Depending on the severity of a car wreck, your injuries and recovery time may vary. You may also find yourself with a pile of debt from medical expenses and lost wages, as well as a disruption to your everyday household responsibilities. For those on the fence about hiring an attorney, you may later find yourself second guessing why you didn’t hire an attorney after a wreck sooner. To help explain the need of hiring an experienced attorney, here are five things that can happen when you don’t talk to an attorney after a wreck in Kansas, Missouri, or Oklahoma.
1. Make a Mistake By Oversharing
It’s understandable that after a car wreck you may not be thinking clearly. You also may not know that a few misspoken words at the accident scene, to a medical provider, and an insurance agent can be taken out of context–in essence, harming your injury claim by being seen as an admittance of fault.
For instance, Kansas is a no-fault state. This means that the primary responsibility to pay for your damages after a car accident belongs to your own car insurance company. Although your insurance company should cover your injuries regardless of fault, they may still try to deny or reduce the claim based on statements you make about your injuries and other aspects of the case.
On the other hand, determining fault is key to any injury claim in an at-fault state. For example, Missouri is an “at-fault” state, meaning that the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident is primarily responsible for paying for injuries and other damages. However, an at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to find evidence that you were partially responsible for the accident in order to lessen the amount of payment.
This brings up another good point about oversharing–you should also minimize social media posts after an accident or photos, videos, and comments may be used against you.
2. Miss Important Deadlines
There are a few key deadlines that an injury victim may not know they need to meet after an accident. These are two of the most important deadlines:
- Not seeking immediate medical care to establish that any injuries were the results of the car wreck. By delaying this step after an accident, you may not be properly diagnosed for a brain injury or soft tissue damage. An insurance company may also try to claim an individual’s injury isn’t serious or even the result of the car collision.
- Missing the state deadline to file a personal injury claim. Per Kan. Stat. § 60-513 (a) (2) (2020), an injury victim has two years to file a claim. In Missouri, there is a five-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims per Mo. Ann. Stat. § 516.120. Lastly, per Neb. Stat. § 25.207 and Wy. Stat. § 1.3.105 injury victims have four years to file a negligence / personal injury claim. If you miss either of these deadlines you could lose your rights to seek just compensation for serious injuries and other damages after a car wreck.
3. Not Getting Proper Medical Documents
As previously mentioned, an individual needs to seek immediate medical care after a car wreck–whether they feel instant pain or not. Going one step further, it is also important that the medical provider they go to has experience with properly documenting a car accident victim’s health.
An insurance company will have less of a chance to deny an injury claim if there are medical records that clearly document pain, discomfort, physical injuries, and recommended medical treatments.
4. Failure to Collect Enough Accident Evidence
Following an accident, the collection of evidence can help build a solid case to show what happened. Photos at the scene and of injuries, witness statements, and police reports are all important pieces of evidence to help establish fault, severity of injuries, and other damages.
Failure to collect enough evidence for an accident could result in a denial of compensation, or 40% less than what you may be entitled to.
5. Getting Lowballed By the Insurance Company
Insurance companies are a multi-billion dollar industry with tens of thousands of employees and hundreds of attorneys. This combination of sales agents and attorneys has earned these companies the reputation of going the extra mile to put the company’s profits before the financial needs of their paying customers.
One example of these tactics is to discourage an injury victim from seeking legal help. They know the longer an injury victim waits to get help from a car accident attorney, the more likely they are to accept their lowball offer.
Contact Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma 24/7
Patterson Legal Group has over 25 years of combined experience protecting the rights of injury victims to receive fair compensation after a car wreck in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
Don’t wait! Don’t let those close to you wait. You have nothing to lose!