Archive for the ‘Kansas City auto accident’ Category

Loss of Physical and Mental Driving Skills Increases the Risk of Collisions Involving Elderly Motorists

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Many elderly drivers exercise a high degree of caution and diligence behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  However, data suggests it is important to more closely monitor elderly loved ones who continue driving.  A study conducted by Carnegie Melon University found that drivers who are over the age of 85 have a 400% greater chance of dying in a car accident than inexperienced teen drivers.  The study also revealed that drivers between the ages of 75 and 85 have the same likelihood of being involved in a fatal car accident as teen drivers between the ages of 16-20.  Researchers predict that a growing number of elderly people in the U.S. will mean that 25 percent of all fatal collisions will involve seniors by 2030.  These numbers translate into a 73 percent increase over today’s traffic fatality rates for elderly motorists.

Certainly, many elderly motorists continue to remain safe and attentive even at the later stages in their lives.  However, an older driver’s sensory skills, physical abilities, and cognitive functioning can decline with age, which creates the following increased accident risks:

  • Hearing declines making it harder to hear horns, sirens, and motorcycles.
  • Poor vision can make it difficult to see down the road and distort depth perception.
  • Reflexes can be slower and increase the reaction time needed to respond to hazards.
  • Some elderly drivers experience impaired cognitive abilities that affect the decision-making process.

Many of us have ridden with an elderly family member and had a white knuckle ride.  It can be extremely difficult to approach the topic of discontinuing driving with elderly motorists.  Driving is a sign of freedom and independence that many older Kansas drivers have no desire to surrender.  The attempt to take car keys away from a senior citizen can lead to hard feelings and outright refusal.  However, the consequences of not taking action to prevent an elderly motorist with declining driving skills from taking to the road can mean death or serious injury.

If you have a loved one that might represent an unreasonable risk of causing a car accident, there are some approaches that you can take to assist your aging family member in preserving their independence:

  • Set up a buddy system so that a person is always available to ride in the passenger seat
  • Arrange for local van service, which can be prepaid
  • Schedule outings where you or someone else can transport your loved one
  • Make your elderly relative appear at DMV for a behind the wheel driving test and vision exam
  • Ride with your family member periodically so that you can evaluate their driving

Our experienced Kansas City Auto 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 car accident claim.

Types of Damages in Kansas Personal Injury Cases

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Whether you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or a defective product, you are entitled to compensation (called “damages”) for your injuries.  Damages represent a judge or jury’s attempt to value your loss and compensate you for your injuries.  Broadly speaking, the general classification of damages includes compensatory damages (special and general damages) and punitive damages.  The process of calculating damages in any particular lawsuit can be complex.  This blog post provides a general overview of damages in personal injury lawsuits in Kansas.  However, the best way to learn about the types of compensation available in your case is to speak to an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney.

The purpose of compensatory damages is to place the injured victim in the position that he or she would have been if not for the accident.  This might sound straightforward.  However, it can be complicated particularly when calculating a form of loss that is intangible or that involves complex calculations of future lost earnings reduced to present value.  There are certain types of loss for which a person cannot truly be “compensated”, such as a lost sense of safety, freedom from pain, loss of the full use of one’s limbs, or a diminished quality of life.  A skilled Kansas personal injury attorney, sometimes with the help of an economic expert, will help a judge or jury assign a value to such intangible, and in some sense irreplaceable, forms of loss.

Fortunately, many forms of compensatory damages often are reasonably easy to quantify.  “Special damages” in a personal injury lawsuit are also sometimes referred to as “economic damages”.  These include the following:

  • Past and current medical bills
  • Future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitative therapy
  • Property damage (i.e. damage to your vehicle and its contents)
  • Lost wages
  • Lost anticipated future earnings
  • Funeral and burial expenses

“General damages” cover losses that are harder to quantify but often are more substantial.  The loss of the love and support of a family member and the ability to engage in ordinary daily activities are losses that are harder to quantify.  However, the value of such a loss far exceeds the value of mending bones or repairing a motor vehicle.  General damages are designed to address intangible loss of this type, such as:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium (loss of love, emotional support and services of a spouse)
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In some cases, a court does more than try to just compensate an injury victim for his or her loss.  A court may award “punitive damages” to punish or discourage conduct that is particularly egregious.  Kansas permits punitive damages if it is shown by “clear and convincing” evidence that the wrongdoer’s conduct was “wanton, willful, fraudulent or malicious”.

Admittedly, no lawsuit can truly put an injury victim in the position that they would have been in prior to an accident, particularly where the injury victim suffers catastrophic or permanent injuries.  However, an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney can help you pursue the maximum financial compensation to which you are entitled under law.  If you have been injured and have more specific questions about compensation and damages, our experienced personal injury attorneys can provide more information based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.  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 car accident claim.

 

 

Stay Safe on the Road this Holiday Season: 16 Tips for Spotting Drunk Drivers

Friday, November 28th, 2014

For many Americans, the holiday season means packing up the family and hitting the open road. Some people head to Grandma’s house for a festive holiday dinner, while others venture out to the country in search of the perfect Christmas tree. Wherever, your holiday plans take you this season, the most important thing is to make it to your destination safely.

While you may be a safe and sober driver, it is important to remember that you are not alone on the roadways this holiday season. Unfortunately, too many motorists choose to drink and drive, which not only puts into jeopardy their own lives, but the lives of other people on the roadways. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2012 more than 10,000 people were killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. To put this statistic into perspective, alcohol-related crashes account for close to 1 in every 3 traffic-related deaths.

To make sure that you and your family stay safe on the roadways this holiday season, you need to be vigilant while driving. If you know what to look for, you can better spot a drunk driver. The following are signs that a motorist may be intoxicated:

  • Erratic braking.
  • Weaves in and out of lanes.
  • Drives at a rate much slower than the posted speed limit (usually more than 10 mph).
  • Makes an illegal turn.
  • Fails to come to a complete stop at a red light or stop sign.
  • Almost hits another vehicle or object, such as the curb.
  • Drives in the dark without his or her headlights on.
  • Follows too closely behind other vehicles.
  • Signals improperly.
  • Swerves or drifts in the lane.
  • Turns abruptly.
  • Drives on the wrong side of the road.
  • Straddles the center lane.
  • Drives into oncoming traffic.
  • Speeds.
  • the inability to maintain a steady rate of speed (quick acceleration followed by sudden deceleration).

If you believe that a motorist on the road with you is intoxicated, it is important to act quickly. First, make sure that you are driving defensively. Now is not the time to engage in any maneuvers that may be deemed “aggressive” by the intoxicated driver. Second, get out of the way of the driver that you believe is intoxicated. If the intoxicated driver is behind you, pull over to the side of the road or let him or her pass. If the driver is in front of you, slow down and try to stay as far away from him or her as possible. Third, you need to report this driver. Call 911 and let the operator know that you believe a motorist is driving drunk. Be prepared to tell the 911 operator your location; a complete description of the car, including the make, model, license plate, and color of the car; and the behaviors that led you to believe that the driver is intoxicated.

If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries after being involved in an auto accident with a drunk driver, the experienced Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. can help. Our compassionate team of injury attorneys understand the devastating effects a drunk driver can have on a person’s life and help you get your life back on track. The Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys at Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. have helped countless injury victims in both Kansas and Missouri. To see how one of our injury attorneys can help you, contact Hubbard & Kurtz, L.L.P. today at (816) 472-4673 to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to providing you with top-notch legal services.

Kansas City Personal Injury Attorneys Advise: Don’t Get Caught Up In a Chain Reaction Accident

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Kansas City, like most cities, has its fair share of traffic. Depending upon the time of the day and the day of the week, you may be sharing the road with quite a few other drivers. Driving on crowded roads can feel uncomfortable because there is not much room to maneuver. When one vehicle collides with another on a busy road, other vehicles that are nearby may also become involved in the wreck. These kinds of situations are often referred to as pile-up accidents or chain reaction accidents.

