A car accident is said to occur when a motor vehicle collides with another vehicle, person, animal, road equipment or structure or other buildings on the road. In general, car accidents usually result in some type of injury to property, person and in worst cases, death. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of morbidity and long term disability in the U.S.
Despite aggressive policing of the roads, the setting of speed limits, speed enforcement systems, and speed cameras, car accidents are by no means declining. All over the country, road accidents are on the rise mainly because of an increase in the number of young drivers, speeding, distracted driving, driver fatigue, driver impairment (both under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol), road design and too many cars on the roads. Other causes of car accidents may include physical impairment, old age, sleep deprivation, mechanical fault and use of the mobile phone. The weather also plays a role although measures have been taken to improve this through better designs, improved maintenance at intersections, and road devices to improve visibility.
Car accidents are classified by their mechanism – rollovers, rear end, head on, run off road collisions and side accident. The degree of compensation for victims of such accidents depends on the degree of personal injury. The majority of car accidents are due to driver error and alcohol or drug intoxication but passing a judgment on mere observation really doesn’t work in the legal arena. For all such cases, negligence and fault have to be determined first to accurately establish the level of compensation which the injured party deserves.
In most states, when an individual is involved in a car accident, there is a financial liability. This may be due to property damage, injuries to passengers, driver and any fatalities. The cost of a car accident in most cases surpasses the annual income of a regular car driver and thus, all drivers in the US are required to carry liability insurance to cover any potential costs. This is generally a smart idea because if one is involved in such an incident, victims can seek damages in civil court and it may be impossible for individuals to come up with this money on their own.
A car accident can be minor or major. Sometimes, drivers can get away with merely a citation; others may be heavily fined or have their licenses suspended or revoked. However, if an accident is associated with a vehicular homicide, then the driver may be prosecuted in court, especially if alcohol is involved. When alcohol is a factor in a car accident, there are long term consequences such as suspension of a driver’s license, jail time and obligatory alcohol rehabilitation. Even if death is not the outcome, many times drivers and passengers involved in car crashes can suffer from life-changing injuries. This is when they might decide to file a personal injury case.
Specifically, personal injury cases refer to disputes that occur when there is one injured party that has suffered because of actions and negligence of another party. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you basically initiate a formal process through the civil court. Your objective is to seek legal compensation by proving that the other party was at fault. If you have been in an accident and you want to file a personal injury lawsuit, you (the plaintiff) will have to file a civil complaint against the party who you consider to be responsible (the defendant) alleging that you suffered harm and/or injury because of their negligence. This is basically the mode of operation when it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit.
In general, if you have been injured in an accident, and you are not at fault, you are legally entitled to recover a fair compensation for your injuries. The case can either be settled out of court or through a formal court hearing. For most victims of injury, an important decision is whether you need an attorney or not. Keep in mind that if you do not hire an attorney, you may not get a fair settlement or the compensation offered to you may be too low. Also, you may not have the proper skills to negotiate with the other party and once the case is settled out of court, you may not get a second chance to make a future claim.
A personal injury lawyer can help you assess the pain and suffering, quantify the damages you may have incurred and determine the right settlement amount.
That is why it is generally recommended that if you have been involved in a car accident, you should see a personal injury lawyer right away. Lawyers who have expertise in this area can make sure you receive the compensation you deserve and within the timeframe that you need it.
When you consult a lawyer in Kansas City, MO and have the intention of filing a personal injury lawsuit, make sure you have the basic information handy. This could include notes and pictures of the accident scene, details like time, date, weather conditions, any physical injuries, medical treatment, lost time from work, how the injury has affected you and other relevant information. If the police was involved (which in most cases will happen), you will need to get a copy of the police report.
The important thing is to find a good lawyer. At Krause & Kinsman, we have a team of qualified personal injury lawyers who will offer you a free consultation to determine where you stand, how strong your case is, what you need to do and the steps that should be taken subsequently. If you have proof of injuries, be sure to provide all that information to the lawyer so that they can outline how much compensation you are entitled to and how you should proceed.
Robert Kinsman 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. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.