Every day, people suffer the consequences of someone else’s negligence. Sometimes, the injury or loss is so severe that it makes sense to claim compensation. In Kansas City, hiring a competent personal injury lawyer who is local to the area can make all the difference between losing out and winning the maximum settlement. Let’s explore how injury settlements work and what types of payouts you can expect.
What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?
When you are involved in an accident and incident and you are not at fault, you may be able to claim compensation to make up for the damages. The insurance of the person at fault will have to pay you a certain amount, often up to mid or high five figures. In general, there are three types of damages you may be able to claim. The most straightforward is the financial loss you incurred, including medical bills and property damage.
In addition to this, you may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages, for example, emotional pain, anguish, and stress you feel as a result of the incident. Although this is less easily quantifiable, many people get paid for these often traumatic results of an injury. Finally, you could receive punitive damages if the judge determines that the other person’s actions were so careless or dangerous that they need to be punished.
Who May Qualify
When most people hear about personal injury claims, they think about car accidents. Even though this tends to be the most frequent type of claim, there are many other instances in which you could receive compensation.
If you were involved in a road accident and the other driver was more than 50% at fault, you will likely receive payment. There are many reasons why a driver would cause an accident, for example, distracted or drunk driving. In case there is evidence that the other driver was on the phone, texting, applying makeup, or otherwise not concentrating on the road, they will most likely be considered at fault.
Aside from cars, a number of other vehicles also cause road accidents. Many people claim compensation if they’ve been involved in an incident with a motorcycle, train, scooter, pedestrian, or truck. This last one is particularly likely, as truck drivers are often on the road for many hours at a time and therefore more prone to distraction.
Personal injuries involve a wide range of different situations. Sometimes, they include physical harm or contact with dangerous objects. Even falling, slipping, and tripping can be taken into consideration if it is due to someone else’s negligence. Another common issue is pet-related incidents, for example, if another person’s dog attacks you or your family. In all of these cases, you should seek out a lawyer who can help you to gain maximum compensation.
Getting Paid Your Settlement Amount
The process of receiving payment may take a long time, especially if the matter goes to court. You may have to wait for up to a year if your case is complex, but it is worth fighting for the maximum settlement possible, as you likely won’t be able to reopen the case once it is closed, even if you suffer further damages from the incident. There are two main ways in which your settlement may be paid out: as a lump sum or as periodic payments.
In some cases, you may be able to receive your entire payment in one go. This can be helpful because you can then invest and use the money exactly the way you would like. Remember that your payout is tax-free unless it consists of punitive damages, so you will have access to the full amount.
If you get a structured settlement, you will receive a monthly payment for a fixed amount of time instead of a one-off lump sum. This can be great, especially because you won’t be tempted to spend the whole amount. You will also have to consider whether you are offered a life-only payment, in which case the obligation ends when you pass away or after a certain period.
Ways to Speed Up the Process
When you decide to pursue compensation for a personal injury, this is usually because you have suffered significant losses as a result of the incident. To make up for them financially, you will want the process to be as smooth as possible, whether you are aiming for a lump sum payout or periodic payments to cover your expenses. Let’s now examine what you can do to make the process easy and quick.
Filing Your Claim as Fast as Possible
In Missouri, you can claim for up to five years after the injury was discovered, so make sure to start the process within that time. If you have extensive medical bills or your property was damaged, it makes sense to get started much sooner so that you can recover your losses without delay. As mentioned, the claim could take several months to go through, so the earlier you file, the quicker you will receive the money you deserve.
Collecting All the Relevant Evidence
The judge only has your statement and evidence to go on, so make sure that they are convincing. It is helpful to have photographic or video evidence of the incident and of the damages or injuries that occurred as a result. In addition, keep a written record of what happened and the process you are going through as you recover. Finally, it’s crucial that you keep track of all the costs, including medical bills, income lost as a result of your injuries, and property repairs.
Hiring a Competent and Local Kansas City Injury Lawyer
You may wonder whether the cost of hiring a lawyer is worth it when it comes to filing your claim. In most cases, the answer is yes. You may be spending hundreds on your attorney, but you are likely to get back thousands in compensation you might otherwise not have received. An experienced professional will be able to lay out your case in the best light possible and advise you on what evidence you will need.
In addition, your lawyer can also make you feel more comfortable about the process, which is likely to be stressful and disconcerting, especially if you are still suffering from injuries related to the incident. In many cases, having a competent professional by your side can make you feel more reassured and help you to stay calm when presenting your case.
There are many different types of personal injury settlements, from car accidents to violent crime and even dog bites. In all cases, it is important that you lay out your evidence well, so that you can receive the maximum payout possible.
Our dedicated and professional team is here to help. Contact us at Yonke Law in Kansas City, either by filling out the online form or calling our office. As one of the most respected personal injury lawyers in the state, Michael Yonke will analyze your case and work with you to find a solution.