Automotive Accident & Vehicle Collision Attorneys
Lee’s Summit roads have become extremely hazardous due to negligent and inattentive driving. People talk on their cellular phones and constantly text while driving. Driving while intoxicated has also become a problem with people driving to and from bars, and even as far away as the Power & Light District. Drug use connected to driving also causes many auto accidents. Sadly, tired and overworked truck drivers also cause personal injury from car wrecks. These are just a few of the reasons negligent auto accidents occur. The automotive accident injury lawyers at Hamilton & Associates have handled hundreds of lawsuits involving car accidents. We have resolved countless auto accident and injury claims in Lee’s Summit and surrounding areas.
Car accident cases also have new laws. You’ll need a Lees Summit attorney who’s masters these laws. For years, the insurance industry has successfully lobbied and got laws to limit jury verdicts and take away the rights of auto accident victims. This has been paired with commercials and press releases that make car crash claims and lawsuits look petty and unfair. Have you seen the commercials and news stories?
This matters because it makes the job of a law firm bringing an automobile accident injury claim more complex and difficult. It requires a car wreck attorney to constantly stay up-to-date with the laws, jury attitudes, the judges and court personnel. The injury attorneys at Hamilton & Associates fight in Jackson County, Missouri courtrooms every day, getting compensation for individuals and their families harmed by auto accidents. It’s not idle talk. The victim of a Lee’s Summit car wreck needs an injury attorney who specializes in this specific area of the law, especially specific to Jackson County and Southeast Kansas City.
Speak with one of our Lee’s Summit car accident attorneys right away if you have been involved in a car wreck. Crucial evidence is lost in the hours and days following an auto accident. Weather covers tracks, skid marks in the road wear away, witnesses forget details, even insurance companies can interfere with an injury attorney’s investigation. Don’t let your vehicle collision case fall to the wayside by letting time slip away.
From simple rear-end car accidents to complex injury and wrongful death cases involving car wrecks, truck accidents and motorcycle crashes, our Lee’s Summit area law firm routinely handles all aspects of injury accident litigation. We are well versed in Missouri’s constantly changing laws relating to automobile accident liability and injury insurance, including the no-fault, comparative fault and uninsured motorist laws. Our law firm is experienced in dealing with the sophisticated issues involving auto accident reconstruction, biomechanics, and human factors that often arise in catastrophic injury auto accident cases. Been in a car crash in Lee’s Summit? You’ll need us.
Frequently Asked Automotive Accident Questions
- Why do I need a Lee’s Summit injury lawyer? The insurance company offered to pay my medical bills.
- My friend knows a lawyer that handled a traffic ticket for him several years ago. Why can’t that lawyer represent me in my personal injury case?
- What should I look for in choosing a lawyer to represent me?
- How can I afford a lawyer?
- Will I have to put up any money to get started?
- Isn’t it expensive to pursue a claim involving serious injuries, medical malpractice, or a defective product? Who pays for the out-of-pocket expenses to prosecute my case?
- What is my case worth?
- I’m not the “suing” type. Can my auto accident claim be resolved without actually filing a lawsuit?
- Will my case go to trial in Jackson County or Lee’s Summit if we do have to file suit?
- I’ve hear jury awards are more conservative than they used to be. Are the large verdicts I read about in the newspaper unusual?
- Will you speak with me before settling my case? How much say do I have in the process?
- How long will it take before we go to trial?
- What is a deposition?
1. Why do I need a Lee’s Summit injury lawyer? The insurance company has offered to pay my medical bills.
In Missouri, insurance companies offer money up-front to avoid paying the full amount they promised to pay in their insurance contract. This is an old trick; it works. Life happens; people have bills to pay, debts get past due, people need money sooner, not later. Insurance companies understand this; heck, the auto accident attorneys at our law firm understand this. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” as they say… It is perfectly legal if you agree to take the money; the insurance company is off the hook. So, why shouldn’t you take the money they’re offering you for your Lee’s Summit injury auto accident?
Maybe you should; maybe you shouldn’t. That depends on your circumstances. Call our law firm. Talk to a Lee’s Summit injury attorney. We won’t charge you for an initial consultation. You’ll at least have a better understanding to make a decision.
Missouri law allows an injured person to be compensated or “made whole” by the person who caused the injury or auto accident. Obviously, how much money a person is entitled to depends on the specific facts, like how injured the person was, how bad the fault of the person is who cause the auto accident, etcetera. Full compensation does not mean paying the medical bills. Serious injury typically means treatment in the future, for future loss of work, for lifelong disability and for personal losses. A person with a serious injury from a Lee’s Summit auto accident is not adequately compensated with a payment of medical bills and property damage. Worse still, some injuries, such as back injuries, get worse over time and bills will escalate. A $5,000 bill can turn into a $50,000 bill quickly. What happend to that person who settled early and did not consult an injury attorney? They are out of luck; they have to get the government to pay their bills (assuming that is even an option). No one wants to be a burdenon society. Call our law firm. Get some good advice on your Jackson County, Lee’s Summit automobile accident.
2. My friend knows a lawyer that handled a Jackson County traffic ticket for him several years ago. Why can’t that lawyer represent me in my personal injury case?
Lee’s Summit personal injury car accident claims are brought against parties who are represented by insurance adjusters and defense lawyers hired by the insurance company. Every Missouri insurance company works hard to keep its losses as low as possible. They do that by aggressively defending claims. The less it pays an injured victim; the more profits it makes.
You can expect that the person who injured you in the car crash will be represented by an attorney with a great deal of experience in personal injury defense. You should hire a lawyer that is an expert in pursuing personal injury accident claims, who can best protect your interests.
We do traffic tickets here at Hamilton & Associates. We know these are good attorneys who do a good job. Here is the difference: large injury auto accident litigation is a specialty field. A law firm cannot practice in an area it is not familiar and expect to get a favorable result. Injury automobile accident litigation takes decades of constant experience to master. Furthermore, it takes focus. We know how other areas of law operate. There are contant phone calls, clients coming in, stopping by; constant interruptions. It is easy as an attorney to handle what is happening right now to the expense of what will happen tomorrow. Auto accident cases take a long time to “work up.” It is all too easy as an attorney to put-off these important matters. Focus is what the car crash client needs; focus is what we give you.
Before hiring an injury lawyer, research the law firm and lawyers you are considering. Ask for information about the lawyer’s education, training and experience. Ask the lawyer to tell you about his/her experience in dealing with personal injury car crash cases in Jackson County, Missouri and Lee’s Summit. You have every reason to choose experience with your specific case.
Ask about the lawyer’s trial and courtroom experience. You need assurance that if your case goes to trial, your lawyer has the knowledge and experience to take you there. Most accident cases don’t go to trial, right? So why is this important? The reason is that in order to get a reasonable settlement amount, the other side’s insurance company needs to believe that your personal injury attorney will get even more money from them at trial if they don’t settle (and they’ll have to pay their own attorney’s large fees). Insurance companies keep records on which attorneys have experience and which don’t. Choose experience. Further, the attorneys for the insurance company can tell if your accident attorney is preparing for trial. If they aren’t; they won’t give you a reasonable settlement offer, because they won’t have to. Experience is important in choosing a auto accident personal injury attorney.
Ask the lawyer to go over the attorney’s fee contract with you in detail, and be sure you understand how the lawyer’s fees and costs will be paid at the end of the case. 33% plus expenses is normal for a simple, quick personal injury case. 40% plus expenses is customary for personal injury cases where a law suit is filed, ven where the case goes all the way through trials and appeals. 50% plus expenses is unusual. These large fee cases are for risky law suits that are also expensive (for example, defective product design cases and class actions).
Virtually all car accident attorneys handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer will not charge you a fee for his time and attorney’s fees unless you receive a recovery of money. In virtually all cases, you will not have to front any money whatsoever. Better still, if no money is made from the lawsuit and you loose, you do not have to pay your injury attorney back for his time or even for the money he is out getting records, hiring experts, etc.. This is why attorney’s take a sizable cut of the money from the case (see the paragraph just before this one). Personal injury attorney take big financial risks trying to get you reimbursement for your losses.
How much money will the injury attorney get if you do win (through trial of a settlement)? If you get money from a settlement or after trial, then the attorney’s fee is based on an agreed percentage of the gross amount recovered. This means the attorney gets what you two agreed to at the beginning of the case. It will be a fraction of the total settlement (33% or 40% or 50%, plus expenses like expert fees and copy charges).
The auto accident lawyers at Hamilton & Associates charge contingency fees that depend on the amount of work your case will take. We also take into account the profitability of the case and the risk or a victory or loss. Typically 33-1/3% is normal in a case that is settled before the need for a lawsuit arises, a 40% fee is used when a lawsuit becomes necessary and is contested. 50% occasionally occurs for very risky and difficult cases. You will know this in advance.
The percentage that we make as an attorney’s fee does not include the costs of pursuing a claim. This is , a requirement set out by the Missouri Bar Association. Attorney ethics rules require this. Don’t worry though, it is almost always a very small amount compared to the total size of money that is paid out. These costs are payable separately, and not as a part of the contingent fee.
Many law firms may require you to pay these costs in advance, at Hamilton & Associates we understand that the consequences of an car accident make it difficult, if not impossible, for your family to advance the costs of a case. After all, you have bills to pay too. In most cases, we pay the costs, and only ask to be reimbursed at the end of the case when your personal injury recovery is received.
No. We handle auto accident and personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means there is an agreement between you and our law firm. It’s a simple one. We will pay for the costs of your car wreck case up front. You don’t pay a dime. If we are not successful, we are out all of those costs. Still, you do not pay. If we are successful, then you will get most of the money. We will get a smaller portion of the money. Costs will also be deducted at that point.
How much money will you have to pay at the end? That depends on our agreement. In easy cases where a lawsuit does not have to be filed, we typically take one third. In cases that are more complex and difficult, we take forty percent. In highly complex, expensive cases that are also difficult, you take fifty percent and we take fifty percent (we do all the work. You get half the take; we get half the take).
In any event, we will discuss your case with you in detail before we start. We’ll come to an agreement regarding payment at the end. You pay nothing up front.
6. Isn’t it expensive to pursue a claim involving personal injury from a car crash? Who pays for the out-of-pocket expenses to prosecute my case?
Yes. It is very expensive bringing an automobile accident case where there is personal injury. Costs can be thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars and more. More still is the cost in time. It may not seem like it from a client’s perspective, but a personal injury auto accident law firm will spend $50,000 to $100,000 in time on a single case! That is typical. Cases involving auto accidents and lawyers are expensive.
Our law firm pays for the out-of-pocket expenses of your case while we pursue it. You don’t pay; we pay. If we get no money for you; we charge you nothing for our time. If our law firm does make money, then we deduct the costs from the profits at the end.
That depends. Every case is unique. The value of your case depends on how serious your personal injury was, the type of personal injury that it is, how your future will be regarding your disability and medical condition and treatment. The value of your case depends upon how good or bad the witnesses are, and how likeable your and their witnesses are (remember, we are selling our side to a jury of people). The case’s value depends upon where the case is being filed, and who the personal injury automobile accident lawyers are.
How is your auto accident case valued? You have to rely upon our experience. That is one of the benefits of hiring our Lee’s Summit auto accident personal injury law firm. We have over forty years of experience doing specifically automobile accidents and specifically in Jackson County, Missouri and Lee’s Summit. That experience let’s us give a highly educated prediction of your car wreck case value.
The easiest way to find out is give us a call at 816-540-2161. We’ll talk your case over, give you our opinions, no pressure, no commitment, and then you’ll know.
8. I’m not the “suing” type. Is there any way my auto accident claim can be resolved without filing a lawsuit in Jackson County?
Most personal injury automobile accident claims made by lawyers are resolved before a jury trial. Many are resolved without a lawsuit being filed. Naturally, this is our goal as well.
The sooner a case is resolved to everyone’s happiness; the better off we all are. You do not have to wait to get the money you are entitled to. Our law firm does less work and incurs lower costs. Yes, your personal injury car accident case can be settled by our law firm without a lawsuit being filed in Jackson County, Missouri.
