Many people return home after a car accident feeling shaken and exhausted but thankful to be alive and ready to put the incident behind them. Unfortunately, gratitude soon turns to fear and frustration as the full extent of their injuries shows, forcing them to undergo diagnostic testing and unforeseen medical treatment. Even a minor accident can result in weeks of painful physical rehabilitation, sleepless nights from psychological trauma, and financial difficulty due to the inability to work. When this happens, victims have the right to seek compensation from the negligent person who caused their suffering.

What Victims Need to Know After a Car Accident Results in an Injury

Victims only have a limited time to file a lawsuit after an accident. In Missouri, victims must file a civil suit within five years of the accident date or three years from the date of death if the accident caused a fatal injury. In Kansas, victims must bring a lawsuit within two years from the date of the crash. If the deadline is missed, the judge can refuse to hear the case—forever barring victims from recovering compensation. 

It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after a crash. Vital evidence such as witnesses, road conditions, surveillance tapes, wrecked vehicles, and debris at the scene usually starts to disappear within hours of an accident, and an attorney will be able to gather and preserve evidence in your case. The experienced car accident lawyers at Foster Wallace will work diligently on building your case while you take the time you need to heal. We do not collect any payment from you until after your case is won.

We advise clients after severe car accidents involving:

  • kansas city car accident attorneysSpeeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Complicated roadways
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Teen drivers
  • Elderly drivers
  • Hit-and-run incidents
  • Rear-end collisions
  • Head-on crashes
  • Side-impact collisions
  • Multi-vehicle pileups

Who Can Be Held Liable for the Costs of a Car Accident?

While victims can hold an at-fault driver responsible for the costs of a crash, their ability to collect compensation is determined by state injury laws. Missouri subscribes to a comparative fault system for car accident injuries, meaning the at-fault driver is liable for the damages. However, compensation is reduced by the victim's percentage of fault. 

On the other hand, Kansas follows a no-fault car accident system, meaning each driver pays for their injuries under their own insurance. Kansas injury victims can only file a lawsuit against at-fault drivers for medical bills, lost income, or pain and suffering if their injuries are considered life-changing or have caused extreme financial difficulty.

Of course, drivers are not the only people who may be held liable for the costs of a crash. Under Missouri law, some third parties may bear legal responsibility for the accident, including:

  • City and state governments. Each municipality is responsible for maintaining its roadways, including filling potholes, installing traffic control devices, and posting signs to warn drivers of hazardous conditions. If a governmental entity could be held liable for the costs of your crash, you must give written notice to the mayor within 90 days of the occurrence to claim damages. While these cases are more complicated due to the government's ability to claim sovereign immunity, our attorneys have experience negotiating with governmental entities.
  • Government contractors. Cities and counties often outsource their road and highway maintenance duties, extending liability to construction companies, groundskeepers, engineers, architects, and road design firms. We can determine whether a contractor failed to take necessary safety measures and intervene before the government or company attempts to avoid liability by fixing the issue or making temporary repairs.
  • Bars and restaurants. Missouri law allows people injured by drunk drivers to seek compensation from the entity that over-served alcohol to the driver. Under the "dram shop" law, any restaurant or bar that serves alcohol by the drink may be liable for a driver's actions if its bartender knowingly served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person.
  • Auto manufacturers. Many car accidents result from vehicle defects, such as flaws in the vehicle design, faulty auto parts or systems, defective tires, poor installation or construction, and other forms of manufacturer negligence. Similarly, the maker of specific vehicle components (such as airbags, tires, brakes, steering systems, or engines) may be liable for injuries caused by their defective products.

Catastrophic Car Accident Injuries

Motor vehicle crashes can cause devastating injuries that impact victims' lives in the long term. When you can't just walk away from a collision because your injuries are too severe, you need to contact a car accident lawyer to build your claim for damages as soon as possible. Some of the types of injuries we typically see in our car accident clients include:

  • Traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can happen even when the driver's or passenger's head does not hit a hard surface in the vehicle. The impact of a collision can cause the occupant's head to whip back and forth, rattling the brain in the skull. A severe brain injury can lead to permanent cognitive impairment, loss of motor control, and personality changes. 
  • Broken bones. Fractures are not uncommon in violent car crashes, such as if the victim is pinned up against a hard surface or is thrown from the vehicle. Common fractures include the pelvis, collar bone, hip bones, wrists, and forearms, all of which are difficult bones to heal.
  • Spinal cord injuries. A devastating spinal cord injury can cause paralysis from the point of trauma down through the rest of the body. A person’s life will be forever changed if they’re left paralyzed after a car crash, and they will need therapy, rehabilitation, and daily support for the rest of their lives.
  • Cuts and lacerations. Shattered glass and flying debris can cause scratches that leave permanent scars in visible areas, such as the face. These kinds of disfigurement injuries are considered life-altering and should be compensated accordingly.
  • Back and neck injuries. Even when the spinal cord and brain are not injured, a collision can cause severe damage to the back and neck, causing chronic pain, mobility issues, and years of physical therapy and pain management.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A violent crash can be emotionally devastating for those who experience it. Many car accident victims suffer for years afterward with PTSD and require ongoing counseling and medication to manage their anxiety and depression.

As your lawyers, Foster Wallace will work closely with your doctors to determine the full extent of your injuries and the long-term and permanent effects of the crash. We do this to ensure you get the compensation you will need to recover as fully as possible. 

Types of Damages You Could Collect After a Successful Injury Claim

The team at Foster Wallace will leave no stone unturned in seeking total compensation for your losses following a catastrophic crash in Kansas or Missouri. At a minimum, we will seek compensation for your:

  • Medical bills. The at-fault driver’s insurance policy should cover every visit to a hospital or doctor related to the crash. We will make sure we have documentation of every penny of medical care.
  • Long-term treatment. If you require ongoing treatment, such as physical therapy, rehabilitation, psychological counseling, and more, these costs should also be factored into your compensation.
  • Lost wages. Many car accident victims cannot work while recovering from their injuries. You should not have to use your paid time off for this purpose.
  • Lost earning capacity. You could be owed compensation for loss of earning capacity if you cannot return to work or will likely never make the same wages again.
  • Pain and suffering. Non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional suffering, and loss of connection with loved ones can also be factored into a compensation demand letter or lawsuit. 
  • Wrongful death. If a loved one died in a car accident, survivors could hold the negligent driver accountable through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Every car accident claim is unique, and we provide our clients with the personal attention they deserve after a devastating car crash. We will assess your losses and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

We Help Car Accident Victims Across Kansas and Missouri

Our car accident lawyers are available to help clients throughout Kansas and Missouri. We are licensed and experienced in both states. Please contact us today if you have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a car crash that was not your fault. We serve the following towns:

Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Car Accident?

If you've been hurt in a Kansas City car accident you need to speak with an attorney at Foster Wallace as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at (816) 249-2101 to schedule your free consultation.  

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Date published: 04/26/2019 
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