It used to be you did not need to involve a lawyer if you were hurt in an auto accident. Below are 3 reasons why you should strongly consider consulting with Kansas City Injury Lawyer Doug Horn before trying to handle your case on your own.
- Horn Law Case Evaluations
If you have been hurt in a car accident, it is important that we perform a detailed case evaluation in order to determine the full amount necessary to obtain a fair and full settlement. At Horn Law, we take into account the liability, applicable law, legal aspects, insurance policies, and the economic and non-economic damages incurred by our client. A proper case evaluation sets the tone and is a vital part of maximizing our client’s recovery.
- Horn Law’s Legal Leverage
Because of our experience in personal injury law and our track record in previous cases, we have an advantage in getting the best possible results. If an insurance company is being difficult or unfair in negotiations, we will file the claim as a lawsuit. This is called “legal leverage” and it is an important part of resolving cases, all types of claims, including small, medium, and larger claims in a timely manner.
- Horn Law Negotiations
Most people who have inside experience with Horn Law are familiar with both Doug Horn and Laurie Del Percio. Both Horn & Del Percio combine their efforts to fully prepare the evidence in individual cases. We must be able to prove every aspect of the case and show why the client deserves a larger recovery. Detailed preparation, that starts early on, makes a big difference in negotiating with insurance company representatives and defense counsel.
Solid case evaluations, leverage, and negotiating from strength are the key components of maximizing a car accident victim’s recovery.
Earlier this month attorneys at Horn Law recovered a large insurance claim settlement for an Independence family injured by a drunk driver in 2014. The total settlement, which was in excess of $358,000, represented a full settlement for the driver of a vehicle and her 3 children. While the collision was violent with a severe force of impact, the mother and back seat children were spared from serious injury.
Lead Attorney Doug Horn, commenting on the size of the settlement, described the case as one of “aggravated liability”. Horn says that what made the case particularly troublesome was that the man responsible for the collision was drunk, uninsured, and living outside of Missouri. As a result, Horn Law brought the family’s claims under his client’s uninsured motorist coverage.
“This case is a perfect example of why it is so important that people protect themselves by having full insurance coverage with higher policy limits. In my experience more drivers are not insured. We are all subject to a new universe of roadway risk when we are behind the wheel” Horn said.
Horn urges all drivers to periodically check with their insurance agents to make sure they have proper coverages in place. “What used to be considered ample insurance limits, isn’t so true anymore.”
Having been in the position of having to select a lawyer, I thought the following may be of benefit to persons facing an injury claim. Because an injured person ordinarily only gets one chance to make an insurance claim settlement, choosing the right lawyer is important.
First and foremost, never select a personal injury lawyer based on an advertisement. While many very good injury lawyers advertise, it is best that you do not make any assumptions about the lawyer’s abilities, either positive or negative, based on an advertisement. Instead, before you call a lawyer, do a thorough review of the lawyer’s website. You can gain important information from a website, including the specific types of cases that lawyer or law firm handles, whether or not the firm offers free consultations, the lawyer’s background, etc. Overall, a website can give you a good sense of whether that particular lawyer is a good fit.
Upon meeting with a personal injury lawyer, try and gain some insight into the lawyer’s track record. The lawyer should have a good amount of experience in cases that are similar to your case. For instance, if you have suffered a blow to the head and have been diagnosed with a concussion, you will do best with a lawyer who has had experience with brain injury cases. The lawyer with specific experience in your type of case is better able to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of your case and is generally in a better position to formulate a successful legal strategy. Please take note – if you are initially meeting with a paralegal or someone else who will not be in charge of your case, you are probably in the wrong office.
Because injury lawyers get very busy, it is important that the lawyer you are working you hire has a capable and responsive staff. First, a paralegal or other assistant that is working directly on your case can help facilitate communications and keep the case moving in a positive direction. Secondly, it has been my experience that behind every good lawyer stands an excellent administrative staff. Because so much of the work connected with an injury claim is detail oriented, it is important that your lawyer is able to rely upon his or her staff to make sure the case preparation is flawless.
As a Kansas City crash lawyer, Attorney Doug Horn has seen a sizeable change in his law practice over the last several years. “Since 2009 our law firm is handling a lot more crash cases involving texting while driving. There is no doubt that drivers are facing new dangers on the road”. Horn said. While texting teen drivers make up a considerable number of distracted drivers, Horn added that adult drivers are becoming the largest segment of distracted drivers as they are using their smart phones to keep up with busy work, personal, and family communications.
Horn has characterized the distracted driving epidemic as a “new universe of roadway risk” and he feels the problem may get worse. “With the proliferation of the cell phone, and the fact that cell phone use behind the wheel is both habit forming and addictive, this has become a public health crisis”.
As it relates to his law practice, Horn says that distracted driving accidents are causing more serious injuries. Because a distracted driver is not paying attention to the road, the collisions are more severe, causing a greater probability of serious injury, especially to the head and neck.
Top personal injury lawyers in the U.S., including Horn Law’s Laurie Del Percio, were in Miami last week attending the Trial Lawyers Summit. The exclusive event gave the lawyers in attendance an opportunity to discuss innovative approaches to maximizing client awards, settlements and verdicts.
