How to Negotiate a Settlement After a Kansas City Car Accident
If another driver caused your car accident, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, damages, and losses. Typically, the first step in recovering compensation for a car accident claim is to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Our Kansas City car accident lawyers are here to help you with a claim, but if you decide to handle your claim alone, the seven tips below can help you negotiate a fair settlement for your car accident claim. While the laws governing car accidents are different in Kansas and Missouri, these tips apply regardless of where your case may be filed.
7 Tips for Negotiating a Fair Settlement After a Car Accident in KS or MO
1. File Your Insurance Claim As Soon As Possible
There are strict time limits for settling a car insurance claim. The statutes of limitations in Kansas and Missouri restrict the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident. If you do not settle your accident claim or initiate a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you lose the right to pursue legal action to recover compensation from the party who caused the accident.
Some insurance companies may delay claims to stretch out the time a person has to file a personal injury lawsuit. Always keep track of deadlines, including the statute of limitations, to avoid losing your right to recover compensation for injuries from a car wreck.
2. Keep Detailed Records of All Damages and Losses
You must have proof of your damages to recover compensation for those damages. Keep detailed records of all medical expenses, loss of income, and other financial damages related to the accident, your injuries, and your recovery. Also, keep detailed notes regarding your pain and suffering, including the activities you cannot perform because of your injuries, your daily pain level, night terrors, flashbacks, anxiety attacks, and depression. You must have support for any damages you allege you deserve compensation for because of the accident.
3. Calculate The Value of Your Injury Claim
There is no secret formula for calculating the value of your car accident claim. Every car accident claim is different, and the potential value will depend on a variety of factors.
Financial damages, also known as "economic damages" typically include your medical expenses, lost wages, travel expenses, cost of household help, and other out-of-pocket expenses related to the car crash. Calculating the value of your financial damages is somewhat easier than calculating the value of your noneconomic damages. Future financial damages, including ongoing medical care and loss of earning potential, might also be included in cases involving permanent disabilities and impairments.
Noneconomic damages are your pain and suffering damages. In most cases, severe and catastrophic injury cases are worth more than cases involving minor injuries that heal without resulting in permanent impairments or disabilities. The severity and type of injury you sustained in the wreck, the length of your recovery, and whether you sustained permanent impairments are important factors that impact the value of your pain and suffering damages.
4. Prepare a Settlement Demand Package
Before sending your settlement demand package, you must decide on a minimum amount that you are willing to accept to settle your claim. It is a good idea to ask for more than you are willing to accept to settle your claim so that you have some room to negotiate a settlement.
The settlement demand package includes a letter stating how much you believe your claim is worth. The letter also explains why you are entitled to this amount, including outlining how the other driver caused the accident and evidence to support your allegations of fault. You also need to include medical evidence proving your injuries and evidence proving the damages you claim.
5. Do Not Accept the First Offer to Settle Your Claim
The insurance company will offer an amount that is lower than your demand for settlement. Do not accept the first offer. The insurance company may be testing you to determine if you know what your claim is worth. You have the right to negotiate a fair settlement. Respond to the offer by reiterating the points in your demand letter that highlight the other driver’s liability for causing the accident and the severity of your injuries. Wait to see if the insurance company increases its offer. If not, you might want to offer to settle the claim for an amount closer but still slightly higher than your minimum settlement amount.
6. Request Everything in Writing
You want to have everything in writing in case you need to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. If the insurance company makes a verbal offer to settle your claim, ask for the offer in writing. Always read every document carefully before signing to ensure you understand the fine print. You do not want to release the company from liability for your claim accidentally or otherwise harm your claim by signing a document you do not understand fully.
7. Know When to Hire an Experienced Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer
It can be difficult to know when you need to hire a Kansas City car accident lawyer to help you with an insurance claim. Some signs that indicate you might need to talk to an attorney include:
- Your sustained severe or traumatic injuries.
- Your injuries resulted in permanent disabilities or impairments.
- The insurance company is delaying processing your claim, investigating your claim, or paying a settlement.
- The insurance company is alleging that you are to blame, or you share responsibility for the cause of the car accident.
- You do not know what your claim is worth.
- You are unsure of the law that relates to your case or how to obtain evidence proving fault.
- The insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement offer.
An attorney can provide the legal advice and support you need to protect your right to a fair settlement for your car accident claim.
Contact Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
It does not cost you anything to talk to one of our Kansas City car accident lawyers about your case. Contact The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus by calling 816-203-0143 to schedule your free consultation with a Kansas City car accident attorney near you.