Seeking Compensation After a Car Accident in Missouri or Kansas
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.
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.
Our Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
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:
- 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.
What Happens if The Person At Fault in an Accident Has No Insurance?
As personal injury attorneys at Foster Wallace, LLC, we are frequently asked about various scenarios relating to car accidents. A common question is: “what happens if the person at fault in an accident has no insurance?” Navigating the aftermath of an accident can be stressful, but when the at-fault driver is uninsured, it adds an additional layer of complexity. This article aims to help you understand your options in such circumstances.
Understanding Uninsured Motorist Coverage
While all motorists in both Kansas and Missouri are legally required to carry auto insurance, some drivers are driving around uninsured or let their insurance policy lapse by not paying their premiums. Luckily, both Kansas and Missouri law requires insurance companies to offer uninsured motorist coverage as part of their policies. This type of coverage protects you if you are involved in an accident with an at-fault driver who does not have insurance. Uninsured motorist coverage typically compensates for bodily injury, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, it generally does not cover property damage.
Making a Claim on Your Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In the event of an accident with an uninsured driver, you will need to make a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist coverage. While this seems straightforward, these types of claims can be complex, and insurance companies often try to minimize payouts. Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can be invaluable in these situations.
Suing the Uninsured Driver
Another option is to sue the uninsured driver for damages. However, this route can be challenging and may not always yield the expected results. Many uninsured drivers lack the financial resources to pay for the damages they have caused, making it difficult for you to receive adequate compensation.
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.
Read One Client's Experience Following Injuries Caused By a Car Accident
"By far the most compassionate lawyer I have ever met or worked with. My son was in a terrible car accident as a passenger, in the initial call, he called me from home, I had no idea what we needed to do, And I didn't need too because Michael knew exactly how to handle everything. Checked on him often, had perfect communication. I could text him any day any time and he would always respond. Got better results than we initially thought. Thank you for treating is like humans and not paychecks!"
Written by: Sarah Barnett
Foster Wallace LLC
5 / 5 stars
Overall rating: ★★★★★ based on over 100 reviews
Contact Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers Michael Foster and Brian Wallace
If you have been injured in a car accident in Kansas or Missouri, you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation. If you're not ready to talk, but still want to learn more about your rights, allow us to mail you a complimentary copy of What Insurance Companies Don't Want You to Know About Your Kansas or Missouri Car Accident Claim.