Time to Settlement for Slip & Fall Injury in Missouri & Kansas
After healing from the injuries caused by a slip and fall accident, you may begin to focus on settling your personal injury claim. Understanding the timeline for settling a slip and fall claim is crucial for victims who have suffered injuries. This process can vary significantly depending on the specifics of your case, the parties involved, and the legal system in your respective state.
In Missouri and Kansas, the timeline can vary from a few months to a few years. Most cases involving slips, trips, and falls settle through negotiations with the insurance company or the property owner. Only a small percentage of slip and fall cases end up in court. However, it can still take months or even years to resolve a slip and fall accident claim from the time of the injury until you receive your compensation. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, it could take longer to settle your case.
Hiring a slip and fall accident attorney in Kansas City can help. A lawyer understands what is required to settle a slip and fall claim. Your attorney also works to resolve your claim as quickly as possible while maximizing the amount of money you receive for your claim.
If you have specific questions about your slip and fall injury, call our slip and fall injury attorney for a free consultation at 816-203-0143. We handle personal injury claims throughout Missouri and Kansas.
Factors Impacting the Time to Settle a Slip & Fall Case in Missouri & Kansas
Several factors can influence the time it takes to settle a slip and fall claim. These include:
- Severity of Injuries: More serious injuries typically mean larger medical bills and a potentially larger settlement. Such cases often take longer to resolve, as insurance companies are more likely to fight these claims.
- Medical Treatment: Settlements should not be made until the victim has reached a point of maximum medical improvement. This means that the victim has either fully recovered or has recovered as much as they are likely to.
- Investigation: The time it takes to investigate the circumstances of the fall and gather evidence can also impact the timeline.
- Negotiation: In some cases, negotiations between the victim's attorney and the at-fault party's insurance company can be lengthy.
Reaching Maximum Medical Improvement
One important factor in the timeline of a slip and fall case is the length of time it takes you to recover from your injuries or reach "maximum medical improvement." The insurance company or property owner may pressure you to accept a settlement before you complete medical treatment. It is not in your best interest to settle the case before reaching maximum medical improvement or "MMI".
MMI is the point in your medical treatment when further treatment is not expected to improve your condition. Many people recover fully from their slip and fall injuries. However, some victims sustain permanent impairments or disabilities. MMI for these individuals means they may not work because of a spinal cord injury or may have permanent cognitive disabilities because of a brain injury.
The severity and type of injuries you suffered will determine your treatment plan. If you sustain traumatic injuries from a slip and fall accident, it could take months for you to complete treatment.
Until you complete your medical treatment plan, you cannot know whether you have a permanent impairment from your injury. Therefore, you cannot know how much your claim is worth. You could be entitled to future damages for loss of income, ongoing medical care, personal care, and other damages if you sustain a disabling condition.
In slip and fall cases with persistent symptoms or serious injuries, the danger you need to avoid is settling your case too soon.
Typical Timeline for Slip & Fall Cases in Missouri and Kansas
The typical timeline for settling a slip and fall claim in Missouri and Kansas is as follows:
- Initial Consultation: After the injury, the victim should consult with a slip and fall attorney as soon as possible.
- Filing the Claim: The attorney will then file the claim with the at-fault party's insurance company.
- Investigation: The attorney will gather evidence to support the claim. This could include medical records, witness statements, and photographs of the scene.
- Negotiation: Once the victim has reached maximum medical improvement, the attorney will begin negotiations with the insurance company.
- Settlement or File a Lawsuit: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial. However, most slip and fall claims are settled out of court.
Slip & Fall Lawsuits in Missouri & Kansas
If the insurance company or the property owner refuses to negotiate in good faith to settle your claim, you may need to pursue a claim in court. Filing a case in court will lengthen the time it takes to resolve your slip and fall injury claim, but an experienced injury attorney will make sure case continues through the litigation process to a resolution. Below are the steps your attorney will need to take to pursue a slip and fall injury case in Missouri and Kansas.
Filing a Petition in Missouri & Kansas
Your lawyer has gathered the evidence and information required to file a lawsuit during the accident investigation and settlement negotiations. The lawsuit begins with filing a petition or complaint.
There are rules on where your case must be filed and the law that applies, and the rules of Kansas and Missouri are different. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to understand how these rules apply to your particular case. After you file your lawsuit, the other party has a set number of days to respond under Missouri and Kansas law.
Discovery in Missouri & Kansas Courts
After filing, the lawsuit enters the discovery phase. During discovery, each party gathers additional information and evidence from the other side. Your lawyer may take depositions of the other parties involved in the lawsuit, witnesses, and experts. Your attorney may also send interrogatories and requests for admission to the other parties.
The discovery phase can take a few months to complete because each side is given time to object or respond as permitted by the rules of procedure set out in Missouri and Kansas law. At the end of the discovery phase, the parties may engage in settlement talks and negotiation. Settlement negotiations may include formal and informal meetings as well as mediation sessions.
If the case does not settle, the parties proceed with pretrial motions. Pretrial motions ask the court to address specific questions and disputes, including matters related to witnesses and evidence. Again, depending on where your case is filed, Missouri and Kansas law will dictate what kind of motions can be filed and the rules that apply.
After all pretrial motions are heard, the court adds the case to the trial docket. How quickly the case comes up for trial depends on the court’s schedule. Your injury trial may be before a jury if one is permitted under Missouri or Kansas law.
Trial and Appeals
At the trial, both parties present evidence for the jury to consider. The jury deliberates and issues a verdict. If either party is not satisfied with the verdict, it may appeal. Missouri and Kansas law have different rules that apply to appeals. Appeals of personal injury claims could take years to work through the court system.
How to Improve Your Chance of Success in a Slip and Fall Case in Missouri & Kansas
There are certain things to improve your chance of receiving maximum compensation for a slip and fall claim in Missouri and Kansas. Steps to take after a slip and fall accident include:
- Report the injury immediately to the property owner
- Ask eyewitnesses for their names and contact information
- Take pictures and make a video of the accident scene (things could change quickly after you leave)
- Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries
- Avoid talking to insurance adjusters and property owners without an attorney
- Contact a Kansas City personal injury lawyer as soon as possible
A personal injury lawyer understands the best way to reach a quick resolution. He understands premises liability laws and how to investigate and gather evidence. While you focus on healing from your injuries, your attorney focuses on holding the party who caused your injuries financially liable for your damages.
Contact a Kansas City Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
If you have questions or need help with a slip and fall claim, call The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus or download one of our free injury guidebooks. Contact our office to schedule your free consultation by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.