Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer
A personal injury occurs when you suffer physical and/or emotional harm in an accident someone else is responsible for. Many different accidents can lead to a personal injury, from car accidents to dangerous and defective products, and each one of these instances can result in serious damages.
Thousands of dollars in medical expenses, weeks of lost wages and a loss of future earnings, and long-term pain and suffering can take a toll on any Kansas City resident. Trust the Kansas City personal injury attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet to represent your personal injury claim and secure the settlement you need to recover.
Why Hire the Kansas City Injury Attorneys at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet
If you are filing a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim, you need an attorney on your side who will advocate aggressively for your best interests. The personal injury lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet have the skills, resources, and experience you need to build a strong case for your compensation.
- Our firm assumes all of the risks associated with your lawsuit. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not have to pay for our services unless we secure a settlement on your behalf.
- Our attorneys have over 25 years of combined experience handling litigation across multiple personal injury practice areas. We have the trial and negotiation experience necessary to handle your claim.
- We offer free, honest, and obligation-free case evaluations for each potential client. We will listen to your story, answer your questions, and walk you through your legal options before you decide whether or not you want to hire our firm.
Should You Hire a Personal Injury Attorney Even If Your Insurance Company Says You Don’t Need One?
You should always hire a personal injury attorney for your claim, even if the insurance company advises you against obtaining legal representation. Since the company has to pay for your damages, it is not in their best interest to pay you maximum possible compensation and you may receive lower settlement offers than you actually need.
The Kansas City personal injury lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet will protect your best interests in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. We will help you calculate your damages once you reach maximum medical improvement, and we will evaluate any settlement offers you may receive.
If you receive an insufficient offer, we will negotiate aggressively with the insurance company and will not hesitate to move your case to the courtroom to help you obtain the funds you need to recover.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you are filing a personal injury claim, you need a personal injury attorney on your side. Your lawyer will provide a number of benefits to help your case, including the following.
- Your attorney will have a wide range of investigative resources available to help build your claim, including access to expert witnesses and contacts within the police department.
- Your lawyer will have experience handling cases similar to yours, and will have a toolbox of strategies he or she can employ to help you obtain maximum possible compensation and build a compelling case.
- Your attorney will also have extensive experience in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. He or she will be able to advocate for your best interests in every scenario, and can handle negotiations with insurance adjusters and other attorneys with confidence.
In addition, your lawyer will have significant experience working in the Missouri civil court system, and developed relationships through this experience that can be beneficial to your case. For example, if you are in a car accident and suffer extensive injuries, your injury lawyer can connect you with accident reconstruction and medical experts who can provide testimony in your case.
How Are Personal Injury Attorneys Different from Other Attorneys?
Personal injury attorneys have different specializations and resources than other lawyers, such as criminal defense attorneys or corporate lawyers. Your injury attorney will have learned the intricacies of Missouri personal injury law, and will have developed the skills and strategies necessary to prove that an act of negligence occurred in your case.
How Long Can You Expect Your Case to Take?
Personal injury claims usually take at least a year, possible two years, from consultation to settlement. This process encompasses investigation, negotiations, the discovery process or exchange of evidence, and the trial itself.
Without a Kansas City personal injury attorney on your side, errors or unfamiliarity with the system can delay your case and it may take even longer to see compensation. Hiring a personal injury lawyer ensures you file your case in a timely manner and circumvent unnecessary delays.
What Are Common Causes of Personal Injuries?
Personal injuries can involve many different types of harm sustained in multiple types of accidents. Car accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice are some of the most common types of personal injury cases we handle.
Some of the most common injuries our firm sees in personal injury claims include the following.
- Traumatic brain injuries: From concussions to bleeding and swelling in the brain, traumatic brain injuries can have a major impact on your daily life. You may develop permanent brain damage that impacts your ability to function or return to work.
- Spinal cord injuries: These injuries involve damage to your spinal cord and vertebrae. Spinal cord damage can easily lead to paralysis and a loss of feeling or function below the injury site.
- Broken bones and fractures: Broken arms, legs, hips, ribs, wrists, and more can lead to serious pain. These are some of the most common injuries in accident claims, often requiring lengthy recovery times and extensive treatment.
- Mental health conditions: Suffering an accident can take a toll on your mental health, as well as your physical well-being. You may develop a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other forms of mental anguish.
- Burn injuries: Fires can occur in vehicle collisions, among many other types of accidents. If you suffer severe burns during your accident, you can experience permanent scarring and disfigurement and require intense treatment to restore your skin and tissue.
Is It Important to See a Doctor After an Accident?
After every accident, one of the very first steps you should take is to see a doctor. Even if you do not feel hurt immediately after the incident, shock may be numbing your pain, or you may have underlying injuries you are unaware of. Seeking prompt medical treatment can help remedy these injuries before they worsen. If your loved one was injured, make sure they seek proper care as soon as possible.
