Q. Why should I use the Krebs Law Firm as my personal injury attorney?
A. Because we are a small law firm, we can provide personal attention to each of our clients. Unlike some firms, there isn’t any pressure to swiftly settle injury or litigation cases at the first offer so we can quickly move on to the next case. We take the time with each client to determine a course of legal action that is right for the case and right for you. We will present you with your options and involve you in the decision making because we are not only knowledgeable about the law, but also at how to explain things so you can understand them. Secondly, we have vast experience working for insurance companies and thus know how to best go against them in seeking compensation for our clients. We know how insurance companies think and what we need to do to get the best outcome for our clients. Lastly, we firmly believe that people and/or businesses should be responsible for their actions and are committed to ensuring those responsible are held responsible. The Krebs Law Firm is proud of our reputation as one of the top auto accident lawyers in the area.
Q. What is a personal injury claim?
A. When someone is injured due to another’s misconduct, judgement error, illegal action or overall negligence, there can be a personal injury claim through the legal system. Negligence refers to the actions of the person who is at fault or who is responsible for causing the injury. Personal injuries, sometimes referred to as bodily injuries, can result from:
- Auto, Bicycle, Motorcycle, and Semi-Truck Accidents
- Nursing Home Mistakes and Abuse
- Work Injuries, or Workers’ Compensation
- Wrongful Death
- Closed Head Injuries or Brain Injuries
- Dangerous or Defective Product Injuries (Product Liability)
- Slip and Falls
- Toxic Exposures, Asbestos, Mesothelioma
Q. What kind of losses or expenses are covered in a personal injury claim?
A. Injury victims are entitled to recover money for all losses and expenses they incur as a result of an accident. These are called “damages.” Damages awarded that are dependent upon actual financial losses and expenses are called pecuniary damages, or monetary damages. Damages related to a more subjective nature like “pain and suffering” are called non-pecuniary damages. There could also be punitive damages awarded as punishment against someone causing an accident if, for example, the driver causing an accident completely disregarded the safety of others.
Many factors determine the amount that can be collected, including:
- The severity of the injury
- The amount of the medical bills
- The amount of time and money lost from work
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical disability
- Disfigurement and permanent scars
- Mental disability
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium for your spouse, past and future.
- Many out-of-pocket and other related expenses
Q. How much is an injury claim from an accident worth?
A. It is impossible for us to tell immediately how much money, if any, you will recover in connection with your personal injury case. There is no formula and each case is unique and different. In cases of serious injury, the ultimate recovery is often related to the amount of insurance coverage available, as well as the nature, extent, and duration of your injuries, along with an assessment of liability. As your lawyers, we feel it is our primary duty to obtain an amount of money which will fairly and justly compensate you for your injuries. We will make every effort to do this by locating all sources of money. We will advise you of our evaluation in this regard after a thorough review of your injury case.
In general, the amount of damages awarded depends on:
- The nature and extent of injury, including whether the injury is permanent, and the amount of disability
- Medical expenses, both past and what is reasonably certain to be incurred in the future. This includes mileage to and from the doctor or hospital.
- Wage loss, past and future and loss of capacity to earn a living
- Pain, suffering and mental anguish
- Property damage to your motor vehicle and other items of personal property
Q.How do I know if I have a personal injury claim?
A. To have a personal injury claim, you must first have been injured. This may be a physical injury or it may be an emotional injury. Secondly, your injury must have been caused by someone else (who will be the defendant) through their negligence. Lawyers and judges use the term “negligence” to describe the actions of the person who is at fault or who is responsible for causing the injury. If you are unsure about whether you have a personal injury case, please contact us for a free consultation. It is worth a small part of your time to thoroughly explore your options and ensure you are appropriately compensated for your injuries.
Q.What if the accident is partly my fault, do I still have a claim?
A. Yes. Even if an accident or injury was partially your fault you still have a claim. Lawyers and judges use the term “Comparative Fault.” In Missouri, the fault of all parties is compared, and the amount of your recovery is reduced by the percentage of your own fault. If you are found to be 10% responsible, you can still be entitled to 90% of the resulting compensation. In this way, each person is held accountable only for the percentage of their respective fault for the accident. But, even if you are mostly at fault for an injury or accident, you may still have a claim and be able to recover some compensation for your losses and injuries. Please come see us for a free consultation to consider the strength of your case, regardless. There is no cost to talk to us, even if you don’t end of hiring us.
Q.How do I know if I need an injury lawyer after an accident?
A. If you needed expert medical attention after an accident, you likely need legal representation. If you have been seriously injured or are unsure as to the outcome of your injury, then a lawyer should always be consulted as soon after your injury as possible and definitely before you give any statements or sign any papers of any kind. If you have been seriously injured, you will benefit by hiring an attorney to ensure the other party’s insurance company fully covers your medical bills and other financial losses you may incur. Insurance companies are focused on paying as little on claims as possible, so don’t let them take advantage of you. We offer a free consultation, with no obligation that you hire us. Health care costs of almost any kind can be expensive and you have nothing to lose by consulting an injury attorney.
Q.How much will hiring a personal injury attorney cost me?
A. Our first meeting with you about a potential personal injury claim is free. We will speak with you about the specifics of your case, make an evaluation and recommend the next steps. After this first initial free consultation there is no obligation for you to work with us. Should you choose us as your attorneys, we will work on a contingency fee basis which basically means that unless and until we are successful in obtaining some money for you, we will not charge you for our time working on your case. Please note that you as the client may be responsible for some expenses or costs associated with your case regardless of the outcome, and we may ask for these to be paid during the time in which we are working on your case.
