Yes. It has been proven over and over again that, when seeking an insurance settlement after a serious injury, you can obtain a greater amount of compensation through good legal representation than what is offered by going it alone. With a qualified trial lawyer in your corner, you’ll keep more dollars in your pocket, even after attorney fees and expenses are deducted, than you obtain on your own without a lawyer. Until you retain a trial lawyer who is prepared to go to court if necessary, your insurance company is unlikely to offer fair compensation because their #1 mission is to hold onto their money. It is simply not in their interest to offer you a fair accident settlement. They know that without a lawyer, you are no threat.
At Larson Law, we do not believe in this kind of direct solicitation. A good trial attorney who has developed a good reputation built on a proven track record of protecting their clients by winning in the courtroom does not need to resort to gathering accident reports by law enforcement officials. It is in your best interest to do your research on reputable attorneys in your area that will be the best fit for your needs.
In our experience, most people simply want fair compensation for their injuries from an accident. However, what is “fair compensation”? There is no formula for determining the amount of personal injury compensation you recover. A variety of factors are considered. These factors include the following:
Aggravating factors such as the negligent driver’s drunk driving can both hasten settlement and affect the settlement amount in a personal injury claim. Fair compensation certainly includes more than just reimbursement for your medical expenses. Under Missouri law, your personal injury settlement may include compensation for:
In some cases, the injured person’s family members may be entitled to compensation, contingent on their dependence on the injured person.
If you were in an auto accident due to the negligence of another driver, you typically will seek compensation from the negligent driver’s insurer based on his insurance policy. However, if the car wreck was caused by an uninsured driver, and if you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM coverage) through your own insurance policy or the policy covering the vehicle in which you were riding, then an uninsured motorist claim will be made to your insurer. Similarly, if the at-fault driver carried liability insurance but the amount of the policy limits is insufficient to fully compensate your claim, and if you have underinsured motorist coverage (UIM coverage), then two claims ultimately will be made: one to the other driver’s insurer and an “underinsured motorist claim” to your insurer.
Many Missouri auto insurance policies include a form of medical coverage called Medical Payments Coverage, or commonly referred to as “Med-Pay”. In the event of an auto accident, Med-Pay coverage pays medical expenses for car accident injuries, up to the amount of the auto insurance coverage for each person in the Med-Pay insured vehicle, regardless of fault. The limits on this type of car insurance coverage are usually in amounts of $1,000, $2,500, $5,000, or $10,000. Med-Pay benefits do not have to be repaid if the negligent driver’s car insurance company pays damages.
Usually, we allow our clients to settle their own property damage claim with the appropriate insurer. On occasion, the faulty driver’s insurer refuses to pay for property damage, and we take over the claim at no charge to the client. To get started, you should get several quotes from reputable auto repair shops and auto mechanics for the repair of your car. Try to find out which shops the insurer respects because they’ve done business before. At least one quote should be from a dealer. If you car is totaled, evaluate the fair market value of your car through several sources. Online sources include Edmunds New and Used Car Guide and Kelly Blue Book, and the source used by most insurers is the NADA Guides. Next, choose whether to attempt the property damage settlement with your own insurance company or with the negligent driver’s insurer. It usually is better to begin with the negligent driver’s insurer so that you avoid the discount for your deductible. If the adverse driver’s insurer will not settle with you, or the settlement offer is unreasonable, you can contact your own insurance company to see what they would do. Don’t forget to include amounts for tax, title, and license fees you paid when you purchased your vehicle as part of your property damage claim. Also include the reasonable value of any accommodations you had to make while your car was in the shop, such as your rental car expenses.