Chain reaction accidents in and around Kansas City can happen on busy roads, and they can also happen when road conditions and visibility are poor due to inclement weather. Rain, ice, and snow have been the cause of several chain reaction accidents in the area in recent years. One of the most recent pile-up accidents in the area happened in March of this year. Light snow was falling in the early morning hours of March 24, 2014. The snow caused slippery road conditions, and twenty two vehicles became entangled in a chain reaction accident on a ramp near Highway 69 and Interstate 35.

Since chain reaction accidents can happen at any time of year and in any sort of weather, Kansas City drivers should know that there are things that they can do to avoid them. One very important thing to do is adjust your driving to the current weather and road conditions. Rain, fog, snow, and sleet can affect your traction on the road surface, and they can also decrease visibility. Both of these things increase your risk for having an accident, or for being unable to avoid piling on to an accident which is already in the roadway. If you drive slower when the road could be slippery or when it is difficult to see, you give yourself more time to respond to anything that you see on the road, whether it is an accident, an animal, or the brake lights of the vehicle in front of you.

A second way to avoid becoming involved in a chain reaction accident is to stay far enough away from the vehicle in front of you. Leaving a space of one car length for every ten miles per hour of your speed gives you space to see what is going on in front of you, and an opportunity to respond to it. When drivers follow other vehicles too closely, they increase the chance that they will collide with the vehicle in front of them if it stops short.

Unfortunately, not all accidents can be prevented by implementing safe driving tips like the ones discussed above. Even when you drive safely, other drivers who are sharing the road with you may not. If you have been injured in a pile-up accident or any other type of automobile accident, it is important that you speak with a Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney as soon as you can. Your attorney can help you to determine the amount of damages that you have suffered as a result of the accident, and they can help you to pursue the financial recovery that you need and deserve.

The knowledgeable Kansas City Personal Injury 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.

An Overview of Auto Accident Cases in Missouri

Friday, January 31st, 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 dependant 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 Missouri personal injury attorneys may be able to help to ensure your claim is handled successfully!

Missouri Dram Shop Liability Offers Hope for Victims of Uninsured Intoxicated Drivers

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Drivers under the influence of alcohol claim the lives of more than 10,000 people per year and cause life-altering injury to many more.  While families who lose a loved one may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim and injury victims may be able to seek compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, it is not uncommon that someone who has displayed a pattern of DUI violations will be driving on a suspended driver’s license, which means the driver will not have auto insurance.

Although sometimes a drunken driver will have assets like a home against which you may be able to enforce a personal injury or wrongful death judgment or settlement, many intoxicated drivers are “judgment proof.”  Judgment proof is a term used to refer to those who have no insurance, assets or other means from which they can satisfy a civil liability claim.

When an alcohol impaired driver lacks the ability to pay a financial recovery by a motor vehicle accident victim, other sources for satisfying the judgment must be identified.  Sometimes another driver with insurance may have played some role in causing the collision.  The municipality, county or state may share liability if the roadway was not designed in a safe manner or the public entity failed to maintain or repair hazards that it should have been aware existed and posed an unreasonable risk of harm.  A driver may even have a claim against his own insurance policy if he elected uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.

However, there is another responsible party that may provide a better option for recovery if the driver that caused the collision was impaired by alcohol.  The bar, restaurant or other business that sells alcoholic beverages to consumers to be consumed on the premises may be liable for a car accident involving a patron in certain situations.

Missouri Revised Statutes § 537.053.2 (the dram shop law) imposes liability on those who serve alcohol to those who the seller knew or should have known were under 21 or “visibly intoxicated.”  The statute indicates that visible intoxication refers to a person who is so intoxicated that alcohol impairment is evidenced by uncoordinated physical movement or “significant physical dysfunction.”  Unlike a DUI prosecution, a blood alcohol test that indicates that the driver is over the .08 BAC level for legal intoxication does not necessarily establish that the patron was “visibly intoxicated,” under the statute, but the effects of this level of intoxication may be offered as evidence along with other evidence.  If the patron produced a driver’s license or other valid form of official state or federal ID card, this will generally be a defense to serving an underage patron.

