I Was Injured in a Car Accident That Was My Fault: How Can I Get Compensation in Kansas City?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Kansas City and are unsure about your next steps, particularly if the accident was your fault, Wendt Law Firm is ready to offer support. Our team of experienced attorneys will provide a comprehensive free case evaluation and guide you through the legal process to ensure you are treated fairly and receive the compensation you deserve. Facing the aftermath of an accident can be daunting, and you shouldn’t have to go through it alone. Reach out to us at 816-531-4415 for dedicated advocacy for your rights and interests.

Understanding Fault in Kansas City Car Accidents

A woman taking photos of a car accident.In the aftermath of a car accident, establishing fault is a pivotal step. Being at fault means that your actions contributed to the accident, whether entirely or partially. This factor significantly influences your eligibility to seek compensation. However, car accident claims can be particularly challenging in Kansas City due to the distinct legal frameworks of Kansas and Missouri.

The complexity arises from the fact that while Kansas operates under a no-fault system, Missouri follows an at-fault system. This fundamental difference means that the process and prospects of securing compensation vary depending on which side of the state line the accident occurred.

Kansas No-Fault System

Under the no-fault system in Kansas, individuals who find themselves in the unfortunate situation of a car accident have a unique avenue for seeking compensation. Regardless of who might be to blame for the mishap, drivers are first required to turn to their own car insurance coverage to pay for any medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident. This implies that even if you were the one who caused the collision, you are still entitled to recover certain losses without the need to point fingers or establish liability.

To ensure that this system operates effectively, Kansas law mandates that all drivers carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP is designed to provide a safety net by covering medical expenses, lost income due to inability to work, and essential services, all without regard to who was responsible for the accident. Therefore, even if you find yourself at fault, you can breathe a little easier knowing that there is a mechanism in place for you to receive compensation to help with these financial burdens.

Missouri At-Fault System

In contrast to its neighbor, Missouri adheres to an at-fault system, which takes a more traditional approach to resolving car accident claims. Under this system, the driver who is deemed accountable for causing the accident is typically held responsible for any resulting damages. In practical terms, this means that if you were the one at fault in a car accident occurring in Missouri, you might find yourself on the hook for the other party’s damages, aligning with the principle that individuals should bear the consequences of their actions.

However, the situation isn’t entirely bleak for at-fault drivers in Missouri. The state has wisely chosen not to follow the harsh rule of contributory negligence, a doctrine that in the past would often leave partially at-fault plaintiffs without any recourse. Instead, Missouri allows for recovery of damages even for those who may have had a hand in their own misfortune. Specifically, if you were partially at fault, you are not barred from seeking compensation, provided that another driver is also found to have contributed to the accident. This opens up a path to financial recovery that acknowledges the nuances of real-world accidents, where blame is not always clear-cut.

Comparative Negligence: A Key Factor in Compensation

While understanding the basic fault system is crucial, the concept of comparative negligence adds another layer to car accident claims. Comparative negligence accounts for situations where multiple parties share responsibility for the accident, and damages are awarded based on each party’s percentage of fault. Both Kansas and Missouri use forms of comparative negligence, but the way they implement it differs, which in turn influences compensation claims.

The principle of comparative negligence is significant because it can affect the value of your car accident claim. This principle replaces the outdated doctrine of contributory negligence, which barred plaintiffs from recovering any damages if they were found to be even minimally at fault.

Modified Comparative Fault in Kansas

In Kansas, a modified comparative fault system is applied. This system allows you to recover damages only if your degree of fault is below 50%. So, if you were more at fault than the other party involved in the accident, you would be barred from recovering any damages.

However, if your degree of negligence is less than the other party’s, Kansas law allows you to recover damages. The catch is that the damages will be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For instance, if you were 30% at fault, your compensation would be reduced by 30%.

Pure Comparative Fault in Missouri

Meanwhile, Missouri follows a pure comparative fault system, which is more forgiving. This system allows you to recover damages regardless of your percentage of fault in the accident, as long as you are not 100% at fault.

However, like in Kansas, the amount of compensation you can recover is reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you were 70% at fault, you would only be entitled to 30% of the total damages.

Insurance Coverage Options for At-Fault Drivers

Regardless of fault, car insurance plays a crucial role in the aftermath of a car accident. Different types of coverage can help compensate for your injuries and damages. In Kansas City, options such as:

  • MedPay
  • Bodily injury liability
  • Collision coverage
  • Liability insurance

are available to at-fault drivers.

