If you suffer severe injuries in a Kansas car accident caused by another person, you should never try to negotiate your own personal injury settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Even attempting to do so — and then realizing that you need a lawyer to help — can significantly jeopardize your ability to recover compensation. Here are three important reasons why you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible if you receive serious injuries in an accident.
Kansas personal injury laws that apply to auto accident cases are complex. The state’s modified no-fault car insurance system only allows you to make a claim and file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your medical expenses and injuries exceed certain thresholds. When your injuries exceed no-fault levels, state law also determines what compensation you can receive.
Calculating damages in an accident claim is extremely complicated. While some elements of compensation (like medical expenses) are easy to calculate, other amounts (such as pain and suffering) require complex calculations.
If you attempt to negotiate your own settlement, you are at a significant disadvantage. The insurance adjuster for the at-fault driver’s insurance company knows how much compensation the law allows you to claim. You do not know that important piece of information.
The adjuster will talk down the amount of compensation and try to get you to settle for the lowest possible total figure. Since you have no solid basis or figures to counter their offer, you’re unlikely to get the full compensation that you deserve.
When a knowledgeable attorney represents you, your lawyer knows exactly how much you can potentially recover. Your attorney will aggressively go toe-to-toe with the insurance adjuster to leverage the facts in your favor in order to recover as much compensation as possible.
Kansas has a comparative negligence standard that applies in auto accident cases. If you are at-fault to even the slightest degree, your compensation is reduced in the same percentage as your fault. If you were more at fault than the other driver, you cannot recover anything. In fact, you could end up being legally liable for other victims’ injuries.
Because of the comparative negligence standard, the adjuster will work hard to get you to make admissions and sign statements that enable them to put some of the blame for the accident on you. If you make that kind of statement (even unintentionally or unknowingly), you may admit enough fault that your compensation gets reduced substantially. Or, you may ruin your chances of receiving compensation completely.
The potential for making innocent — but damaging — admissions or statements is one of the primary reasons that you should never talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster. If they contact you, simply tell them that your lawyer will be in touch. Then, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. Most lawyers do not charge for a personal injury consultation, so you have absolutely nothing to lose by discussing your case with an attorney before you do anything else.
Unlike you, insurance adjusters know all the laws that apply to your accident claim, in addition to knowing how much compensation the law permits you to recover. Just that knowledge gives them the upper hand — but there’s more. They are expert negotiators, who have proven strategies to use on unsuspecting accident victims.
An insurance company’s primary goal is to pay you as little as possible — or, ideally, to pay you nothing at all. The adjuster will try every trick and technique to convince you to accept less than you really deserve. That’s what they are paid to do.
On the other hand, when you retain an attorney to represent you, your lawyer has distinct advantages — including the leverage of threatening to file a lawsuit if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement. Your attorney also has proven negotiating strategies for getting the compensation that you deserve. And, of course, your lawyer knows the laws and understands exactly how much compensation you are entitled to under the law.
At the Salina, Kansas law firm Hampton & Royce, L.C., we assist clients throughout the state with all types of personal injury matters, including car and truck accidents. We help you get full compensation for your injuries. You should concentrate on making a full recovery, while you rely on your attorney to pursue your rights and protect your interests.
Contact us by phone or email to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.