabled for life. Car accident injuries can also result in the loss of eyesight or hearing. Even if your car accident injuries are treated properly, you may still end up with some permanent disability or disfigurement.