You may be surprised how many people don’t know what to do after a car accident. While a few lucky individuals may go their lives without getting into a crash, most drivers will need to file an auto insurance claim at some point.
The car insurance process in Kansas City, MO is fairly straightforward, but it does vary from other places. That’s why Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers has put together a short guide to explain the car accident claim process in Missouri.
If you’ve been in a car accident, our Kansas City car accident lawyers can help. We have decades of experience in injury and insurance law and have recovered tens of millions for our clients. Contact us at (314) 400-0000 today to schedule a free consultation.
How Can Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers Help With The Car Accident Claim Process In Kansas City?
Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers has over 30 years of experience handling car accident cases. We have negotiated with countless car insurance companies and regularly go to trial to get our clients a fair settlement.
In fact, our founding attorney used to be an insurance defense attorney. He knows how insurance companies try to get out of paying for your damages. To date, our law firm has recovered tens of millions for insurance companies and other defendants.
We always help our clients:
- Calculate their damages
- Collect evidence
- File insurance claims
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- File personal injury lawsuits
- Go to trial
If you’re interested in speaking with a premier Kansas City, MO car accident lawyer, contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers to set up a free consultation. Read on to learn more about how to navigate the car accident claims process.
Immediately After The Accident
You must take steps to care for yourself and others, and prepare to file an insurance claim, immediately after a car accident.
Stop And Seek Medical Treatment
The first thing to do after a car accident is to stop. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident, even if it wasn’t your fault.
After stopping, you should seek medical treatment for yourself and others in the crash. This may include calling an ambulance or the police. If no one requires emergency medical care, you should still go to the doctor as soon as possible after the crash.
The doctor can do a full evaluation for internal injuries that you might not notice. If you do have injuries, even minor ones, your doctor will document the injuries and outline a treatment plan. You can use those records in your insurance claim to prove your damages.
If possible, you should take photographs of the cars involved in the crash and the scene. These photos can be used as evidence of fault and damages in a car insurance claim.
For example, you may want to take pictures of:
- The damage to the vehicles from different angles
- Undamaged portions of the cars
- License plates
- Other damages property
- Visible physical injuries
- Obstructions in the road
- Mislabeled signs
- Skid marks
- Broken guardrails
It is better to take more photos from many different angles than to regret not taking enough. If you call the police to the scene, they may also take pictures for their report.
File An Incident Report
Unlike other states, you don’t have to file an incident report every time that you get into a car accident in Missouri. You will need to file an accident report if:
- The accident involves an uninsured motorist and
- It caused property damage of over $500, or someone was injured or killed
Even if you aren’t obligated to file a report, it is prudent to do so. The incident report will help you to collect information and draw a diagram of the crash. Your memory will be the strongest right after the crash, so it’s a great time to write down what happened.
After you take the initial steps you need to calculate your damages. You can do this by keeping track of all of your expenses that arise because of an accident or an injury.
Examples of damages include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Cost of medicine or medical devices
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages
- Out-of-pocket expenses
You should collect evidence to prove these damages, including pay stubs, bills, and invoices. You can present this to the insurance company when filing your claim.
Filing An Insurance Claim in Kansas City
After you have collected your evidence, you will file an insurance claim with the at-fault party. This may include speaking with an insurance adjuster, producing medical records, and supplying evidence of the crash.
The insurance adjuster will decide whether or not the policyholder is responsible for the crash. They may or may not agree to pay for your damages. Sometimes they agree to pay for some, but not all, of your expenses.
After you hear back from insurance, you can negotiate with them for a higher amount. It’s normal for insurance to make lowball offers. This is easier with a car accident lawyer on your side, but you can do it on your own as well.
Pursuing A Personal Injury Lawsuit
If insurance refuses to pay your damages, or the policy limit is lower than your total costs, then you can file a personal injury lawsuit in court. The lawsuit is filed against the at-fault driver, not the insurance company.
After you file the lawsuit, you will begin the discovery process and eventually go to trial. That is if you don’t settle first. This process can take months or years to complete, depending on how complex your injuries and the case are.
Hire A Kansas City Car Crash Lawyer for Help with the Car Accident Claims Process in Missouri
You may want to consider hiring a Kansas City car accident lawyer to handle your car accident claim. A lawyer can help you navigate the insurance process and negotiate with tough insurance companies.
Furthermore, a car accident attorney can file a lawsuit if necessary. They are specifically trained to prepare for and go to trial. Without proper training, this process can be overwhelming and you are less likely to recover damages.
If you are interested in learning more about the car accident claim process in Missouri, contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers for a free consultation.