Dram shop claims can be hard to prove in Missouri because it can be difficult to produce enough evidence to prevail on such a claim.  The dram shop statute imposes a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard on the issue of whether the business knew or should have known the patron was visibly intoxicated.  This is a more difficult standard to meet than the normal preponderance of the evidence standard that applies in most civil lawsuits for personal injury and wrongful death.

When someone is injured by a drunken driver, it is important to seek legal advice and representation promptly so that critical evidence to meet this high evidentiary standard can be gathered.  Some of the types of behavior that might indicate visible intoxication include:

  • Loud and boisterous behavior
  • Type of alcoholic beverage and number of drinks consumed
  • Slurred speech
  • Watery red eyes
  • Lack of coordination (tripping, stumbling or falling)
  • Unsteady gait

When an investigation is conducted promptly, critical evidence may be preserved, such as surveillance video, witness accounts (other patrons or employees), credit card receipts, copies of customer checks, cell phone video and more.  We may also use a toxicologist to conduct ‘back calculations” that will use a patron’s BAC level at the time of the collision to determine the BAC at the time the patron was served.  The toxicologist also can testify to how the patron’s BAC level would have impacted his demeanor, appearance and behavior.

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!

Is the Texting and Driving Epidemic Worse than We Realize?

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Most parents who have witnessed their teenagers engage in incessant text messaging worry about their teen climbing behind the wheel and engaging in text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.  Ironically, a recent study suggests that mom and dad are far more likely to engaging in texting when stuck in traffic than their kids.  An AT&T survey revealed that while 43 percent of teens admit to text messaging and driving virtually half of all adults surveyed admitted to engaging in this unsafe driving practice.

Although it is surprising that adult drivers are more likely than teens to text and drive, it is even more disturbing that the survey results show that adults that engage in this activity know what they are doing is wrong.  The survey involved over a thousand AT&T customers, and almost all of them (98 percent) admitted that they knew text messaging behind the wheel was unsafe and wrong.

This research raises new concerns about the scope of the text messaging problem.  Traffic safety experts, regulatory agencies and state and federal lawmakers have enacted new laws and devoted more resources to discourage drivers from text messaging.  Almost all states have enacted ban on texting and driving but some of these bans only apply to novice teen drivers.  Thus, this new information about the number of adult drivers who text is important because there are only 10 million teen drivers but more than 180 million adult drivers.

This recent poll by AT&T is consistent with result in other studies suggesting that texting is a growing problem among all drivers.  The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) found that almost a third of all drivers acknowledge that they draft, send and review text messages when operating a motor vehicle.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that distracted driving now kills a third of the number of people that die in collisions involving intoxicated drivers.  While there is no tracking of accident fatalities limited expressly to texting and driving, text messaging is considered the most dangerous form of driving distraction.

There also is a growing amount of evidence that the danger of being involved in a text message driving accident is getting worse despite all of the new laws and public information campaigns aimed at limiting this activity.  In the AT&T survey, sixty percent of those who admitted to text messaging when driving indicated they did not engage in such behavior three year prior to the survey.  The number of fatal texting accidents also rose during a recent one year period by ten percent.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri texting and driving car accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri auto accident 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!

Why Missouri Intersection Accidents Are So Common

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Intersections pose on of the most dangerous areas of any roadway because cross-traffic must be coordinated in an orderly fashion to prevent traffic collisions.  When drivers are not focused on the roadway, tired or impaired by alcohol, they may fail to stop at stop signs, run red lights or disregard pedestrians in crosswalks.  While most intersection accidents are caused by negligent drivers who disobey traffic laws or basic safe driving practices, the design or maintenance of an intersection may also contribute to a Missouri intersection accident.

At Hubbard & Kurtz, LLP, we work diligently to identify all negligent parties, conduct an investigation that may include use of an accident reconstruction expert and aggressively negotiate to obtain the financial recovery our clients’ are entitled to receive for medical expenses, pain and suffering, diminished earning capacity, vehicle damage, lost income, impaired enjoyment of life and other damages and financial loss.

