Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Kansas City Injury Attorneys Offer Motorists Stay Safe Strategies For Roadside Emergencies

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

There are numerous reasons why you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road. A roadside emergency can be anything from a flat tire to having run out of gas, or simply experiencing mechanical problems. No matter the reason for your needing to stop, it is important to keep in mind that the side of the road is not a safe place to hang out. In fact, the shoulder of any roadway can be a very dangerous spot for a motorist. Each year, motorists are killed on the shoulder while waiting for help to arrive. If you ever find yourself experiencing a roadside emergency, keep in my mind these stay safe strategies:

  1. Exit the highway whenever possible. If you are experiencing car trouble on a major highway, you are always safer if you can exit the highway rather than stop on the shoulder. Once you are off of the highway, stay inside your vehicle until help arrives.
  1. Pull completely over. Not only is a car on the side of the road a danger to its occupants, but it also presents a danger to other motorists. However, sometimes, stopping on the side of the road is unavoidable. If you do need to stop on the shoulder of a busy roadway, it is important to make sure that your vehicle is pulled completely off of the main road and onto the shoulder. A car that is even partially in the lane of traffic is a collision waiting to happen. If you are not able to move your vehicle completely onto the shoulder, you need to evaluate whether you should remain in the vehicle. Often the best strategy is to exit the car due to the likelihood that the car could be hit. If it is safe to exit the vehicle, exit out the side of the vehicle that is furthest from traffic, even if that means exiting out the passenger side door. Do not exit your car if traffic does not permit.
  1. Illuminate! Even if your car is completely on the shoulder, it is important that others can see it. At night a car on the shoulder can be near invisible to approaching traffic. Also, emergency vehicles and other motorists use the shoulder as well. The best way to make sure your vehicle is visible to others is to turn on your lights or flashers. Flares, which motorists should keep in their emergency roadside kits, are also useful for this purpose as well.
  1. Call for help. A car on the side of the road is much like a sitting duck. So as soon as you realize that you cannot or should not re-enter traffic, call for help. Sometimes, handy motorists are tempted to forgo calling for roadside assistance or a tow-truck, preferring instead to try to change a tire or conduct other maintenance themselves. Since hanging around outside of your vehicle next to the road is not safe, please resist the urge to do so.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries after being involved in a collision, it is important to contact a skilled Kansas City Injury Attorney who can protect your rights! The experienced Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. having been helping accident victims in Kansas and Missouri for almost two decades. Our seasoned Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys work hard to make sure that you receive proper compensation for your injuries. Trust the Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. to help you, just as they have helped countless injured victims in the area. To find out how the attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can work for you, contact our office today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation.

Tendency of Elderly Drivers to Avoid High Risk Behavior Prevents Car Accidents

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Although negative stereotypes about elderly drivers persist, a fair amount of evidence seems to debunk the notion that younger drivers are safer than elderly motorists.  A number of studies indicate that the experience, caution, and judgment that comes with age might trump age-related declines in vision, reflexes, and mental acuity.  Admittedly, advanced age can have an adverse impact on mental and physical driving ability, but age-related traffic safety data indicates that the aging U.S. population does not necessarily mean a rise in motor vehicle accident rates or fatalities.

Multiple studies suggests that traditional assumptions about the relationship between aging and driving ability might not tell the whole story.  Empirical research from a range of studies indicates a number of age-related factors that reduce the risk of crashes involving seniors when compared to young drivers.  The tendency of elderly drivers to avoid high risk behavior is one of the most significant.

While there are many factors that contribute to auto accidents, the most significant cause involves high risk driving behavior.  Two of the most prominent forms of risky driving involve substance impairment and distracted driving.  Alcohol and drug impaired drivers account for approximately one in three traffic fatalities per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Although distractions like mobile phones do not claim as many lives, distracted driving is perhaps the fastest growing cause of injuries and deaths in vehicle collisions.