For Del Percio, the Summit allowed her to hone skills in selecting a jury. “Jury selection is a very important part of a trial and has been a crucial part of my success. I am excited to put in place several of the ideas discussed during the conference”, said Del Percio.
The 4 day conference near Miami Beach was all business for Del Percio as she spent over 24 hours in trial-related lectures. For lawyers involved in catastrophic personal injury cases, the Summit provided an opportunity for acclaimed lawyers to share ideas that help them obtain better results. “The last several years I have worked extremely hard to help our clients gain fair and full compensation, I want to keep the momentum so we can continue to help people who need it the most”, Del Percio added.
Del Percio, who works out of Horn Law’s Independence headquarters, concentrates in high stakes personal injury claims arising from motor vehicle collisions, work-related accidents, medication error, and other events causing disabling injury and death.
Attorney Doug Horn offered his support of a bill designed to strengthen Missouri’s distracted driving law this past Wednesday in Jefferson City. Speaking to a Missouri Senate committee, Horn presented his case for a law which would prohibit all drivers from texting while driving.
Currently, Missouri law only prohibits drivers 21 and younger from texting and driving. Drivers over 22 years old are able to text and drive.
“Our present distracted driving law makes no sense, especially when you consider that adults represent the largest segment of distracted drivers”, Horn said. At the time Missouri’s present distracted driving law went into effect, texting while driving was viewed primarily as a teen driver issue. Horn told lawmakers that distracted driving is now prevalent among adults. He said studies have shown that over 30% of adult drivers in Missouri admit to using their cell phone while driving to talk, text, email, surf the web, access apps, and a host of other smart phone functions.
Horn, who concentrates in motor vehicle accident law and crash litigation, has seen his caseload change over the last 10 years. “Not only are we handling more car accident cases caused by a distracted driver, but those cases involve collisions which are much more violent, resulting in more serious injuries”.
Horn also mentioned that recent statistics support his view that Missouri motorists are facing a new universe of risk on the road. In 2015, Missouri traffic fatalities rose by 11%. Horn attributes part of this increase to drivers using cell phones.
In order to receive fair compensation for your truck accident injuries, it is imperative you secure certain key pieces of evidence regarding the accident, the truck driver, and the trucking company. Documentation is also important, such as the driver’s logs, bills of lading, and delivery receipts. The more evidence you preserve, the higher your chances for a valid claim and fair compensation.
Pieces of Evidence to Collect
Missouri truck accidents are some of the most devastating. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, do what you can to protect these five pieces of evidence:
- Physical Evidence from the Accident – This can include roadway debris, photographs of skid marks, photographs of the positioning of the truck and vehicle (and any other vehicles involved), and photographs of the weather conditions and road condition. If you are unable to gather this evidence, have a passenger, family member, or friend go to the site and take photos on your behalf.
- Witness Statements – Written and signed statements from eyewitnesses who saw the truck accident is critical. You do not need to get their statement at the scene, but you must secure their contact information so that you or an attorney can follow up with statements and questions later.
- Electronic Onboard Recording Devices – Semi-trucks throughout the U.S. have electronic recording devices that monitor all movements of the truck, including movements leading up to a crash. It can also track the number of hours the semi-truck is in operation each day and help determine if the driver was pushing past the legal number of hours they are permitted on the road at one time.
- Trucking Company Records – These may be difficult to obtain on your own; therefore, you should speak to a personal injury attorney in Missouri. An attorney can request the records, including the driver’s employment application, their driving history, Out of Service inspections, and all maintenance records for the truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all trucking companies to keep these documents.
- The Truck – Your attorney can draft and send what is known as a “spoliation letter” to the trucking company and their insurance company, requesting that the trailer is preserved – including all contents – until your own expert has had the opportunity to examine it. Because a trucking company will be in a hurry to repair the truck and get it back into operation, this is one of the first steps you should take.
Speak With a Missouri Truck Accident Attorney
Horn Law, located in the Kansas City Metro, can help you with your truck accident claim. We will petition for the proper records, help collect and preserve evidence, and use our expertise to exercise your right to fair compensation. Contact an attorney online or call 816-795-7500 to schedule a no obligation consultation.
Modern day driver’s vehicles are equipped with many features created by technology to better keep us safe on the road. However, driving is more dangerous than ever. Today our driving culture is full of distracted, speeding, and risky drivers. The CDC reports that in 2010, 1 in 5 accidents were caused by distracted driving. So how do we solve this problem and create a better, safer, driving culture?
We need to adopt and implement driver safety programs that are directed towards all drivers regardless of age. We need to make our distracted, speeding, and risky drivers into drivers that are alert, responsible, and defensive. Drive by Example is a versatile driver safety program that aims to inform about distracted and dangerous driving and offer solutions to our problematic driving culture. We need schools, cities, and organizations to adopt driver safety programs and foster the growth of a better driving culture.
Drive by Example’s Doug Horn reports on current driving safety issues in a recurring segment on Kansas City Live, and you can view his videos on Youtube.