car accident attorney in Joplin
Every car accident attorney in Joplin recognizes that these types of legal cases can be complicated. Nevertheless, car accident victims are entitled to compensation for their injuries and property damage. Because these cases usually require substantial litigation, and therefore substantial expense, it is wise to have a qualified and experienced car accident attorney in Joplin to assess your claim. Prior assessment can help you determine the potential strengths and weaknesses of your case before you start the litigation process. Attorneys also know when it is best to get an expert witness involved.

Experts can help to prove who was at fault

The first step in proving a car accident claim is establishing who was at fault, or in some cases, that you were less at fault than the other driver. Fault is not always obvious in every case, either. In situations where that is the case, both sides may call an expert witness to testify regarding who was at fault. An expert witness will analyze the accident and determine, based on the evidence, who or what caused the accident. Their expert findings are based on the evidence, the facts in the case, and their expert opinions.  There are different types of experts.  Some may also provide their opinions as to physical injuries and financial damages. Some of the common types of experts used in car accident cases include doctors, economists, engineers, and accident re-constructionists.

You must prove that your injuries were caused by the car accident

Despite the basic fact that you were injured, your car accident attorney in Joplin will need to be able to establish that your injuries were actually caused by the car accident. This can be a complicated issue if you have a related pre-existing injury. Some clients may not realize that, even if fault can be proven, it is still necessary to prove your injuries and how they were caused.

What does the term “damages” refer to?

In personal injury cases, the term “damages” refers to the monetary compensation to which an injured victim may be entitled. In order to prove the extent of your injuries, an expert witness may be necessary. Most commonly, a medical expert can be used to explain the treatment required for those injuries. That includes past, present and future treatment. A medical expert can also explain the less obvious pain and suffering that a victim is likely to endure.

Settling a personal injury claim

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, there are basically two ways to receive compensation for that injury. You can either settle the case out of court or obtain a judgment from the court. Although a jury verdict in a civil lawsuit would likely result in a larger recovery, jury verdicts are never guaranteed. Indeed, most personal injury cases settle before trial.

When does settlement usually occur?

Generally speaking, settlement will occur when either the insurance carrier or the defendant makes an offer of payment before liability has been proven. The offer of settlement can occur before the lawsuit is filed. It can also be made after the lawsuit has been filed, but before the case goes to trial. A settlement can occur virtually at any point before a jury verdict, or before the court enters an order dismissing the case. In some cases, a settlement can be reached while the jury is deliberating.

Companies often want to keep the cases confidential

Keeping a case out of the public eye can be especially important for larger companies that have a reputation to protect. For example, if a company has produced a defective product that has only injured a few people, the company will likely opt for a quiet out-of-court settlement. That way they can avoid the inevitable publicity of a trial. When a settlement agreement is drafted, the company will insist on terms that include a requirement of confidentiality.

What happens once a settlement is reached?

If you reach a settlement at any point, part of the terms of the settlement will be that you give up your right to pursue all potential claims against that defendant, arising out of the accident or incident. This is accomplished by signing a full release with regard to liability. For instance, in a car accident case, the auto insurance carrier might offer you $25,000 to settle the case. In order to actually receive that $25,000, you must agree to either not sue that defendant for the car accident, or to dismiss any lawsuit that is already pending regarding the car accident.
If you have questions regarding car accidents or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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