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that elderly drivers are far less likely than younger motorists to engage in high risk driving practices like distracted driving.  While more than eight in ten drivers (82 percent) between the ages of 25 and 39 admitted to talking on their mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle, a mere 34 percent of drivers over the age of 75 affirmed that they engaged in this type of multi-tasking.  Similarly, a survey conducted by State Farm found that nearly half (48 percent) of drivers between the age of 18 and 29 confirmed using their phone to surf the web while driving.  By contrast, this extremely dangerous driving behavior is almost unheard of among elderly drivers.  Approximately 98 percent of older drivers in the AAA study denied ever using a portable electronic device to search the Internet while operating a motor vehicle.

Older drivers also tend to avoid other high risk driving behaviors that cause car accidents.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that almost one-fourth (24 percent) of drivers between the ages of 21 and 64 who were involved in a fatal car accident had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent.  Among drivers over the age of 64, the number of drivers involved in a fatal crash with a BAC over the legal limit for drunk driving was only 7 percent.

Seniors over the age of 65 are less prone than younger drivers to engage in other high risk driving practices according to the CDC.  While 34 percent of drivers under the age of 65 who are involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a seat belt, only 24 percent of elderly drivers involved in deadly crashes were not buckled up.  Elderly drivers also limit their driving at night and in adverse weather conditions when compared to younger drivers.

If you or a loved one suffers injury in a motor vehicle accident caused by a careless driver, you might be entitled to compensation.  Our experienced Kansas City Accident Attorneys at Hubbard and Kurtz L.L.P. have over 80 years of collective legal experience.  We offer a free consultation to evaluate your case, so we invite you to call us today at 877-535-1163 or email us to schedule a time to discuss your auto accident claim.

 

Tendency of Elderly Drivers to Avoid High Risk Behavior Prevents Car Accidents

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Although negative stereotypes about elderly drivers persist, a fair amount of evidence seems to debunk the notion that younger drivers are safer than elderly motorists.  A number of studies indicate that the experience, caution, and judgment that comes with age might trump age-related declines in vision, reflexes, and mental acuity.  Admittedly, advanced age can have an adverse impact on mental and physical driving ability, but age-related traffic safety data indicates that the aging U.S. population does not necessarily mean a rise in motor vehicle accident rates or fatalities.

Multiple studies suggests that traditional assumptions about the relationship between aging and driving ability might not tell the whole story.  Empirical research from a range of studies indicates a number of age-related factors that reduce the risk of crashes involving seniors when compared to young drivers.  The tendency of elderly drivers to avoid high risk behavior is one of the most significant.

While there are many factors that contribute to auto accidents, the most significant cause involves high risk driving behavior.  Two of the most prominent forms of risky driving involve substance impairment and distracted driving.  Alcohol and drug impaired drivers account for approximately one in three traffic fatalities per year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Although distractions like mobile phones do not claim as many lives, distracted driving is perhaps the fastest growing cause of injuries and deaths in vehicle collisions.

A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that elderly drivers are far less likely than younger motorists to engage in high risk driving practices like distracted driving.  While more than eight in ten drivers (82 percent) between the ages of 25 and 39 admitted to talking on their mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle, a mere 34 percent of drivers over the age of 75 affirmed that they engaged in this type of multi-tasking.  Similarly, a survey conducted by State Farm found that nearly half (48 percent) of drivers between the age of 18 and 29 confirmed using their phone to surf the web while driving.  By contrast, this extremely dangerous driving behavior is almost unheard of among elderly drivers.  Approximately 98 percent of older drivers in the AAA study denied ever using a portable electronic device to search the Internet while operating a motor vehicle.

Older drivers also tend to avoid other high risk driving behaviors that cause car accidents.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that almost one-fourth (24 percent) of drivers between the ages of 21 and 64 who were involved in a fatal car accident had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent.  Among drivers over the age of 64, the number of drivers involved in a fatal crash with a BAC over the legal limit for drunk driving was only 7 percent.

Seniors over the age of 65 are less prone than younger drivers to engage in other high risk driving practices according to the CDC.  While 34 percent of drivers under the age of 65 who are involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a seat belt, only 24 percent of elderly drivers involved in deadly crashes were not buckled up.  Elderly drivers also limit their driving at night and in adverse weather conditions when compared to younger drivers.

If you or a loved one suffers injury in a motor vehicle accident caused by a careless driver, you might be entitled to compensation.  Our experienced Kansas City Car Accident Lawyers at Hubbard and Kurtz L.L.P. have over 80 years of collective legal experience.  We offer a free consultation to evaluate your case, so we invite you to call us today at 877-535-1163 or email us to schedule a time to discuss your auto accident claim.