Q.Can I represent myself in a personal injury case?
A. You are legally able to represent yourself in a personal injury case, but you should do so at the risk of not collecting enough money to cover all your expenses. Think of a personal injury lawyer as a specialist doctor. If you have an illness you may research your symptoms online and ask your friends for advice, but ultimately if you really want a true cure and treatment, you need to talk to a doctor. Similarly, with a personal injury case, you should ultimately consult an injury lawyer. Big insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind and you need someone who knows the system and can navigate for you. Insurance companies want to settle your case for the smallest amount possible and have a large team of people working against you. However, if you have an injury lawyer, those companies will give you and your case greater respect. Your injury lawyer is on your side and can be aggressive, gather necessary evidence, use the nuances of the law in your favor, consult and use expert witnesses, do all the paperwork and negotiate for you from a position of knowledge and strength. A personal injury case is not a do-it-yourself project.
Q.What is a Contingency Fee?
A. A Contingency Fee means that you do not pay any fee for legal services unless we successfully recover some compensation for you. Our payment is “contingent” upon the outcome of the case. The Krebs Law Firm uses this type of fee arrangement for personal injury cases because it creates a low risk scenario for the injured party, who already has enough to worry about with a medical recovery. You shouldn’t be denied the right to recover money for your medical bills because of worry about making hourly payments to an attorney. Please note that you as the client may be responsible for some expenses or costs associated with your case regardless of the outcome, and we may ask for these to be paid during the time in which we are working on your case. Fee arrangements for personal injury cases will be discussed at your free initial consultation.
Q. How long after an accident do I have to make a personal injury claim?
A. It depends. Each state “statutes of limitations” require you to file suit after an accident within a specific period of time, depending upon the circumstances of your case, or else you will be prohibited from obtaining any compensation for your injuries. It is always better to act sooner, so that your claim and your chance at recovery do not expire. An initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in our office is free regardless of if you hire us to represent you.
Q.If I have a personal injury claim do I have to go to court?
A. No. Most personal injury cases are settled out of court by the insurance companies and their attorneys. But sometimes a settlement may not be possible, or a settlement may not be in your best interest and a case may go to trial. Unlike some firms who take the first offers on the table, the Krebs Law Firm doesn’t automatically settle every case immediately. If a settlement doesn’t offer what we think is owed to you and justifiable by the facts of your case, we aren’t afraid to go to trial. If a case does go to trial, you most likely will have to appear so that your testimony can be heard.
Q.How long will it take to resolve my personal injury claim?
A. Each case is different. It depends on the circumstances and complexity of the case, the injury and the willingness of the opposing party to act reasonably. Many auto cases and slip and falls can settle within 3 to 9 months from the date of the accident. Many nursing home malpractice cases or wrongful death cases can take anywhere from 6 to 30 months to resolve depending on its complexity. Don’t expect to claim an injury and get a check the next day. Making a personal injury claim isn’t about trying to make some extra cash for the flat screen TV you want to buy next week. Filing a legal claim is a serious matter done to protect your health and recovery and compensate you for other expenses incurred as a result of an accident. Obtaining proper evidence and testimony and effectively proving a claim can involve dealing with multiple medical and insurance personnel with opposing interests and a lot of bureaucratic policies and procedures. It will take some time and we ask that you be patient.
Q.Why does it take so long to reach a resolution?
A. We cannot make your claim until after the doctors have given us reports stating exactly what your medical condition is and what they expect it to be in the future. They are wanting to identify when you have reached “maximum medical improvements”, or in other words, they know exactly what is wrong and you are recovering as such not to be concerned about other unknown injuries or illnesses. Naturally, for a serious injury, this could take a while and many times the doctors will be very slow in making these reports. If we try to settle your case before your medical condition is stabilized, you may lose money that you might be entitled to for a condition that did not show up until after your case was settled.
It is important to know that your case will not be settled until the damages have been determined and all investigations to determine who is liable have been completed. It generally takes several months to gather the necessary information. If a trial becomes necessary, it can take several years to complete a case. One of the most difficult requests we make of you is to have patience. We will work as hard and fast as possible to settle your case quickly.
Q.Where can I read more about current personal injury topics?
A. We write a blog about current personal injury topics and how the laws of Missouri apply. Read some of our posts at the Springfield Personal Injury Law Blog.
Legal issues are rarely black and white and likely can’t be answered in just a couple of sentences. If you have some complex legal questions about an accident case or other litigation issue, a sit down, face to face meeting with a lawyer is the best way to get answers and legal advice.
Call to set an appointment with a lawyer today at (417) 883-5886.
Here’s just a taste of what you’ll discover when you open the pages of this book:
- How to properly handle inquiries from the insurance company… it’s sad, but being a “nice guy” and answering “a few simple questions” can cost you dearly!
- Keys to determining just how much your case is worth – the many different factors that can literally mean thousands, if not tens, even hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
- 8 ways to make sure any lawyer you choose to represent you can make the most effective arguments on your behalf.
- DANGERS of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest – the key mistakes you do NOT want to make on Social Media immediately after your accident and while your case is being settled.
- What to do if the insurance company offers to pay your medical bills… do NOT just jump at the chance, it could well be a big WARNING sign going off!
- 6 common mistakes you do NOT want to make that could negatively affect your case in a big way.
I am pleased to announce my new Arkansas office location (by appointment only)
609 SW 8th Street, Suite 600
Bentonville, Arkansas 72712
(across from Walmart headquarters)