In addition, seeing a doctor as soon as possible will help preserve the validity of your claim. First, your medical records will be an important piece of evidence for your case, and you will need to see a doctor to obtain this documentation.
Second, waiting to seek treatment can cast doubt on the actual severity of your injuries. The insurance company may use the fact that you waited to see a doctor as evidence that your injuries are not serious or nonexistent, and this justification can lead to a lower settlement amount. Always seek medical attention as soon as possible after an accident.
Cases Handled at Our Kansas City Law Firm
At Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet, we handle multiple types of personal injury claims across many practice areas. Our experience and track record with these specialized cases has allowed us to develop skills and gather resources to help litigate your claim.
Some of the cases we handle in the Kansas City area include the following.
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Motorcycle accidents
- Dog bites and attacks
- Drunk driving collisions
- Defective and dangerous products
- Bicycle accidents
- Premises liability
- Truck accidents
Is It Worth It to Hire an Injury Lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri?
Hiring an experienced professional for any service provides you with a number of benefits that you would not otherwise have if you handled the situation alone. A personal injury attorney is no different.
A personal injury lawyer is an investment in your recovery. Your lawyer will have a wide range of resources available to use in your case that will come at no extra cost to you — all investigatory costs are part of your legal fees. Your attorney will also have experience handling negotiations, evaluating and calculating settlements, and filing paperwork in civil court — and any errors during this process can lead to significant consequences for your case.
Errors can delay the filing process, and if you wait too long to file, the court will dismiss your claim and you will lose your chances at recovery. In addition, you may not know the damages you qualify for, and may estimate that you need a lower settlement than you actually do. This can lead to you accepting insufficient settlement offers and not having the adequate funds to pay for your damages.
In addition, hiring a Kansas City personal injury attorney from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet comes at no risk to you. This is due to our contingency fee system, which helps make personal injury representation more accessible to all Missouri residents.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important to know the types of damages that you can claim. Without understanding your rights to compensation, you could recover a lower settlement than you deserve—leading to financial hardship in the future.
There are two types of damages in Missouri personal injury lawsuits: economic and non-economic. In certain cases, you could also recover a third category of compensation known as punitive damages.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages refer to the financial losses that you experienced because of your personal injury. Many people suffer from significant economic hardship after an unexpected accident; personal injuries often require extensive medical care and require you to be away from work for a long time.
In your lawsuit, you may be eligible to recover the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical expenses, such as surgeries, hospital stays, routine doctor’s visits, and prescription medications
- Lost wages during treatment and recovery periods
- Loss of future earnings if you are unable to return to work after your accident
- Property repairs and replacements for any damage that occurs in the accident
- Disability accommodations, including mobility equipment and home or vehicle modifications
- Specialized treatments and therapies that you require due to the injuries that you sustained in the crash
You can leverage several pieces of evidence to establish economic damages. For example, you can use your medical records, bills, and evaluations from medical experts to prove your healthcare expenses. Paystubs, time sheets, and correspondence with your employer to establish lost wages.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages involve the pain and suffering that you endured as a result of the personal injury. These losses can be physical, such as chronic pain, permanent disability, and disfigurement and scarring. You could also recover compensation for emotional pain and suffering, such as emotional distress, mental anguish, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because non-economic damages are intangible, you cannot use receipts or bills to prove them. Your lawyer from Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet can apply common methods used by insurance companies to estimate this portion of your award.
There are two common formulas used to calculate pain and suffering damages: the per-diem method and the multiplier method.
- The Per-Diem Method: Under this method, an insurance company will assign a dollar amount for every day that you cannot work due to your injury. The total amount will be your pain and suffering award.
- The Multiplier Method: Under this method, an insurance company will assign you a number between one and five. This number will be based on the severity of your injury, with one assigned to people with minor injuries and five assigned the people with very severe injuries. Your economic damages will be multiplied by this number, and the product will be your pain and suffering award.
Is There a Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Missouri?
Some states impose a limit or cap on the amount of damages a person can claim in a personal injury lawsuit. Missouri does not set a limit on economic or non-economic damages in most cases.
However, there is a cap on non-economic damages if your lawsuit involves medical malpractice. This limit changes every year, according to the Missouri Department of Insurance. As of 2022, the non-economic damages cap is as follows:
- If your medical malpractice claim involves non-catastrophic injuries, you could recover up to $450,098 in non-economic damages.
- If your medical malpractice claim involves catastrophic injuries or death, you could recover up to $787,671 in non-economic damages.
Can You Claim Punitive Damages in Missouri Personal Injury Cases?
In certain cases, you may be eligible for a third type of compensation: punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party for his or her extremely negligent actions. On the other hand, economic and non-economic damages are intended to reimburse you for the losses that you experienced.
According to the Revised Statutes of Missouri Section 510.261, you could recover punitive damages if you provide clear and convincing evidence of the following:
- The at-fault party intentionally harmed you without cause.