 

Kansas City Injury Attorneys Ask: Is Your Kansas City Teen Well Equipped to Drive?

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Being a parent is a tough job. However, being a parent of a teenager can be just plain scary. Part of the reason why parenting a teen is so rough is because teens no longer see themselves as children. Teens want to jump into adulthood and try new things. But as a parent, you still want to hold them back a little to keep them safe. Often the most frightening time to parent a teen is when he or she is ready to receive their driver’s license. For any teenager, a driver’s license is still the ultimate symbol of freedom.

Unfortunately, teenagers are often blissfully unaware of the realities that they could potentially face behind the wheel. For example, does your teenager realize that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds in the United States? In fact, more than 2,600 teenage drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2013 and approximately 130,000 were injured.

These statistics are why it is so important for parents to talk to their teens about safe driving habits. Just like you taught your son or daughter to ride a bike the correct way, the same conversation needs to happening about being a safe driver. However, the sad fact is that many parents are not having these types of conversations with their teens. In fact, in a survey only 1 in 4 parents reported having had a serious conversation with their teenage driver about the key components of safe driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA) has identified 5 key components that are critical to making sure teen drivers are safe behind the wheel. Parents can use these “5 rules to drive” as a checklist when talking to their teen. The 5 rules are as follows:

  1. No cell phone usage. The most dangerous thing to any driver is to try to multi-task while behind the wheel. Parents needs to stress to teens that using a cell phone to talk or text should never be done when driving. Parents can help by modeling this same behavior.
  2. Must wear a safety belt. Stress to your teen the importance of wearing a seat belt every time he or she is in a car, regardless of whether he or she is the driver or a passenger. More than half of 15 to 20 years old killed in car crashes were not wearing safety belts.
  3. No speeding. In more than 40% of fatal crashes involving 15 to 20 year olds, speed was a crash factor.
  4. No passengers. While it may be fun for a teen to drive with friends in the car, it is just not safe. Teen drivers who have one passenger riding with them are 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors than teenage drivers without passengers.
  5. Drive sober. While the legal driving limit may be 21 in all states, that does not mean teens do not experiment with alcohol. In fact, close to 30% of teens killed in fatal accidents had been drinking alcohol.

If your teenage son or daughter was seriously injured or killed in a car accident, the experienced Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. are here to help. Our skilled team of Kansas City Injury Attorneys will take all of necessary steps to ensure that justice is served. You can trust the Kansas City Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. to help you as they have helped countless injury victims around the area, in both Kansas and Missouri. Our attorneys will fight to make sure you’re your rights are protected and that your family receives proper compensation. We invite you to contact Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule an initial consultation. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. you are a priority, not a number.

 

 

Kansas City Accident Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions About Distracted Driving

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

We are quickly becoming a nation of multi-taskers. In very few aspects of our lives, are we allowed to focus on completing just one task at a time.  Rather, we are always trying to juggle several tasks at once. However, the inherent problem with multi-tasking is that our energy is being divided between at least two different tasks. This means that we cannot pay simultaneous attention to two separate tasks at the same time and thus mistakes are bound to happen. That is why distracted driving is such a problem. If you are unsure as to what distracted driving is, and why it is such a problem, you need to become informed. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions motorists have about distracted driving:

What is distracted driving and why is it a problem?

A driver is considered to be a “distracted driver” when he or she is engaged in a task that takes his or her focus away from driving. Tasks can be visually distracting (eyes off the road), manually distracting (at least one hand not on the steering wheel) and/or cognitively distracting (mind not engaged on driving). Not only are distracted drivers less able to respond appropriately to other drivers and/or obstacles on the road, they also are the cause of accidents.

How is eating or drinking less dangerous than using a cell phone to talk or text?

Distracted driving of any type is dangerous. However, cell phone usage is especially dangerous because of the number of ways it impairs a driver. For example, drinking a cup of coffee physically impairs a driver in that the driver cannot have two hands on the steering wheel, since one hand is holding the cup of coffee. In contrast, when a driver uses a cell phone to text, the driver is impaired in all three areas of distraction. He or she is not only holding the phone with his or her hand, he or she is also using their eyes to look at the screen and thinking about the message to send or the words he or she is saying.

