Who Pays for the Damage to My Car After an Accident?
Unfortunately, car accidents are an all-too-common occurrence in today’s world. In Kansas alone, over 47,000 people a year are involved in a car crash that results in damaged property, not to mention over 13,000 people who sustain bodily injuries. It can be overwhelming and confusing to address your medical and repair bills while also trying to recover from the trauma of being in the accident itself. Having an experienced car accident attorney on your side to help you through this process can be indispensable.
At Biesterveld & Crook, LLC, we’ve dedicated our practice to helping people just like you get the compensation they need to cover their expenses. If you’ve recently been in a car wreck and are concerned about how you’ll keep up with mounting repair bills, call us today to set up a one-on-one consultation. Our offices are located in Overland Park, Kansas, but we serve clients in both Kansas and Missouri.
Liability in Kansas & Missouri
In the aftermath of an accident, it’s essential to understand the concept of liability and how it affects your claim status. After a car accident, both drivers will typically file claims with their insurance providers, and then an adjuster will try to determine who was liable for the accident occurring. How fault is handled in personal injury claims depends on the state in which the car accident occurred. A car wreck in Kansas should be dealt with differently than a car wreck in Missouri. How—and if you receive financial compensation may depend on these differences.
Missouri: At-Fault Insurance
Missouri follows an at-fault insurance model meaning the driver who is found to be liable for the accident is responsible for paying out damages. If you wish to file for compensation, you have three options. First, you can file an insurance claim with your own insurance company, which will then pursue compensation through the at-fault driver’s provider on your behalf. Second, you can file a claim directly with the other driver’s insurance company and then their claims adjuster will investigate the case to determine how much you’re owed. Finally, you can pursue a personal injury claim through the courts for compensation. This last option is often necessary if you don’t feel you’re being reimbursed fairly.
Kansas: No-Fault Insurance
In a no-fault insurance state (like Kansas), both parties of an accident can seek compensation from their own insurance provider, regardless of who was found liable. All drivers in Kansas are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) which covers medical expenses as well as some other out-of-pocket expenses after an accident. However, depending on the severity of your crash, you may find that this compensation fails to cover all your expenses. This becomes especially important for damages to your car that were caused by the at-fault driver. If this is the case, you can then pursue a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance as well.
Compensation After an Accident
Even though there are set laws concerning damages, it’s not always a given that you’ll get the total compensation you need to cover all your expenses. In general, you’re legally allowed to ask for recoverable damages, and this can include compensation for things like medical care, lost income, property damage, and even pain and suffering. However, if it’s found that you had any role in the accident occurring, you may not be able to get full compensation.
In Kansas, damages are awarded based on modified comparative fault, which means that fault can be shared by both drivers. For example, if it’s determined you were responsible for 10% of the accident and your original compensation was going to be $20,000, then your compensation will be reduced by 10% to cover this, and you’d only get $18,000. This law also states that if you’re found to be more than 50% at-fault, then you can’t seek any damages from the other driver. In these cases, having a skilled personal injury attorney on your side can put you in a position to reduce your share of fault and increase your compensation.
Missouri follows a slightly different model called pure comparative fault (or pure comparative negligence). This means that you can seek compensation from the other driver, regardless of your percentage of fault.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you’ve recently been in an accident and need help communicating with your insurance provider, preparing your claim with the other driver’s insurance, or filing a personal injury lawsuit, reach out to us at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC. We aim to stand in your corner throughout the personal injury process. We’re happy to assist individuals and families in Johnson, Douglas, and Shawnee Counties from our Overland Park, Kansas office, or clients in Jackson County, Missouri, and the entire Kansas City Metro area. Call us today to set up a consultation.