- The at-fault party acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.
For example, if you were hit by a driver who accidentally runs a red light, you are not likely to qualify for punitive damages. This is because your case likely involved simple negligence, or the driver’s failure to use an ordinary degree of care.
However, if the driver was drunk and racing with another vehicle at the time of the accident, you could establish that he or she acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others. Evidence like surveillance footage and police reports could help prove your case for punitive damages.
How Much Is a Personal Injury Settlement Worth?
If you plan on pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, you may wonder how much compensation you can recover. Because these settlements are based on the individual damages that you experienced, there is no average amount that you could expect to receive.
However, there are several factors that could impact the value of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the length of time you need to spend away from work.
The Severity of Your Injuries
People who have very severe injuries, like broken bones, amputations, or brain damage, often require more medical care. They may also spend a longer time away from work and are more likely to develop permanent complications than people with minor injuries.
Generally, the more serious your injuries, the higher your settlement will be because of all of the costs associated with it. Additionally, it will take you longer to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI), which will have an influence on your pain and suffering award.
Extensive Medical Care
Your past and future medical care will make up one of the largest portions of your personal injury award. If you require lots of medical care and need long-term treatment, your settlement will likely be higher.
The need for specialized treatment like rehabilitation may also increase the value of your award. For example, if you develop a spinal cord injury, you may need to attend physical therapy sessions to help regain some function in the affected areas. You can recover compensation for the cost of this therapy in your award.
If you develop permanent disabilities, you will likely require long-term medical care. You may also need to pay for accommodations like mobility equipment, home and vehicle modifications, or live-in caregivers. The pain and suffering portion of your award will likely be higher as well to account for the injury’s impact on your life.
Your Ability to Work
A personal injury can have a significant impact on your ability to earn a living. The longer you spend away from work while recovering from your injuries, the higher the lost wages portion of your settlement will be.
If you are unable to return to work at all because of your injury, you could also secure compensation for the future wages and benefits that you lost. If you need to take on reduced hours or a lower-paying position, you could recover compensation for the difference between your pre- and post-injury wages.
In these situations, your settlement will be larger than if you did not need to spend much time away from work or if the injury did not impact your ability to do your job.
Should You Accept the First Settlement Offer?
After an accident, you may be approached with a settlement offer from the at-fault party’s insurance company or his or her defense attorney. While you may be tempted to take this offer, it is important to speak with an attorney before you make any decision regarding a settlement.
This is because the first settlement is not likely to meet your needs. You may not have a clear picture of your injuries, damages, and how the accident is going to impact your life. You need to wait until you reach MMI before you can understand these important factors. If you accept a low settlement offer, you could experience extensive financial hardship in the future.
Before accepting any kind of settlement, it is important to speak with a lawyer at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet. Our Kansas City personal injury attorneys can evaluate any offers that you receive and determine if they are sufficient for your needs.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Typically Cost?
At Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet, we recognize that legal representation can be expensive. Our contingency fee system limits your out of pocket expenses and does not require you to pay any upfront costs.
Under a contingency fee agreement, you do not have to pay for any of our legal fees unless we secure a settlement on your behalf. No settlement, no invoice from our firm. If we do secure compensation for you, we will take an agreed-upon percentage of your final settlement as payment. Typically, contingency fee arrangements are around 33%.
How Long Do You Have to File a Lawsuit in Kansas City?
Missouri, like all other states, imposes a statute of limitations on lawsuits filed in Missouri civil court. The statute of limitations is a deadline by which you must file your claim, or the court will dismiss it and you will lose your chances at collecting maximum compensation.
Missouri Statute of Limitations
You have five years from the date of your accident to file your claim in Missouri civil court. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are not common in most personal injury lawsuits.
For example, if you are mentally incapacitated or under the age of 21 at the time of the accident, you have five years to file your individual case once you turn 21 or from the court declares you mentally competent. If the person responsible for your injury leaves Missouri during the five-year period, the length of his or her absence will likely not count as part of your filing deadline.
While this rule may seem restrictive, the statute of limitations ensures your evidence is fresh and your witnesses are reliable. Waiting too long to file your claim increases the chances that your evidence may not be available or viable enough to use in your case, and unreliable witness testimony can seriously harm your claim.
Contact the experienced Kansas City injury attorneys at our Missouri law firm to begin the filing process and ensure you meet this strict deadline. Our experts can give you legal advice and provide you with general information about the legal process.
Free Consultation with Our Experienced Kansas City Legal Team
Are you the victim of a serious injury in Kansas City? Don’t wait to seek help — contact the Kansas City personal injury lawyers at Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet as soon as possible. Our skilled personal injury attorneys are here to help guide you through the complex litigation process and legal system, helping you discover optimal pathways to maximum possible compensation so you can fully recover from your injuries.
Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our Kansas City personal injury lawyers. We are happy to meet with you at our offices in Kansas City, or an alternate location upon request.