Hands-free devices make talking on a cell phone while driving safer, right?

In some states where cell phone usage is prohibited while driving, using a hands-free device is allowed. While hands-free devices do keep a driver’s hands on the wheel, the biggest problem is that the driver’s brain is still not 100% focused on the task of driving. When a driver is using a cell phone his or her mind is focused on the conversation he or she is having and therefore, the driver is not able to devote his or her full attention to the road.

How large of a problem is distracted driving?

According to the government website distraction.gov, it is estimated that more than 660,000 drivers are using a hand-held cell phone at any given time during daylight hours. Moreover, according to data collected by The National Safety Council, approximately 1 in 4 accidents involve a driver that was using a cell phone to talk or text.

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries after being involved in an accident with a distracted driver, the experienced Kansas City Accident Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help. Our team of seasoned Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys will make sure that your rights are protected. We will fight hard to make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Trust the Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. to help you, just as they have helped countless injured victims around the area, both in Kansas and Missouri. To find out how the attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help you, call our office today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule a consultation. At Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. we look forward to providing injury victims with exceptional legal services.

Will Higher Penalties Make For Safer Vehicles?

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

Earlier this month, General Motors was slapped with a record-setting thirty five million dollar fine from the United States Department of Transportation. The fine resulted from the company’s failure to report a safety defect which has caused at least thirteen deaths to date. According to the United States Transportation Secretary, General Motors became aware of a defect in the ignition switch in the 2005 to 2010 Chevy Cobalt as early as 2009, but they never reported it. The defective switch can cause the vehicle to turn off while the driver is driving it down the road, creating a dangerous situation which could result in an accident.

Automakers are required to report safety defects within five days of discovering them, in addition to immediately recalling vehicles which do not meet federal safety standards. Over two million vehicles have been recalled because of the ignition switch defect. Models included in the recall include the Chevy Cobalt, Chevy HHR, Pontiac G5, Saturn Ion, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky.

While a thirty five million dollar fine may seem quite large, its status as the highest ever civil penalty arising from an automobile recall may not last for long. President Obama has proposed a new penalty scheme, which would increase the maximum fine to three hundred million dollars. The aim of the increased penalties is to encourage automakers to report defects as soon as they discover them, so that vehicles can be recalled before lives are lost. It will remain to be seen whether the increased penalty scheme, if it is signed into law, has the desired effect of getting automakers to take swift action to protect consumers whenever they discover safety defects.

The families of three people who died as a result of being involved in accidents while driving or riding in vehicles which had the defective ignition switch have filed wrongful death lawsuits against General Motors in both its pre and post-bankruptcy forms, Delphi Automotive Systems, and GM dealerships. The defect in the ignition switch, which was manufactured by Delphi Automotive Systems, is such a major safety issue because it can cause the car to lose power while it is being driven, and it can also prevent the airbags from working properly in the event of an accident.

The Chevy Cobalt tragedy serves as a reminder that the corporations which manufacture the things that we use every day do not always act with the level of care and concern for our safety that they should. If someone that you love has died as the result of the negligence, misconduct, or recklessness of a person or a company, you may be able to recover for your loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. When your family experiences a tragic loss due to a wrongful death, it is only natural to desire to hold the people or companies who caused your loss responsible for your actions. A Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorney can answer any questions that you may have about pursuing a claim for damages resulting from a wrongful death. If your family has suffered such a loss, it is important that you seek assistance right away so that you can file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out.

The experienced Kansas City Wrongful Death Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. help clients from throughout the region, including St. Joseph, Independence, Lees Summit, Columbia, Warrensburg, Overland Park, Olathe, Atchison, Lawrence, Topeka, and many other Kansas and Missouri communities. Please call us today, at (816) 472- 4673 to arrange for an initial consultation.