Understanding how these coverages work is vital as they each serve different purposes. For instance, MedPay can help with medical expenses regardless of who is at fault, while bodily injury liability may cover injuries to others when you’re at fault. Collision coverage is useful for repairs to your own car after an accident, and liability insurance helps pay for damages to others.

For drivers without insurance, it is crucial to seek legal advice to explore alternative options for covering the incurred damages, as they cannot rely on a driver’s insurance company.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

One of the key coverage options for at-fault drivers in Kansas City is Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This coverage is mandatory for all drivers and provides compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault.

From ambulance fees to hospital bills, surgical procedures, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and therapy, PIP coverage can be a financial lifesaver for at-fault drivers. Additionally, if you are unable to work due to injuries, PIP provides 60% compensation of your lost wages, calculated based on your hourly or salary earnings. However, it’s crucial to accurately document any loss of income or lost opportunity to ensure you can recover these damages, including medical bills and pain and suffering.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is another crucial insurance option for at-fault drivers. It compensates you for damages to your own vehicle resulting from a collision, whether it involves another vehicle, a stationary object, or even a pothole. In such cases, dealing with the other driver’s insurance company might be necessary to resolve the situation.

You can control the cost of your collision coverage premiums by opting for a higher deductible, which may result in lower monthly payments. But remember, while you have the freedom to choose your preferred repair shop for your vehicle, you may have to pay the cost difference if your choice is more expensive than the insurance company’s recommended shop rates.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage provides additional protection for at-fault drivers involved in accidents with drivers who lack sufficient insurance. This coverage can be a financial safety net in situations where the other party’s insurance is inadequate to cover your losses.

In addition to covering your medical expenses, this type of coverage can also provide compensation for lost wages if the other party in the accident is uninsured or underinsured. This makes it a valuable inclusion in your insurance policy, especially considering the number of uninsured and underinsured motorists on the road.

Legal Actions for At-Fault Drivers Seeking Compensation

Even if you’re at fault, you may still have legal recourse to pursue compensation. Suing for damages after being found partially responsible can be challenging in Missouri and Kansas, but it is not out of the question. Although it may be difficult, it is not impossible. You can pursue compensation through your own car insurance or by filing a claim against a third party.

However, determining liability can become difficult in car accident cases where both drivers violated traffic laws. This is where legal assistance comes into play. An experienced car accident attorney can:

  • Protect your rights
  • Ensure fair treatment by insurance companies
  • Guide you in proving that someone else’s negligence, recklessness, intent to harm, or unlawful act contributed to your injuries.

Filing a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company

Filing an insurance claim with your own insurance company is one way to seek compensation after an accident. You should report the accident as soon as possible and provide thorough details to your insurance company. However, it’s crucial to understand that insurance regulations can differ between first-party claims and third-party claims.

To effectively document a car accident, you should:

  1. Obtain a police report
  2. Gather contact and insurance information from all parties involved
  3. Find witnesses
  4. Take photos of the scene

Collision coverage can insure you against the cost of repairs to your vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Pursuing a Claim Against a Third Party

In certain circumstances, you might be able to pursue a claim against a third party. For instance, in product liability claims, you can seek compensation from a vehicle manufacturer without the need to prove negligence.

This means that if your accident was caused by a defect in your vehicle, you could hold the manufacturer responsible, even if you were technically at fault in the accident. This approach can significantly enhance your chances of obtaining compensation, providing a financial cushion to cope with the aftermath of the accident.

When to Consult a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer

Knowing when to consult a Kansas City car accident lawyer can significantly influence your ability to obtain fair compensation. If you’ve been told you were at fault, consulting with a lawyer can help you understand your legal options and ensure you are treated fairly.

A Wendt Law Firm car accident lawyer can:

  • Protect your rights
  • Establish a link between the accident and your injuries
  • Provide legal counsel in processes
  • Offer a free consultation to help you understand your legal options and determine the right course of action.

Evaluating Your Case

A car accident lawyer can provide invaluable assistance by evaluating the specifics of your case, collecting and organizing evidence, and assessing the financial impact of the accident. They are adept at gathering critical evidence such as photos from the accident scene, details of vehicle damages, and witness statements, all of which are essential in supporting a personal injury claim.

