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Personal Injury Common Questions

Neustrom & Associates, p.a.     Salina, KS 67401

Winning Results for Over 3,000 Clients

           “Salina’s Premier Injury Law Firm”
Since 1979  

Personal Injury Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I was in an accident, what should I do?
Q. Why do I need an attorney?
Q. I am not sure if I have a case. Will I get charged for a visit to Neustrom & Associates office or for calling you to see if I have a case?
Q. Do I have to pay money to Neustrom & Associates  to start my case?
Q. I got hurt, but I may have been partly in the wrong. Do I  have a case?
Q. Should I can negotiate with the insurance company on my own?
Q. I have never sued anyone. Should I bring a claim?
Q. Do we have to go to trial?
Q. I was in a single car accident. What are my rights?
Q. I have read about cases of suits involving family members suing each other. Is that the right thing to do?
Q. I want the best, so I must need an attorney I saw on TV or from a large city.


Q. I was in an accident, what should I do?

A. First and foremost, obtain the necessary and appropriate medical care, your personal health and well-being should always be the paramount concern. If you have any suspicion that someone else may be liable for the injuries contact us for your free consultation and get educated on your rights and options under the circumstances, as soon as practicable. Do not talk to anyone from the insurance company until you have spoken first to an attorney.

Q. Why do I need an attorney?

A. You have one chance to get fully compensated for your injuries; without the benefit of an attorney you are at a significant disadvantage of the law, the facts and the ability to hold the insurance company accountable. People who cause injury should be responsible for the harm caused. You need to get your bills paid and receive enough to get back on your feet. You need money to take care of your future. Without an attorney these aspirations will be an almost certain impossibility.

This is because once an insurance company is notified that you are injured (regardless of whether you have made a claim or not) the insurance company machine commences and engages its adjusters and professional investigators to find grounds so that it can either deny liability, coverage, or pay you as little as possible for your injuries. Once you make a claim, you are battling some of largest corporations (and their attorneys) in the world; you need someone on your side to protect your rights and quickly and thoroughly gather the evidence for your case to show where the true fault of the injury rests.

To not obtain an attorney for an injury claim is like getting into a fist-fight with a blind fold and both hands tied behind your back because you don’t know the law and the implications of all the questions the insurance company is having you answer and until you get an attorney you pose no threat of fighting the insurance company when it tries to settle your case for much less than you are owed.

Even if you think the adjuster seems nice and cooperative understand they are working to pay you as little as possible. You need an advocate to serve as a buffer between you and the insurance company who knows the complexities of insurance law and can advise you accordingly. Any statements and comments you personally make to the insurance company (i.e. adjusters and investigators), although harmless on their face can seriously damage your case with respect to liability (i.e. who was at fault), coverage (does the circumstances surrounding the injury result in the insurance policy covering the injury) and fault (i.e. how much of the accident was your fault and were your injuries pre-existing).

Until you have legal representation you are communicating to the insurance company that you are not serious about your case. The consultation is free, so call Neustrom & Associates to ensure at a minimum that you have the knowledge to know what options are there for you.

Q. I am not sure if I have a case. Will I get charged for a visit to Neustrom & Associates office or for calling its office to find out if I have a case?

A. No, there is NO CHARGE to talk to one of our attorneys about your injury or questions about whether your circumstances give rise to a claim. Many people just want to find out if they have a case, or need referral to some agency or other service. This is part of our job as we see it, as we are working to help you.

Q. Do I have to pay money to Neustrom & Associates to be my attorney to start my case?

A. No, most of our cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis. Which means, we cover the cost and expenses of your case and when the case is resolved we are compensated by receiving a percentage of the proceeds of the settlement or judgment as payment for our services. Under the unlikely circumstance the case is not resolved in your favor YOU PAY NOTHING.  Also, no case of ours is ever settled without the full approval of our client;, in other words, we don’t decide when to settle, YOU decide.

Q. I got hurt, but it was partly my fault, so I must not have a case?

A. Kansas liability law uses what is generally termed “comparable fault” in distributing liability among parties to a case. This means that if the injured party is less than 50% at-fault then the injured person is due compensation for the at-fault party’s portion of the fault. Incidentally, you may share part of the fault in the accident but unless you were 50% or more at fault, the other party or parties would be liable for their portion of the fault. In other words, if you suffered $100,000 in medical bills for an accident that you were 40% at-fault and another party was 60% at fault, the other party would be liable for $60,000 of your medical bills.

The attorneys at Neustrom & Associates can give you a free assessment based on the facts of your accident to let you know if you likely have a claim. Also, there are instances, such as slip and fall, or instances of maintenance or construction defects where you may not realize that the business, landlord, or government entity had an obligation to notify you or repair a dangerous condition or defect that contributed to your injury. Under these circumstances, even if the accident occurred while you were by yourself you still may have a claim.

There are also some instances in which liability coverage exists regardless of who was at fault, such as when people are injured while engaged in an “inherently dangerous activity” or when injured in the course of your employment. Tell us the facts and let us tell you if we think you have a case.