The most common factor that contributes to intersection crashes in Missouri is unsafe driving practices by inattentive or careless drivers.  These hazardous driving practices include:

  • Failing to reduce one’s speed when approaching an intersection
  • Dividing a motorist’s attention between driving and other tasks like using a cell phone to talk or text
  • Trying to “beat” a stoplight before it turns red
  • Running stop signs because a driver is distracted or intoxicated
  • Unsafe left turns
  • Non-compliance with yield signs
  • Aggressive driving including disregarding right of way rules

While these are just a few of the types of driving behavior that may cause an intersection collisions in Missouri, these types of traffic violations pose an especially serious risk near street corners because car, truck, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians must all cross paths.  The inevitable risk presented by vehicles and pedestrians crossing paths at an intersection is reflected by the fact that 43 percent of all vehicle accidents occur in or near intersections.  Although some presume that intersection crashes generally are low speed collisions that cause minimal injury, crashes where traffic intersects on cross-streets account for 21 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.

Drivers who run red lights at intersections because they are distracted, substance impaired or simply careless account for a significant portion of intersection collisions.  A third of all people in the U.S. know someone who died or was injured in a collision where the negligent driver ran a red light.  There are over 1.9 million intersection crashes annually, and almost 220,000 of these traffic accidents are caused by drivers who run red lights.

Although negligent drivers are the primary cause of intersection accidents, sometimes public entities will design an intersection or time traffic lights in a way that increases the risk.  A public entity may also fail to dispatch police to an intersection where the lights are malfunctioning to direct traffic in a timely manner.  In situations like these, the public entity also may share liability for a fatal Missouri intersection accident.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri intersection accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri intersection car accident 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!

Why the Lack of Vehicle Damage in a Car Accident Does Not Mean No Serious Injuries

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

If you are involved in a rear-end collision, a minimal amount of vehicle damage may convince you that any injuries you suffered are only minor.  Insurance companies rely on car accident victims that are hit from the rear making this assumption and delaying medical treatment and legal advice.  Because the insurance company for the negligent driver understands that a rear-ender will almost be the fault of the driver who strikes another vehicle from behind, a representative from the other driver’s insurance company might contact you to make a low-ball settlement offer.  A motorist should not settle a rear-end collision claim if the driver has even minor injuries without seeking a full diagnostic exam and legal advice.

It is important to understand that the term “low impact collision” is often a loaded phrase used by insurance adjusters attempting to minimize the values of claims.  Studies analyzing where there is no vehicle damage have found no relationship between a lack of vehicle damage and the extent of injury to vehicle occupants.  The lack of vehicle damage may be more the result of the durability of the vehicle than the lack of impact from the crash.  Bumpers on motor vehicles are designed to protect vehicles from injury, but they do little to protect vehicle occupants.

A vehicle with a chassis like a pickup truck or all-terrain vehicle may be subjected to fairly significant impact but suffer little or no damage to the vehicle.  Vehicles with a bumper to bumper chassis are especially resistant to body damage in a collision.  However, the amount of G force inflicted on vehicle occupants can still cause serious whiplash injuries.  In fact, the stiff body and chassis of the vehicle can intensify and focus the G force experienced on the vehicle occupants in a rear-end collision.  Because of this focused and intensified G force, some studies show that a vehicle occupant may suffer more serious injuries in a collision that does not cause vehicle damage than one where vehicle damage occurs.

The important point to keep in mind is that the insurance company representative for the other driver has only one goal in mind – that goal is not your best interest.  The insurance company representative is looking to reduce the value of your claim under facts that almost assure that its client will be determined to be at-fault.  If the insurance company offers to provide you with a settlement check, it will ask that you execute a general release that will bar future claims for injuries that you may not even have discovered.  The insurance company would not offer a settlement in the first place if it did not feel that the claim was worth substantially more than its offer.

