Some of the most troublesome symptoms (and the most difficult to cure) result from apparently minor injuries or illnesses. Sometimes their cause continues to perplex doctors, even after you visit a variety of specialists and undergo all kinds of tests. You may even know someone who suffered for months or years from a post-viral syndrome that caused constant fatigue and neurological symptoms, even though the original viral infection was hardly worse than the common cold.
Consider that, for most of his life, Charles Darwin suffered from dizziness, headaches, heart palpitations, skin rashes, and gastrointestinal symptoms; although medical science has come a long way since the 19th century, today’s physicians would have a hard time determining whether Darwin’s symptoms were due to POTS, Meniere’s disease, lupus, or a variety of other causes.
Likewise, traumatic injuries resulting from a car accident can lead to effects well beyond pain in the affected part of the body, and these lingering symptoms can be debilitating. Headaches, muscle weakness, memory impairment, or even loss of bladder control can appear months or years after a traumatic injury sustained in an accident. Proving that your chronic pain and/or ill health are the result of the car accident and not, for example, an old injury or a chronic illness, requires the expertise of the Kansas City Car Wreck Lawyers at Foster Wallace, LLC.
What You Must Prove in a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit
In order to win a car accident lawsuit, Missouri’s personal injury laws require you to prove that the following things are true:
- The defendant owed other drivers on the road (like you) a duty to drive safe and had a legal responsibility to prevent a wreck. In legal terms, this is called the duty of care.
- By causing the accident or failing to prevent it, the defendant breached their legal duty of care owed to you.
- Your injuries were caused by the accident.
- The financial losses for which you are seeking reimbursement in the lawsuit are the direct result of your injuries. These financial losses can include medical bills and lost income, among other losses.
It is a lot easier to prove that a broken arm or a cut that required stitches was the result of a car accident when you went to a hospital after the wreck, but with invisible symptoms such as headaches, back pain, memory loss, or anxiety, there is more room for debate. That is why it is so important to have a car accident lawyer present your case in a compelling way that proves that these injuries you now suffer were caused by the car wreck and not something else.
When it is Not Easy to Pin Down the Cause of Your Symptoms
A lot of people suffer from symptoms following a car accident that could be caused by a variety of factors. Frequent headaches could be the result of a whiplash injury sustained in a car accident. They could also be because of anything from hormonal changes to an outdated reading glasses prescription to cancer. Health insurance companies always have their eyes on the bottom line, even though their ostensible purpose is to help you get the medical treatment you need at an affordable price. Almost everyone who has tried to apply for health insurance has had a rude awakening of this sort; because you already had high blood pressure when you applied for the insurance, the insurance will not pay for treatment of other conditions that emerge as a result of your high blood pressure. Health insurance companies will fight against you receiving certain types of care after a car wreck, arguing it is not necessary.
Car insurance companies often offer paltry settlements to people injured quickly after they were involved in a car accident; if they even offer enough money to pay for medical bills, it is usually just for the original visit to the emergency room and not for the follow-up treatment. If you are left with chronic pain or other chronic symptoms after a car accident, you will need a lot of follow-up treatment. The car insurance company may refuse to pay for your care no matter what your lawyer says during negotiations, and in that case, a lawsuit is often the best or only choice for dealing with the medical bills that keep coming in as a direct result of your wreck.
How to Maximize Your Chances of Winning Your Car Accident Case and Maximizing Your Monetary Damages
If you end up filing a lawsuit against the driver who hit you or against another party (such as the company whose vehicle the driver was driving at the time of the accident), you will need as much documentation as possible to use as evidence. Sometimes a defendant offers to settle for the amount you are requesting, or nearly that amount, because you have airtight evidence and your damages exceed the policy limits. An insurance company in that situation is better off paying the policy limits because if it refuses to do so, and the defendant is assessed to pay more by a jury than the policy limits at trial, they may have been found to be in bad faith for putting their insured at-risk.
The two most important things to do to maximize the damages you may receive in your car accident case is to gather as much evidence as possible immediately after the accident and to avoid making any innocent mistakes that may jeopardize your claim. To gather evidence, you should be examined by a medical professional immediately after the accident, even if you feel fine. This way, your medical records will show that there was an accident, and your doctors will be on the lookout for accident-related symptoms. If you begin to suffer pain in the coming days or weeks, the defendant cannot argue that you suffered an unrelated injury that caused your pain and are just trying to blame it on the defendant to get money. You also should try to avoid giving a statement to the other driver’s insurance company without talking to a lawyer first.
If the Defendant Argues That Pre-Existing Conditions are to Blame for Symptoms After a Car Accident
If you are facing medical bills beyond what you can afford, making a car accident claim can help you get your medical bills paid out of any settlement so you are not left with debt caused by the fault of a third-party. The defendant might try to blame your pain or other symptoms on your age, your body mass index, or anything else in your medical history. If possible, your lawyer will use your medical records (including records that exist before the wreck) to prove your injuries were a direct result of the car crash. If there is still ambiguity, your lawyer can bring in a medical expert witness, that is, a doctor who has never treated you but is interpreting your records based purely on his or her expertise, to support what your doctors say about your injuries and how the wreck caused those injuries.
Have You Experienced a Personal Injury in Kansas City?
If you've experienced a Kansas City personal injury, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation.