Although only a small percentage of Missouri personal injury cases go to trial, an experienced Springfield personal injury lawyer is still a huge asset when negotiating a settlement. The initial offer that an insurance company will make is guaranteed to be very low. An injured victim may be tempted to take any offer, just to get it over with and get some money to pay their bills, but this can be a mistake. It is important to wait at least until the seriousness of the injuries and the total amount of medical expenses can be ascertained.
Frequently an injury will not heal as expected, requiring further expensive treatment, therapy, or even more surgeries. If the victim has already settled the claim, they can be left holding the bag for high medical costs.
Whether your Missouri personal injury case is settled via direct negotiation with the insurance company, alternative dispute resolution via an outside mediator, or goes to trial, the services of an experienced attorney who knows your rights and what your claim is truly worth are always to your advantage.
The collision occurred in August of '08 when Tracy Rauls was driving on U.S. 61. A tractor-trailer driven by Travis Michael Obritsch turned left from the highway and hit her vehicle. As a result of this crash, Rauls suffered significant, disabling and permanent injuries. The main one was a severe ankle injury that did not respond to treatment and eventually required multiple surgeries.
Rauls and her husband sued both the truck driver and the trucking company for negligence and loss of consortium. (Loss of consortium is a claim usually filed by the injured party's spouse. It refers to the inability the injured spouse to have normal marital relations either for a period of time, or permanently as a result of the accident.)
Obritsch and the trucking company that employed him, BMC Transportation Co., of Columbus, Neb., denied all allegations against them. They at first claimed any injury was caused by Tracy Raul's negligence. They disputed the severity and permanency of her injuries.
The case was referred by Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Cape Girardeau) to mediation, known as "alternative dispute resolution."
During the first round of mediation, the couple asked for $3.2 million in damages and was offered only $350,000. However, the couple would not accept this low offer because Tracy Rauls was not healing, and the overall ongoing costs of her treatment could not yet be determined.
Instead of allowing the case to proceed to trial when agreement couldn't be reached, the judge ordered more time for the parties. By the next round of mediation, Rauls had recovered more, and it was clearer just how severe her injuries actually were, and what further treatment would be required.
The case was finally settled with a 2 million dollar award.
If you have been injured in a Missouri car or semi-truck accident, do not try to negotiate with the trucking companies insurance company yourself. Call the Springfield, Missouri personal injury law firm of Aaron Sachs and Associates to assist you. We have five offices statewide, including: Cape Girardeau, Columbia, Joplin, Springfield and Kansas City.Attorney meetings by appointment only