Archive for May, 2013

Important Steps to Preserve Your Missouri Car Accident Claim [Part II]

Friday, May 17th, 2013

This is Part II of our blog providing guidance to those involved in Missouri car accidents, which is intended to assist injury victims in avoiding conduct that may compromise their personal injury lawsuit.  While most people are shaken emotionally during a collision, it can be critically important to keep one’s head and focus on certain tasks to ensure that mistakes do not come back to haunt you later.

Insurance companies know that the probability of evading financial responsibility for the negligent conduct of their insured or minimizing exposure is more easily accomplished when dealing with an unrepresented party.  When you deal with an insurance adjuster, the experience, resources and legal knowledge is all on the side of the insurance company that may handle thousands of insurance claims each year.  While car accident victims in Missouri should seek prompt legal advice, we have provided some additional suggestions for ways to preserve the value of your personal injury claim.

Presume You Are Under Surveillance: Some insurance companies will hire private investigators to watch plaintiffs and take pictures that contain potentially damaging information.  The insurance company investigator might get pictures of you lifting and moving boxes, for example, so that the insurer can claim that you are lying or distorting the seriousness of a back injury.  It is important to remember that sometimes video footage without audio or context can be very misleading.  The lifting may be the product of considerable effort and pain.  Alternatively, you may just be having a “good day.”  The key point is that you should be aware of the possibility you are being monitored and consider how activities might be perceived by juries when depicted in their worst light.

Carefully Screen Missouri Car Accident Lawyers: While any licensed attorney can represent you, this does not mean that all lawyers are equally qualified and experienced.  When selecting a personal injury lawyer to handle your motor vehicle accident claim, you should look for a firm that devotes a significant portion of their practice to personal injury cases.  It is also worth asking about results in other cases including both trial verdicts and settlements.  While the bulk of car accident claims will settle prior to trial, insurance companies may be more motivated in settlement negotiations when they know that a law firm is willing and prepared to proceed to trial.

Avoid Signing Anything without Legal Advice:  Some Missouri car accident victims are surprised to receive a settlement offer from the other driver’s insurance company or requests for documents to “facilitate” such a settlement.  These are misleading tactics that have nothing to do with fairly compensating you for your injuries.  Insurance companies make money by settling claims for less than their value or denying claims completely.  When the insurance company offers you a settlement check, it typically will be accompanied by a general release of liability that will extinguish all legal claims even those related to injuries that you do not know exist when you sign the agreement.  The fact the insurance company is offering you the settlement fairly quickly and while you do not have legal representation essentially amounts to an acknowledgement the insurance company knows your claim is worth considerably more than the insurer is offering.  Further, any document you sign will promote the best interest of the insurance company so you should not sign anything without the legal advice of a knowledgeable Missouri car accident attorney.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri auto collision, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri DUI car accident injury attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP work diligently to obtain financial compensation for our clients’ injuries so contact us toll free at (877) 535-1163 to see how we can help!

Important Steps to Preserve Your Missouri Car Accident Claim [Part I]

Friday, May 10th, 2013

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision while driving in Missouri, you may have a difficult time concentrating on preserving evidence and protecting your liability claim because you are stressed out and suffering from debilitating pain.  However, the conduct of an auto accident victim in the immediate aftermath a collision can have a significant impact on the success of a personal injury lawsuit both in terms of obtaining a judgment and maximizing the amount of the monetary recovery.  Most people involved in motor vehicle accidents do not anticipate that they will need to think about filing a claim so it is easy to make a critical mistake.  Our experienced Missouri car accident attorney at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP have provided some tips for how to proceed in the aftermath of a car accident.

Medical Treatment of Injuries: Many Missouri auto accident victims underestimate the severity of the injuries they suffer.  Because they experience what appears to be nothing more than minor symptoms, these accident victims either delay seeking medical attention or sometimes do not seek a physician at all.  This can be a devastating mistake both in terms of one’s health and personal injury recovery.  When prompt medical treatment and diagnostic analysis is not obtained, the medical outcome for the personal injury victim can be compromised.  An example might include internal bleeding where the severity of the injury only becomes obvious after time elapses.  Because insurance companies often defend car accident lawsuits by claiming that the injuries are being overstated or that the injuries originate from a cause other than the collision, the decision to obtain prompt medical care can help build a foundation for your personal injury lawsuit.

Avoiding the Loss of Evidence: While the police will investigate a car accident and prepare a law enforcement accident report, the accident report does not always accurately document all of the facts or provide an accurate conclusion about liability or fault.  Our Missouri car accident lawyers do not simply accept the conclusions of the accident report but look at the evidence with “fresh eyes.”  We consider key facts like the position of the vehicles, vehicle damage, skid marks and other evidence to determine the best way to effectively represent our clients.  If you get witnesses contact information, take photos with your cell phone and jot down notes about key information, our attorneys who work closely with accident reconstruction experts can analyze this information to develop persuasive theories of liability.

Do Not Discuss Your Case: We live in an age where people live very public lives, which include posting even mundane events on social media sites like Facebook.  When you are involved in personal injury litigation, the best practice is not to discuss your car accident claim with anyone with the exception of your attorney.  If you post information on your Facebook page, you should presume that the other driver’s insurance company will see these posts and exploit the information to harm your case if possible.  A growing number of injury victims have seen their injury lawsuits compromised by social media posts.  If the other driver’s insurance company attempts to contact you or obtain a statement, you should not speak to the insurance company directly or agree to a recorded statement.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri drunken driving accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri DUI car accident injury attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP work diligently to obtain financial compensation for our clients’ injuries so contact us toll free at (877) 535-1163 to see how we can help!