In addition to these services, a lawyer can guide you through the one-chance dilemma in settling claims and help you through the intricacies of multiple-vehicle liability. They can also offer advice on whether it is more advantageous to go to court or settle, based on the strength of your case.

It’s also important to note that seeking medical attention promptly after a car wreck is crucial for car accident victims. Immediate medical care is not only vital for your health but also provides the necessary documentation required for any legal claims you may pursue.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Car accident attorneys can:

  • Negotiate with insurance companies to secure the strongest possible settlement
  • Challenge the decision if an insurance company denies your claim or offers an inadequate settlement
  • Fight for a fair offer

Your attorney can assess a proposed settlement, compare it with the full extent of your damages, and advocate for a better offer or recommend litigation if necessary. Understanding the value of your claim, including lost wages, is crucial as it influences the settlement outcome, and once a claim is settled, you typically cannot pursue further damages.

Representing You in Court

If your case proceeds to court, having a lawyer by your side can make a significant difference. A lawyer possesses the knowledge and skills to face the legal system. The legal process involves various intricate procedures and rules of evidence, which can be challenging to manage effectively without legal guidance.

An experienced lawyer can construct a strong argument, challenge evidence presented by the opposition, and cross-examine witnesses to secure a more favorable outcome. Choosing to represent yourself in court can significantly disadvantage you due to the lack of legal knowledge, potentially resulting in a less favorable or adverse verdict.

How Wendt Law Firm Can Help You

At Wendt Law Firm, we are committed to helping at-fault drivers understand their legal options and secure maximum compensation. We offer free case evaluations to advise you on the next legal steps.

Our legal team offers the following services:

  • Conducting thorough investigations to gather evidence and bring in analysis to determine compensation entitlements
  • Experience in negating victim-blaming tactics often used by insurance companies and defense attorneys
  • Negotiating settlements
  • Being prepared to take cases to trial if a fair deal is not offered

Plus, we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay no upfront costs and only pay a fee if we successfully recover compensation for you.

With the right understanding of Kansas and Missouri’s legal systems, insurance coverage options, and the concept of comparative negligence, you can make informed decisions about your compensation claim. And with the right legal assistance, like that provided by Wendt Law Firm, you can take on these complex processes, protect your rights, and secure the best possible outcome.

Let us help you in your time of need. For comprehensive legal support and a free consultation, call us today at 816-531-4415.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a no-fault system and an at-fault system?

The fundamental distinction between a no-fault system and an at-fault system lies in the way insurance claims are processed and who is financially responsible for the damages incurred. In a no-fault system, such as the one adopted by Kansas, drivers turn to their own insurance policies to cover medical expenses after an accident, irrespective of who caused it. This approach is designed to streamline the compensation process, reduce the burden on the courts, and ensure timely payment for losses. On the other hand, an at-fault system, which is in place in Missouri, operates on the principle that the driver who is found to be responsible for causing the accident should bear the financial consequences. In this scenario, the at-fault driver’s insurance is primarily liable for compensating the not-at-fault parties for their damages, potentially leading to more complex legal proceedings as fault must be established before a claim can be settled.

What is comparative negligence and how does it affect my compensation?

Comparative negligence considers shared responsibility for an accident, and in Kansas and Missouri, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident.

What insurance coverage options are available for me if I am at fault in a car accident?

If you are at fault in a car accident in Kansas City, you can consider coverage options such as MedPay, bodily injury liability, collision coverage, and liability insurance to help compensate for injuries and damages. Consider exploring these options to protect yourself in the event of an accident.

Can I seek compensation if I am at fault in a car accident?

Absolutely, even if you are considered at fault in a car accident, there are avenues available for you to seek compensation. You have the option to file a claim through your own insurance coverage, such as collision coverage or Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which may cover your medical bills and lost wages irrespective of fault. Additionally, you might have the opportunity to file a claim against a third party if there are other factors involved in the accident, such as a vehicle malfunction or a third party’s partial responsibility. It’s essential to understand the full scope of your insurance policy and the legal options at your disposal, as they can provide critical support in managing the financial consequences of the accident.

How can Wendt Law Firm help me if I am at fault in a car accident?

Wendt Law Firm can help you by offering free case evaluations, conducting thorough investigations, negotiating settlements with insurance companies, and being prepared to take your case to trial if necessary. They work on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay if they successfully recover compensation for you.


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