What Should I Do if I am Injured in a Car Accident?
After the initial shock of a car accident, you are likely to find yourself overwhelmed and in need of legal guidance.
It is common for people to enter a fight or flight mode during the immediate aftermath of a crash. This spike of adrenaline can affect an individual’s decision-making skills and overall response to the incident. Considering this natural response to shock, it may prove difficult to keep in mind what steps to take after a crash. To help you navigate this predicament, we’ve outlined the best course of action following an auto accident.
If you wish to speak with one of our legal staff right away, we offer a free case evaluation. Call 816-542-6734 today.
If you or a loved one have found yourself injured in a car crash in Kansas City, we advise you to remain calm and follow these steps.
Assess the Scene
Directly after a car accident, assess all involved parties for possible injuries. Relocate everyone to a safe area. Exercise caution while repositioning any injured person due to the potential of causing further injury. Move any damaged vehicles or car parts out of the way of oncoming traffic if possible.
Seek out Immediate Medical Treatment
If anyone has been injured in a car accident, contact medical services immediately. Do not stop to consider medical expenses. Get immediate medical care. If you are preoccupied with medical costs, keep in mind that in some cases, an insurance company may use a delay in receiving medical assistance as proof of lacking serious injury. An insurance company can argue that if immediate medical treatment wasn’t sought, the injuries sustained were not as severe as the victim claimed.
Insurance adjusters often contend that if you did not contact emergency medical services, but instead waited hours or days to seek medical treatment, you were not truly injured. An insurance company may suggest there was an alternative reason for your injury in between the time of the accident and when you finally sought medical assistance. Insurance adjusters will look for any reason not to pay the full value of a claim.
Although potential medical costs may be daunting, seeking immediate medical attention in the aftermath of a crash will verify your injuries when it comes to obtaining your compensation from the insurance agency.
Contact Law Enforcement
It is important to alert the authorities of a car accident as soon as possible. Law enforcement will file a police report and begin an investigation. An investigation requires an interview with all involved parties, including victims, potential perpetrators, and witnesses.
Investigators will promptly examine the scene of the accident, inspect the motor vehicles involved, and try to determine who or what was at fault. A filed police report greatly increases the likelihood of recovering damages for the victims of a car accident.
When lacking an official police report, your case can be liable to manipulation if another party consequently changes their statement at a later time. Another driver may informally offer to “take care” of the damages at the scene, but that is susceptible to change. In some cases, the at-fault drivers may deny their role in the accident entirely if an official report was not made. Assert that an official police report is filed to support your future legal case.
We advise you to collect information from the other driver or any involved parties swiftly as possible. Information such as the driver’s name, home address, driver’s license number, license plate numbers, and any insurance information.
Obtain Witness Contact Information
If there are any nearby witnesses to the accident that you are able to speak with, we advise you to obtain their contact information. Typically, witnesses will not wait at the accident scene for authorities to arrive. Whether these bystanders do not wish to get involved or simply don’t have time to wait, it is common for eyewitnesses to leave the scene.
Witnesses can help corroborate your story with law enforcement. By acquiring contact information from all possible witnesses, you can affirm their statements later on.
The police may not thoroughly question or gather full contact information from the witnesses. Police reports may simply contain a first name and brief statement, which lessens the strength of the statement if it is used in court. To support your future case we urge you to collect the full names, phone numbers, and addresses of all witnesses.
Comprehensive Medical assessment
Following an incident, following a car accident, it is important that you receive comprehensive medical treatment. We suggest that you act with caution and opt for thorough examinations.
Car accidents frequently result in brain trauma which may not exhibit visible symptoms. Along with unseen head injuries, other parts of the body are susceptible to internal damage. We recommend you request a thorough medical examination to determine your state of health.
Doctors may be reluctant to go through elaborate testing. We advise you to advocate for your health and request necessary x-rays, MRIs, and other tests that can identify all potential injuries.
If internal injuries are found, later on, health insurance companies may argue they did not occur during the accident. Avoid creating any opportunities for insurance companies to impede your compensation. Make sure you have been thoroughly assessed and all injuries have been documented when you receive your initial medical attention.
Contact your Insurance Company
Alert your insurance company that you have been involved in a car accident and suffered an injury. However, you should avoid answering any immediate questions or giving any specific details about your accident. Instead, notify your company that you are seeking representation from a lawyer who can answer their questions.
Insurance company agents may try to reassure you they are working in your favor. It is a false assumption that your own insurance company is on your side by default. Use caution when speaking with both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. These companies can be vicious in the litigation process for fair compensation. Insurers work to decrease their liability by devaluing your claim.
If the other driver’s insurance policy is inadequate or they are uninsured to cover your damages, you will have to seek compensation from your insurance policy under the underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. In this type of insurance claim, you are in direct conflict with your insurance company. While you are seeking honest compensation for your damages, your company may be looking to pay the lowest amount possible.
Insurance companies are funded by shareholders. To create maximum profit, they work to collect insurance premiums while paying as little as possible when claims are made.
An agent from a health insurance company may contact an injured victim shortly after an accident to acquire a recorded statement of what occurred. Insurers are aware that an injured individual is less likely to have consulted with a lawyer in that time period. The insurance agent may use information from your initial statement against your future personal injury claim.
We advise you to refrain from releasing information surrounding the nature of the accident and your injury. You may inform your insurance provider that you were involved in an accident, but avoid giving further details before consulting with an attorney. Don’t mistake insurance agents as your allies. Adjusters have an agenda to retain as much money for the insurance company as possible.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
In the aftermath of a car accident, you may find yourself submerged in the stress and confusion of navigating a legal case alongside the damages you’ve suffered. At Wendt Law, we offer a free case evaluation so you can seek advice for your next legal steps. By getting in contact with one of our Kansas City car accident attorneys as quickly as possible, you increase your odds of recovering maximum financial compensation. Our knowledgeable and professional legal team can help you handle and face your lawsuit.
Follow-up Medical Treatment
If you fail to follow your doctor’s instructions or show up for follow-up appointments, insurance companies and defense attorneys may use that against your case. An insurance company can argue that if a victim was truly injured in a car accident, that individual would obey the doctor’s orders to expedite their healing.
When cases enter the litigation process, if there has been any large gap in medical treatment, insurers typically use their lawyers to solicit a company-provided medical examination. A third-party physician requested by an insurance company may give opinions favoring the company’s case but contrary to your well-being. These opinions may shorten the suggested healing time, claim the injured individual has healed already, or that no further treatment is necessary.
Through large-scale advertising campaigns, insurance companies have constructed a negative association with filing a personal injury claim. A common misconception is that most individuals who file a personal injury or other damage claims are either exaggerating or falsifying their injuries and experiences. Yet, most injury claims are made by victims with real injuries and real damages.
How to Receive Fair Compensation After an Accident
Following a car accident, insurance companies may push for a quick settlement stripping you of time to assess the entirety of damages you deserve to claim. Many victims of car accidents aren’t aware of the extent of damages they are able to claim.
For these reasons, we suggest you hire one of our experienced Kansas City car accident lawyers at Wendt Law. Our expert personal injury attorneys work diligently to recover all the losses you are owed. The following are common expenses and damages accrued after a car accident. We encourage you to take into account these costs so we can understand the cumulative damage you have suffered when making your claim.
All medical bills that accumulate after the incident and during the healing period are regarded as medical costs. Medical expenses including ambulance and emergency room fees, hospitalization, doctor appointments, surgery, physical therapy, and rehabilitation should be compensated if the accident was the fault of another party. Keep track of your medical records and all out-of-pocket expenses so our attorneys can work to compensate you once you file a claim.
Future Medical Expenses
If you have sustained a severe injury due to your accident that requires ongoing medical care as well as rehabilitation, those medical bills are recoverable costs. The sum of recoverable future damages will be established by your doctor’s assessment of your health and needs.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering reimbursement encompasses the damages of the past and ongoing pain experienced by the victim. This damage includes all physical pain as well as emotional trauma endured. Car accident victims often go through severe emotional distress brought on by the trauma of the incident and sustained injuries. Damages recovered due to pain and suffering are based on the different types of injuries, the intensity of the pain, and the duration that the pain and suffering last.
Car accidents often result in severe injuries that require intensive rehabilitation. Serious injuries such as broken bones or spinal cord damage can take weeks up to months to fully heal. Severe injuries tend to require bed rest and restricted mobility which can hinder a worker’s capabilities or make work entirely impossible.
If you are unable to return to work due to the injuries you’ve suffered from a car accident, you are entitled to recover your lost income. The wages you would have made between the time that the accident occurred and the time of settlement can be recovered. If you can prove that the injuries you sustained have impaired your ability to work for future earnings, those wages can be claimed.
Emotional or Mental Distress
Aside from the obvious physical complications of an injury, come the mental and emotional damages. Severe injuries tend to demand long-term rehabilitation, which can take a mental toll on the injured individual. Being unexpectedly taken out of your routine due to an accident can have profound effects on your mental well-being. Following a car accident injury, victims often struggle with mild to severe depression, along with increased anxiety around health and well-being.
A traumatic accident can negatively affect mental wellness and in turn the personal and professional life of an accident victim. This combination of health problems can cause a serious strain on an individual or family.
Any damages done to the vehicle may be recoverable. If other personal property was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the value of the item.
Navigating your Insurance claim: Who covers you in a car accident?
While auto insurance and health insurance may seem entirely different, they share common coverages. Both types of insurance are required by law and regulated at the state and federal levels. Depending on your coverage plan and policy options your insurance may share similarities. If your car insurance policy covers medical expenses, it will come before your healthcare insurance in a car accident.
Proving Fault For A Car Accident In Kansas City
Establishing who is at fault is crucial to any claim. Multiple aspects must be considered when discerning who is responsible for an accident. Generally, if a driver violated a traffic law leading up to a crash, that driver is at fault for the accident. To determine negligence your attorney must prove the following components:
Duty of care: There was a legal “duty of care” or responsibility for the other driver to drive safely and not harm anyone.
Breach: The other driver breached the duty of care causing harm to other drivers.
Causation: Injuries and damages were sustained due to the breach of duty of care by the other driver.
Damages: You have sustained physical and thus financial damages due to the incident.
If both drivers involved in a crash have broken traffic laws, liability becomes more complicated to prove.
Car Accident Injuries
Depending on the severity of the accident, injuries can range from minor superficial damage to serious and potentially fatal harm. At Wendt law, our experienced legal staff has faced a wide variety of cases, but the most common car accident injuries we have witnessed include the following:
Soft tissue injury
Wounds to the skin, muscles, tendons, or ligaments are considered soft tissue damage. These types of injuries may involve cuts, lacerations, burns, bruises, and severe road rash. Soft tissue injuries generally have quicker recovery times. Although soft tissue injury may cause less harm, the cumulative suffering of the victim can still be profound.
Traumatic brain injury
Traumatic brain injuries, known as TBI for short, are damage to the brain due to forceful impacts on the head. A car accident victim may endure a concussion without any visible external damage. Head and neck injuries can result in severe cerebral and neurological damage. Symptoms of brain trauma include loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, drowsiness, struggle speaking, and loss of coordination. TBIs are serious injuries requiring immediate medical care and have the potential to cause permanent damage.
A violent impact to the spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more of the vertebrae is considered spinal cord damage. Whiplash is a common trauma experienced in car accidents that can cause spinal cord injury. These injuries can be catastrophic and invoke paralysis and even fatalities. Spinal cord injuries can be life-altering and require long-term care and rehabilitation.
Car accidents often involve forceful impacts that cause the bones of passengers to break or fracture. Injured passengers may fracture smaller bones in the hands and feet, or sustain complex breaks in the arms, legs, or spinal column. Broken bones can take weeks up to months to heal.
Causes of Kansas City Car Accidents
Rear-end collision: Generally, in rear-end accidents, the driver of the car who struck the rear of the other vehicle is at fault. If a collision involves multiple motor vehicles causing a domino effect, the driver who initially caused the crash can be held accountable for the cumulative damages of the accident. If the front vehicle makes a reckless maneuver such as suddenly slamming on the brakes, the car at the rear end may not be completely liable for the damages.
Collisions while turning: Car collisions involving left turns or U-turns are commonly the fault of the individual making the turn. The turning vehicle is required to yield to oncoming traffic, which puts them at fault if an impact occurs.
Speeding and reckless driving: Neglecting the speed limit, driving through a red light, and dangerously passing other vehicles on the road puts others at risk. Breaking these rules of the road places fault onto the negligent driver. If a driver receives a citation at the scene of the incident, they typically will be found at fault for inciting the accident.
Distracted Drivers: Any driver can quickly become distracted by the circumstances at hand. It has become normalized for drivers to multitask while driving. Drivers may attempt to eat, operate GPS, send text messages, use smartphones, or attempt any task that deters their attention from the road. An action that compromises a driver’s attention is negligent driving. If distracted driving results in a collision, the driver can be found at fault.
Drunk or impaired driving: Driving under the influence is prohibited by law and puts others at risk. The criminal prosecution of a DUI is separate from a civil suit for damages and injuries caused by a drunk driver. However, the fact that a driver was impaired often results in them being at fault for the accident.
What if I am at fault in a Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in an accident where you can be held responsible, we suggest you urgently speak with a lawyer. To compile your defense, we recommend you team up with an experienced Kansas City auto accident attorney. Regardless of your culpability, your case can still be litigated.
How can a Kansas City Auto Accident Attorney Help me?
At Wendt Law, we have extensive experience going up against fierce insurance companies, corporations, and tough defense attorneys.
Accident settlements can drag out for months up to years, especially without experienced legal counsel. If you want to win your case and maximize your compensation, our Kansas City car accident attorneys are here for you. With the support of our legal team, you can focus on your recovery while we manage your car accident case from beginning to end.
Our legal team will first conduct a thorough investigation of your accident. We then work to gather evidence pertinent to your case. After compiling information, we will bring in expert analysis to determine what compensation you are entitled to. Our lawyers are skilled at negating victim-blaming tactics of insurance companies and corporate-hired defense attorneys. Our attorneys will skillfully negotiate your settlement. If you aren’t offered a fair deal, we will then work on taking your case to trial.
Contact a Kansas City Auto Accident Attorney Today
If you are unsure whether you are entitled to compensation, our law firm offers a free initial case evaluation.
At Wendt Law, we work on a contingency fee basis meaning we charge no upfront cost. An allotment of your settlement is paid to our legal team only if we successfully recover compensation for you.
A car accident case may feel overwhelming alone, but our firm will work to facilitate the process. Our attorneys are experienced in car accident claims and are determined to recover maximum compensation on your behalf.
Don’t try to take on an insurance company or at-fault party on your own. Contact our car accident attorneys in Kansas City to get started with a free case evaluation today.