Before speaking with the other driver’s insurance company following a crash that does not result in vehicle damage, you should go to the doctor and report all symptoms no matter how minor they might seem.  Whiplash type injuries may not be immediately evident so you need to obtain a diagnostic analysis before you will know the full extent of your injuries.  Rear-end accident injury victims should also seek prompt legal advice because an experienced Missouri car accident attorney can protect your interest and negotiate toward a settlement for the real value of your claim.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri car accident, we urge you to contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri auto collision 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!

Injured in a Missouri Motor Vehicle Accident: What Not To Do!

Friday, February 15th, 2013

A fair number of websites exist that provide guidelines about what to do in the wake of a serious motor vehicle collision, such as a trucking accident, motorcycle collision, SUV rollover or other type of crash that causes serious injury or wrongful death.  Common suggestions include seeking medical treatment, gathering evidence and seeking legal advice.  What is not often discussed are actions that you should avoid in the wake of motor vehicle accidents to avoid damaging a potential personal injury claim.  Because our Missouri personal injury attorneys at the Hubbard and Kurtz, LLP handle many personal injury claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents, we have provided suggestions about common mistakes to avoid:

Do Not Postpone Medical Treatment

While the advice to obtain medical treatment may be standard, the timeliness of seeking medical attention can be equally important both from a clinical and legal perspective.  There are certain types of injuries that may become more serious if medical diagnosis and treatment is not prompt.  Many head injuries involve internal bleeding of the braining or bleeding into the space between the skull cavity and the brain.  The pressure created by this internal bleeding can cause permanent loss of cognitive function and even death if the pressure is not relieved rapidly.  Sometime head injury victims are completely unaware that they are seriously injured, and they are relatively unfazed until the pressure on the brain reaches a certain threshold.

From a litigation perspective, insurance companies view delays in medical treatment as an opportunity to challenge the cause and severity of a motor vehicle crash victim’s injuries. Insurance defense lawyers routinely use the discovery process to acquire information about prior accidents and injuries.  These records often will be carefully evaluated by a medical expert to look for alternative explanations for your injuries and to dispute the severity of your physical or mental incapacity.  Insurance companies have been known to claim that accidents both prior to and after the collision at issue in a lawsuit were the cause of a victim’s injuries.

Do Not Post Information on Facebook and Other Social Media Sites

A growing number of lawsuits brought by plaintiff with serious injuries are being compromised by posts on social media sites.  The best practice is not to post information or pictures while your personal injury lawsuit is pending.  Many judges will order a plaintiff in a motor vehicle accident lawsuit to provide login information even for the personal areas of the injury victim’s social media webpages.  It can be very embarrassing and damaging if you post pictures of playing tennis when you are having a good day, which the insurance company uses to claim that you are being dishonest about a debilitating back injury.

Do Not Speak to the Other Driver’s Insurance Representative

When insurance companies know you do not have legal representation, they view this as an opportunity.  The insurance company adjuster may indicate that they are trying to settle your case and ask you to sign an authorization for medical or employment records or to make a recorded statement.  While these requests are relevant to settling your case, they are usually intended to discover evidence to deny your claim or offer a token settlement.  There is no requirement you provide a statement (recorded or otherwise) to the other driver’s insurance company so you should not do so.  There is also no reason to permit release of your medical or employment records before consulting with an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney.

Do Not Cash a Settlement Check or Sign Documents Provided by the Other Driver’s Insurance

Insurance companies recognize that motor vehicle accident victims face financial hardships so they may try to issue you a check or ask you to sign settlement documents.  This is a bad idea unless a personal injury attorney has reviewed the case and documents.  Insurance companies are notorious for offering far less than the value of a claim to unrepresented parties because they know that a lack of knowledge about the value of a claim and the financial pressure may result in a quick low-ball settlement being accepted.  Once a general release is executed, it may result in a waiver of ALL claims even those for injuries that are not immediately apparent.

If you or someone you love is injured or a family member dies in a Missouri motor vehicle accident, we urge you to avoid these mistakes and contact us if you have questions.  Our experienced Missouri motor vehicle collision 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!