 

Distracted Driving Remains a Serious Threat in Missouri

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

A person traveling in a vehicle may not even realize that they are driving while distracted.  It is normal to reach for that travel mug with the necessary caffeine to jump start the day or to surf the satellite options, looking for the right song.  As typical as these behaviors are, when a driver takes his focus off the road, whether that it his visual or mental attention, the risks of getting into a serious accident increase tremendously.  When the distraction is even more involved, such as taking a “selfie” and updating a social networking site, the consequences can be deadly.

In the news recently was the tragic story of a young woman who wanted to tell the world that she was in a great mood.  That impulse was so strong that she did not want to wait until she arrived at her destination to broadcast her update.  Unfortunately, this decision resulted in a fatal car accident.  While driving to work in North Carolina, this woman crossed the center section and collided with a recycling truck.  There was no evidence that speed, alcohol, or drugs were an issue in this crash.  The woman’s friends alerted authorities to the near simultaneous posts and crash times.  In this case, only the driver who was on the Internet while driving was killed, but many distracted driving accidents result in more than one victim.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving leads to ten percent of fatal traffic crashes and 18 percent of accidents that result in injuries.  According to the NHTSA’s recent Distracted Driving Safety Facts sheet, 16 percent of all accidents involve distracted driving.  In 2012, this resulted in more than 3,300 fatalities and 421,000 injuries.  Young drivers, ages 15 to 19 years, are involved in the greatest number of distracted driving crashes.

Distracted driving, which is included as a subset of inattentive (fatigue, emotional or physical conditions, etc.) driving by some researchers, includes many different behaviors.  Part of the problem is that most drivers do not think about the many of the following circumstances as a distraction to be avoided:

  • Eating in the car – drive-thrus were created for the propensity of people to multi-task, but this leads to a serious loss of focus;
  • Looking at the billboards – they were designed to catch drivers’ attention and they are affective;
  • Daydreaming – when traveling the same route for years, many people will zone out in their commute, but this distraction could have severe consequences;
  • Bringing your pet in the car – while pet owners may be committed to giving their animals as much time as possible, a loose pet can distract a driver at a critical moment;
  • Checking the directions on the GPS – as a way to get where a person is going, GPS devices are wonderful, but when a person picks it up to review the map, it could delay permanently getting to the desired destination;
  • Paying attention to the children in the backseat – when a parent is watching what his kids are doing, he is not paying attention to the stopped traffic in front of him;
  • Applying makeup or fixing hair – traveling at 65 miles per hour is not the right time to make certain that a person is camera-ready;
  • Using electronic devices – this is what most people think of when distracted driving is discussed.

Distracted driving leads to tragic accidents that are entirely preventable but for the negligence of the driver. 

A serious accident that results injuries always is traumatic for the victims.  When the crash was caused by the negligence of another person, it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can get the compensation that you deserve for the harm that you suffered.  The experienced Missouri Car Accident Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP are ready to advocate on your behalf.  Call us at (877) 535-1163 so we can discuss what happened to you and develop an effective legal strategy.

Traumatic Brain Injuries are a Serious Consequence of Missouri Accidents

Friday, February 28th, 2014

There are many terrible consequences of a car accident or other horrific event, but a victim who suffers from traumatic brain injury following an accident endures some of the most debilitating pain and challenging recoveries.  A traumatic brain injury results from an impact to the head that occurs in a fall or an impact event.  The two categories of traumatic brain injury (often referred to as TBI) are:

  • A penetrating injury: An injury that involves an intrusion into the brain area by a foreign object.  The damage occurs along the path of penetration as well as the final impact point.  These types of injuries may be caused by a bullet or shrapnel, as well as an object forced into the brain during a serious car accident, including parts of the metal car frame.
  • A closed head injury: When there is an impact to the head, the brain may be jarred inside the skull, causing damage to the brain tissue.  This can happen in a fall where the person strikes his head or a car accident, when the victim’s head strikes the steering wheel, window, or dashboard.

In the United States, there are 1.7 million victims who suffer from a TBI each year.  These serious injuries can lead to death, but if the damage to the tissue is not too severe, the person may recover over time.  Many accident victims suffer from the consequences of a TBI for the remainder of their lives after the time of the injury.  Falls result in the greatest number of TBIs each year with motor vehicle accidents coming in second at seventeen percent (17%).  However, vehicle accidents result in the highest percentage of fatalities from TBIs.

