Every Kansas City Injury Accident Is Unique
Some Kansas City accident and injury claims can be settled in matter of weeks or months. In some instances, the case may take one or even two years in Missouri or Kansas, especially if you proceed through through the court process, a trial and an appeal.
Many accident victims think that there is a uniform rule for how long it should take to settle a car accident, truck wreck, slip and fall or wrongful death case. Unfortunately, there's no such rule. Every personal injury case is unique. Each case involves a particular set of facts surrounding the accident.
Such facts include:
- How and where did the accident occur? Was it a multi-vehicle accident? Did it occur in Kansas City or elsewhere in Missouri or Kansas?
- Were the injuries serious, such as a brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones or burns, or were the injuries "soft tissue" like a whiplash injury or ligament tear?
- What parties were involved? Were multiple parties at fault?
- What insurance is at issue? Are there multiple insurance companies?
- What is the jurisdiction and in which court must the case be filed? Related to this question is whether the law of Kansas, Missouri or some other state applies, and which judge and jury may ultimately hear the case?
All of these variables can affect how long an accident case might take to resolve and for you to receive a settlement or an award of damages, and each are discussed in more detail below:
Were you injured in a rear-end car collision indicating clear liability by the at-fault party? Was the accident caused by a defective product or equipment? Did you have prior injuries or treatment involving the area of your body that was injured? Can the other party claim that you were at least partially fault?
If it is not clear who caused the accident and your injuries or if there are multiple parties and causes, you have a more complex case that will take more time than a simple, clear-cut case. The reason is insurance companies may be less likely to settle before filing suit and having the opportunity to discover facts at issue. Their attorneys may decide it is worth proceeding to trial, which will take more time.
Severity of Injuries.
To best evaluate your damages and potential recovery, we will need to understand your medical prognosis, which is a forecast of your medical condition and required treatment in the future.
Often, we will wait until your medical provider believes that you have reached what is known as your maximum medical improvement or until they can at least give an opinion as to any future medical treatment you may need. The reason is because, if you settle your claim, you will be required to sign a release of liability as to the at-fault party and the insurance company. This means you cannot make a claim against them again in the future relating to this injury or accident. As a result, before we demand any amount or discuss settlement, we need to be sure we understand the full extent of your damages - both now and in the future.
Damages at issue.
Cases with more damages at issue generally take more time. Insurance companies are less inclined to pay large amounts quickly without fully investigating and vetting every aspect of the accident and damages claimed.
However, in some cases, if the damages are in excess of the insurance coverage available and their insured was clearly at fault, the insurance company may decide to settle your claim relatively quickly. If they do not, their own insured may have a claim against them for acting in "bad faith". Our firm understands the "bad faith" laws that apply in our states and how to use them to help move your case forward.
Once your case is filed in court, the court's scheduling will impact how fast or slow your case progresses. In most cases, the court will enter a scheduling order that sets deadlines for various stages of the lawsuit. The court will also set a trial date.
In certain circumstances, court deadlines and trial dates can change. Sometimes, a trial date that is acceptable to both parties has to be changed because the court has another trial that must take precedence.
Defendant's willingness to settle.
Some defendants and insurance companies are more willing than others to negotiate and pay claims. This is a factor that is completely outside your control. However, it is one reason why you will benefit from having an experienced personal injury attorney by your side. If the other side is unreasonable, your attorney can help guide you through the court process and prepare your case for trial.
You and your financial needs.
Insurance companies are fully aware of this factor and use it to their advantage. They know that, if they can delay claims, many people will grow tired and impatient and accept a lesser settlement amount. The pressure on you and your family can be intense, especially if your injuries prevent you from working and earning enough money to paying your medical bills.
Your attorney should help you evaluate your particular situation and any settlement offers so you can make the best decision for you and your family. However, in the end, this is your case, and the decision is yours to make.
Contact Our Kansas City Accident Attorney
Still have questions about your injury claim in Missouri or Kansas? For more information, please download a free copy of my book, Crash Course, which includes the 9 mistakes that can wreck your injury claim. You can also contact our firm by calling (816) 203-0143 or by filling out a form below. Contacting us is FREE and confidential, and there is no obligation to hire our firm. We would be happy to try to assist you.