Q. I think I can negotiate with the insurance company on my own?

A. First, please read the above Answer to “Why do I need an attorney”. If you are still not certain, you need to know that the insurance company’s employee’s do this every day and are directed and professionally trained to pay the least amount on your claim that they are able. In fact, many insurance companies rewards its adjusters for resolving cases for less than the insurance company values the claims. The adjuster has no incentive to make sure you are taken care of; the adjuster is trying to do the bare minimum it is obligated to pay under the law to settle your case and each time they speak with you they are gaining evidence to solidify grounds for their low settlement position. If you represent yourself, the insurance company is essentially getting a fresh “statement” from you every time they communicate with you.

Furthermore, there are specific steps that must be taken to preserve other potential avenues of recovery for injuries from your own insurance, such as “underinsured motorist coverage” or “uninsured motorist coverage”, that you are likely unaware of and/or incapable of navigating the legal intricacies necessary to preserve the right to these funds.

If the steps laid out by the law are not followed then you will have waived your right to proceeds that you have already paid for.

Although we ardently recommend you immediately contact an attorney after the accident, if you are able to work out a settlement on your own please give us a call before agreeing to anything. Give us the facts and we can give you our opinion as to whether the settlement appears on its face to be fair under the circumstances.

Q. I don’t want to sue anyone. What do you think?

A. A lawsuit is a serious matter and people should be slow to sue another. Many people, particularly in Kansas, feel uncomfortable bringing a lawsuit even when they have appropriate grounds. The insurance companies use the public’s reservation to sue to their advantage in negotiating low settlements in the initial claims process. Sometimes commencing a lawsuit is the only way to compel a fair settlement.

It is also important to remember that the ultimate defendant is the at-fault party’s (i.e. the Defendant) insurance company. If the person or business is covered by insurance he or she will not pay a dime out of their personal funds in any settlement or court judgment.

Insurance companies are under no obligation to follow the direction of their clients. Incidentally, sometimes you have an insured person who wants a fair settlement for the injured person but his/her insurance company won’t agree based on its belief that the injured party’s fear of commencing a lawsuit will allow the insurance company to pay less.

We believe people who have legitimate claims should get a fair amount. People who cause injury should be responsible for the harm caused. You need to get your bills paid and receive enough to get back on your feet. You need money to take care of your future. You need to fight a smart battle, so get advice from a good lawyer.

Moreover, oftentimes your injuries resulted from a negligent act or condition that may continue to present harm to others unless you bring the matter to light through a lawsuit. Part of the benefit of bringing matters through a court of law is to further society’s efforts to make the roads, workplaces and communities safer for its citizen’s and children and at times these admirable goals can only be accomplished through litigation.

Q. Do we have to go to trial?

A. Generally, No. Typically, the only instance in which a You would have to go to court is in the event we commenced a lawsuit and the suit was unable to be resolved and went to trial before a jury. Statistically, well over 90% of cases in our country settle prior to trial. This statistic has also been true for our law firm. We routinely settle cases directly with insurance companies prior to commencing a lawsuit or in court ordered mediation after a lawsuit had been filed.

Still, Neustrom & Associates prides itself on taking our cases to if trial if necessary to reach fair resolution of your case. Ultimately, we will advise you of the potential risks and rewards of trials and advise you as to the fairness of any settlement offers; but know that you will have final say whether to accept an offer or to go to trial.

Q. I was in a single car accident. What are my rights?

A. Kansas requires all insurance policies maintain at least $4500 in personal injury protection, often called “PIP”. These PIP benefits can go toward paying medical bills and wage loss. If you own a car and it is insured you should have this coverage at your disposal even if you were injured in a different car. If you don’t own a car then the driver’s PIP would generally cover you for these losses. Still, if you or the driver does not have insurance, there may be other resources of coverage depending on your living arrangements and the circumstances attending the accident. Also, you may have a worker’s compensation claim if you were working at the time of the accident.

Furthermore, sometimes accidents happen as a result of defective products on your car. These parts include tires, seatbelts, brakes, etc. Rural roads are also dangerous and sometimes illegal due to improperly maintained shoulders or other maintenance issues. Additionally, signs on the road have to be legal and accurately convey dangers and unique features of a roadway. Give us a call and we can discuss your unique circumstances.

Q. I have read about cases of suits involving family members suing each other. Is that the right thing to do?

A. In order to get insurance benefits for our clients, many times it is necessary to bring intra-family suits. If you are hurt in a car wreck and do not sue the driver, you may lose any damages caused by that person’s fault. We have had Judges approve settlements where our clients sue their husbands, mothers, grandmothers but ONLY to get the auto insurance coverage involved.  The insurance company knows of the public stigma and reticence of persons to sue loved ones and use this to their advantage in negotiating low settlements in the initial claims process.

As discussed above, it is also important to remember that in nearly all cases the ultimate defendant is the at-fault party’s insurance company. If the parent/spouse is covered by insurance he or she will not pay a dime out of their personal funds in any settlement or court judgment. