Auto accidents claimed 947 lives in Missouri in 2016 alone, according to crash data by the Missouri Coalition for Road Safety. Indeed, thousands of Missourians are involved in crashes each year. When you are seriously injured in a car accident, it’s hard to know where to turn. One of the most frequent questions people have is, “What will the insurance company pay?” But this question is really just referring to something lawyers call “damages.”
What Are Damages?
In the law, damages define what has been lost or harmed as a result of the negligent conduct of a person or company. So, in short, damages can be just about anything from a person’s life to a cracked cell phone screen. Here is a broad list of the types of things you can claim as damages in a Missouri car accident. Not all of them will apply in all cases, of course, and this is definitely not an exhaustive list:
- Past medical bills;
- Future medical bills;
- Past pain and suffering;
- Future pain and suffering;
- Past lost earnings or wages;
- Future anticipated lost earnings or wages;
- Lost enjoyment of life;
- Damaged or destroyed personal property (items in a vehicle);
- Diminished value of the damaged vehicle; and
- Much more.
How Do I Make the At-Fault Party Pay My Medical Bills?
Unfortunately, there is nothing that can make someone do the right thing. This is precisely why you should hire an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Insurance companies generally will not pay anything until they fully assess the extent of your damages. If you are still receiving medical care, the insurance company may postpone paying anything while it waits for you to finish your treatment. This can result in collections, bad debts, and financial problems.
Depending on the type of car insurance you carry, your health insurance, and where you are seeking treatment, there may be options to help you in the short-term, while your attorney works to resolve your case against those who are ultimately responsible.
What Is Diminished Value?
This is a strange term when you first hear it, because it almost sounds like you are getting less money. In truth, this is just a term used to describe the value that is lost when a vehicle is damaged. Although the insurance company might repair your vehicle, it will never be worth as much as it was before the wreck. If you have a high-value, late model vehicle, it will likely lose a lot of value, simply by virtue of being involved in a crash. In Lupo v. Shelter Mutual Insurance Company, a court held that the correct amount of compensation for a damaged vehicle is the difference in value between what it was worth before and after the collision.
How Do I Calculate My Pain and Suffering?
The simplest way to think of pain and suffering is that it’s the measure of what your discomfort and misery is worth to a jury. When negotiating with the insurance company, it’s important to have an attorney who can help demonstrate that your pain is objective – meaning it can be proven. This means you could prove it to a jury. It’s not enough to tell a jury you are in pain; it is better to have medical evidence, physicians, photos, videos, witnesses, and other clear evidence that supports your claim.
Hiring a Kansas City Car Wreck Attorney
Hiring an attorney is a simple step to take that will greatly increase your chance of recovering for your injuries. Don’t take chances dealing with insurance adjusters on your own. Contact the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm today to schedule a risk-free, no obligation case evaluation. There is no charge for the meeting, and we collect nothing unless we recover. Missouri has strict time limits on recovering, so don’t delay.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.