Imagine you were in a car accident in Kansas City or anywhere in Kansas or Missouri. You know you were not at-fault, but the other driver is lying and says you were. But what do you do?
Why Your Claim Was Denied
There are many reasons why an insurance adjuster may deny your injury claim after a car accident. One of the most common reasons for denial is that the adjustor believes you were at fault for causing the accident. This can be very frustrating, especially if you know it is not true and that the adjuster is basing their decision on false information from the other driver.
It is important to remember that insurance adjuster for the other party is not your friend. The insurance company is in business to make money and pay as little as possible on claims. If the other driver is giving them a reason to deny your claim (even if that reason is not 100% true), they will use it.
Defining “Fault” in Missouri & Kansas
Before we get to what you need to do, you need to understand why being "at fault" is significant in car accident cases in both Missouri and Kansas.
Missouri is a pure comparative fault state. To explain what this means, an example is helpful. Assume you are the plaintiff in a Missouri car accident case and are able to damages of $100,000. If the jury finds the defendant is 80% at fault and you are 20% at fault, Missouri law allows you to recover $80,000 from the defendant. If the defendant is found only 30% at fault and you are found 70% at fault, then you may only recover $30,000.
In Kansas, the law of comparative fault works differently. If you are injured in the same case in Kansas and are less than 50% at fault, it works the same way as in Missouri. So in the first example, you would still recover $80,000, if you were 20% at fault. However, if you are 50% at fault or greater, you recover nothing and your injury claim is barred, regardless of how significant your injuries. This law is detailed in K.S.A. § 60-258a.
This is why your car accident claim may be denied if the insurance companies believe you were at fault.
What to Do If the Other Driver is Lying in Kansas or Missouri
What should you do if the other driver is lying? Here are three things you need to know.
1. Stay Calm, Don’t Argue and Gather Support
If the other driver lies at the accident scene or later changes his or her story, you have to stay calm and avoid arguing with them. Remember, anything you say may be used against you later, especially if a responding officer is present and taking your statement. Instead, it is best to stick to the facts and start gathering documents and evidence to support your claim. This can include accident reports, pictures or videos of the accident scene and the vehicle damage, and statements and contact information of any witnesses.
2. Accident Reports Can Help If They Are Accurate
If you are in a car accident and a police officer responds, the officer will create record of the accident. This record, which may be called an accident or crash report, will contain a lot of useful information, including driver statements, witness statements, whether injuries were reported, the position of vehicles and often a diagram of the accident scene. This information can be very helpful to rebut any inaccuracies in the at-fault driver's description of what happened.
A police report is law enforcement’s official record of the crash. Insurance companies usually give these reports considerable weight when determining who is at fault. However, if the information in the report is inaccurate or incomplete, you should discuss it with the officer who completed the report as soon as possible. Officers are human, and sometimes they make a mistake.
3. Talk to a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer
After you have gathered some critical information, you should share the information you have obtained with an experienced Kansas City car accident attorney. It goes without saying that you need to be completely truthful and share all information you have about the accident with your attorney. When someone has lied to law enforcement or the insurance company, it can be difficult to challenge and rebut without legal assistance from an attorney who has worked through these issues before.
Your attorney can help present the evidence that supports your side of the story, whether to the insurance company or a jury. Regardless, the strength of your claim depends on your truthfulness sand credibility. For this reason, you must be consistent in your version and have corroborating evidence to support it.
Contact Our Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer
The three items outlined above can help you if the other driver isn't telling the truth. Unfortunately, they do not guarantee that you will get the outcome you deserve. If the insurance company is siding with the other driver, you need to contact a personal injury attorney in Kansas or Missouri to help you. Our Kansas City car accident lawyer is licensed in Kansas and Missouri and can help set the record straight.
Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation at 816-203-0143. If you would like more information about Kansas and Missouri car accident claims, you can also download a FREE copy of our book, Crash Course, 9 Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Injury Claim. Whatever you do, get help with your claim as soon as possible.