Keep in mind that it may happen that a lawsuit must be filed by one of our attorneys for your personal injury from your car accident. This is because it is often the case that insurance companies will not offer reasonable reimbursement without being forced to offer it through a lawsuit. Insurance companies and defense car crash attorneys know that some people are flat against filing lawsuits. Therefore, they make everyone file a lawsuit or take a very small amount of money, hoping that the person injured in the car wreck will take the money rether than file a law suit.
Mediation, arbitration and other dispute resolution services are options for your car wreck personal injury case. However, remember, these are successful only after a lawsuit if filed and our attorneys have litigated your auto crash case. There is no way around this in nearly all cases.
Yes, any trial on a auto accident case will be in Jackson County, Missouri. No, your case will not necessarily go to trial.
Lee’s Summit Municipal Court lacks jurisdiction to handle civil personal injury cases. It is a city court. However, nearly all of Lee’s Summit (except a small part over by Lake Winnebego) lies in Jackson County, Missouri. Personal injury accident cases are matters for State jurisdiction here in Missouri. Thus, your case will go to court in State Court in Jackson County, Missouri. You’ll have two choices of where to file, typically. Our law firm can fie your auto accident case in Independence or in downtown Kansas City. Really, they are both pretty good jurisdictions in order to make a personal injury claim. However, for various reasons, most auto accident cases prefer Jackson County Circuit Court over in Independence. Expect your personal injury case to be filed there.
Your car wreck case will not automatically go to trial. Most cases settle before trial. Remember, our law firm has decades of experience in personal injury car accident lawsuits. We know the risks, rewards and what needs to be done. So too, the defense personal injury attorneys hired by the other side’s insurance company will have similar experience (this is why you need our special experience). In most cases, sooner or later, both sides will come to an understanding of the value of the case and an agreement will be reached. Sometimes, this is before the personal injury lawsuit is even filed. Other times, this is after your auto accident case has gone through the court system for a period of times. In unusual situations, car wreck cases settle just prior to trial.
10. I’ve heard that jury awards in Jackson County and Lee’s Summit are more conservative than they used to be. I’ve heard that the large verdicts I see in the news are unusual. Is this true?
Yes. To be frank, large jury verdicts have always been unusual (at least in the half century our law firm has been in the personal injury field). Jury verdicts for car wreck cases are larger than they used to be. This is due to inflation (everything costs more than it used to). It is due to the increased costs of medical bills (medical care costs more so legal reimbursement for that larger medical bill is more). In spite of these rising costs, the perception of larger auto accident personal injury verdicts is largely a media myth. It is an easy news story to report on a large auto accident jury verdict, just as it is an easy news story to report on a lottery win. Still, these are very rare instances. I can tell you that the large jury verdict stories generally leave a key detail out as to why the verdict was so high. (Remember, often it’s the loosing side who sends out the corportate press release).
The results in an automobile accident claim involving personal injury will depend upon the facts of that particular case. The only way to predict the results of your is to have one of our attorneys evaluate your car wreck claim.
Yes. Our lawyers will discuss your case in detail before ever settling your car wreck case. Indeed, this is a requirement of our license to practice law. We will communicate every offer to you, give you our recommendation, and give you the opportunity to choose.
No case will be settled without your expressed consent. You will have all the details and our analysis to help you.
That depends. Assuming that your car accident case does go to trial, one can expect to wait at least two years before trial. That is a long time, but is a consequence of a very busy personal injury court system here in Jackson County, Missouri. Each court from Independence to Lee’s Summit will differ in the amount of time it takes to bring a case to trial. Sometimes, the court’s schedule will open up. Other times, a court’s schedule will get busier and busier. The time to bring your personal injury case to trial will depend on when the case is set and what court we are talking about.
A deposition is a formal interview taken by one of the attorneys in your personal injury automobile case. It is a way to preserve testimony that can be presented to the Jackson County jury at trial. Lawyers take depositions in personal injury cases for many reasons. The particular witness may be unavailable at trial time. An expert may be too expensive to pay to bring to trial, given the value of the case (Remember, in the end, it’s mostly your money). Depositions are taken for defensive purposes (to prepare for cross examinatin at trial). Depositions can be taken for settlement purposes.
The witness sits in the law office or some other meeting area. The auto accident attorneys ask questions, one at a time. A court reporter is there typing down every word that is said. Later o a transcript is prepared setting out who all said what. This is a deposition.