The nature of the injury means that there are many immediate signs of trauma, including:

  • Intracranial pressure that can have devastating consequences if not treated immediately (this pressure build-up leads to many deaths from TBIs);
  • Swelling of the brain itself;
  • Hematomas;
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders;
  • Anemia;
  • Cardiac abnormalities; and
  • Behavioral changes.

The long-term effects on the victim of a TBI may include debilitating pain and severe headaches, loss of muscle control impacting movement and coordination, vision, hearing, or speech impairment or loss, emotional turmoil, and cognitive impairment.  A child who suffers from a TBI may not be able to return to the educational program that he or she attended before the accident.  He may need adaptive technology, round-the-clock assistance, modifications to the home and family vehicle, and intensive medical rehabilitation.  These specialized, and expensive, requirements may be necessary for the rest of the child’s life, meaning that there must be funds available to provide the appropriate level of care after the parents are no longer able to care for the child.

An adult with a traumatic brain injury may no longer have the ability to perform the job that he or she held before the accident.  This injury may prevent him from working at all, especially if the tissue damage was extensive and the damage is permanent.  Family members may have to give up a career, or take reduced hours, in order to provide the type of support that a TBI victim needs, including driving him to medical appointments and providing basic care.  Many times, it is necessary to hire in-home nursing care.  In order to ensure that the victim has the best quality of life possible, even if a return to normal is never possible, it is imperative that the settlement or jury award takes every physical, emotional, and financial need into account.

When you or a loved one has been severely injured in an accident, it is critical to have the right attorneys who understand that it is not merely the suffering of the moment that must be considered, but the long-term consequences of the accident that must be raised before it is too late to recover.  The skilled and caring Missouri Car Accident Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP are dedicated to getting the justice that our clients deserve.  To set up an initial consultation to discuss what happened to you and how we can help, please call us at (877) 535-1163.

 

An Overview of Missouri Auto Accident Cases

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Automobile can accidents can be incredibly traumatic and stressful. The immediate aftermath may not only leave you concerned for your own health and safety, but also for others involved in the accident. Although it is much easier said than done under such unexpected and potentially devastating circumstances, it is important to remain clam, stay focused, and if physically possible, respond appropriately. Taking the necessary and proper steps post-accident will enable you to pursue a more successful legal claim and recover damages for any injuries sustained.

Generally, the law of negligence governs legal claims arising from motor vehicle accidents.  Negligence is the failure to exercise of reasonable care under the circumstances. A driver that negligently operates a vehicle may be liable for damages he/she has caused either to a person or property.  The injured party will be required to prove the defendant’s actions were negligent, and the accident caused his/her injuries.

 Determining which party is at fault in an auto accident is dependent upon who acted negligently.  Regardless of what is believed to have taken place, it is necessary to make a legal determination of fault, citing any rules violated and/or reckless conduct that may have occurred. An experienced attorney with knowledge of the law will help determine who was at fault for your accident and if you have a claim for damages by reviewing evidence such as police reports, state traffic laws, and speaking with witnesses.  When deciding which party acted negligently and is at fault, courts examine several factors, which include, whether a party disobeyed traffic signals or signs, if a driver posted above or below the speed limit, a driver failed to use a signal while turning, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and/or disregarded weather or traffic conditions, to name a few.

Most attorneys view auto accident cases as simple litigation, and an opportunity to collect a recovery quickly. However, cases that involve serious injuries or death can be much more complicated and take longer to recover damages.  Insurance coverage reaches its limits, and cases immediately become complex. Under such circumstances, although recovery many not be maximized, many attorneys often recommend their client accept a settlement.

The following are several basic tips to remember should you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstances of an auto accident:

  • Remain claim and stay at the scene.
  • ·       If possible, call the police, or ask if find a bystander or witness can call.  
  • If you are unharmed and qualified, try to render first aid to others involved. It is very important to note that should not move any injured persons unless their life is in immediate danger.
  • If traffic permits, keep vehicles in their original positions from the aftermath of the accident. Try and move as little as possible from the scene.
  • If you are injured and immobile, stay in your car. If you are injured at all, seek medical attention at the scene.
  • Do not speak with anyone at the scene or admit responsibility, unless you are seeking help or relaying the events to a police officer.
  • Try and gather as much information as you can about the accident while you are at the scene.  Be sure to take notes about traffic, weather conditions, photos, etc. Most importantly, make sure to get all names, addresses and phone numbers of every party involved, as well as license plate numbers and insurance information of all drivers.  

Generally, either a police officer or crash unit will investigate an auto accident. The police officer will interview all parties involved and take statements from witnesses at the scene.  Once the investigation has been completed, the police officer will issue a formal report on the accident, and if relevant, criminal charges pursued.

If you are involved in an auto accident in Missouri and have questions about pursuing a personal injury claim, contact The Law Offices of Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. now at (816) 472-HOPE (4673). Our staff of experienced personal injury attorneys will help to ensure your claim is handled successfully!

How Insurance Carriers Determine The Value Of An Injury Claim

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Making a determination of the monetary value of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident is a significant aspect of any personal injury claim.  Oftentimes, it is the most difficult part of a claim to establish, and varies depending on the circumstances. The following is an overview of how insurance companies assess the value of an injury claim.

To determine what a claim is worth, and what an insurance company must compensate for, the types of damages must be ascertained. Typically, a person who is at fault in an accident must pay the injured person for any damages sustained, which is usually covered by his/her liability insurance company.  Such damages include, but are not limited to, medical care and related expenses, permanent physical disability or disfigurement, damaged property, income lost due to the accident, missed experiences and lost opportunities, and emotional damages, for example, stress, embarrassment, anxiety, and/or depression, to name a few.

Generally, when determining the actual amount of compensation owed, for the most part, it is the equivalent of adding up the money spent and money lost. However, in cases involving pain and suffering, or missed experiences and lost opportunities, there is not a precise way to equate a dollar figure with the nature of such damages.  For this reason, as a way of coming up with a consistent, justifiable, and fair amount, insurance companies implement a standard damages formula to establish a final figure.

In the initial stages of claims negotiations, an insurance adjuster will calculate the overall medical costs associated with the injury, often referred to as specials or medical special damages.  This number is the base figure the adjuster uses to determine the amount of compensation to pay the injured person for pain and suffering, and/or other nonmonetary losses, also known as general damages.  When the injuries sustained are relatively minor, the amount of what is considered special damages, are multiplied by 1.5 or 2. When the injuries are serious, or more permanent, the adjuster multiplies the amount of special damages by up to 5.  In extreme cases, the multiplier may be as great as 10. Before the generalized amount of damages are deduced, if relevant, the adjuster adds on any income lost as a result of the injuries.  Keep in mind this generalized figure is not a final compensation amount, but only a number which the insurance company will begin negotiations with.

The extent of each person’s fault, otherwise known as percentage of fault, is the most critical factor affecting the amount an insurance company is likely to pay. The damages formula explained above indicates the extent of how much your injuries might be worth, however, only after a determination of fault is concluded, will the actual value of your compensation claim be resolute, and thus the insurance company will pay you.

In conclusion, there is no exact science when determining fault for an auto accident. With most claims, it will not be difficult to ascertain whether the insured person was entirely at fault, or if the injured party is to blame as well.  In situations involving comparative fault, where both parties are partially liable, regardless of the percentage of fault by either party, the damages formula amount will be reduced by the injured party’s percentage of liability to arrive at a final figure of compensation. Cases regarded as relatively successful, the insurance carrier pay out will encompass the full amount of your expenses, and make you whole again financially. On the other hand, where the initial settlement offer is inadequate, go back and speak with the claims adjuster, they may be willing to negotiate an increased amount.  If you are unable to reach an agreement with the adjuster on a final amount, you may have other legal options to pursue, such as speaking with an adjuster’s supervisor, mediation, arbitration, or small claims court.

If you are involved in a Missouri personal injury claim and seeking legal advice, contact the law firm of Hubbard & Kurtz at (816) 472-HOPE (4673). Our experienced staff of attorneys will assist you with any legal questions or concerns you have that are associated with an auto accident claim.

If you are involved in an auto accident in Missouri and seeking legal advice or representation, contact The Law Offices of Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. at (816) 472-HOPE (4673) today! The firm’s extensive knowledge and experience with personal injury law will help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.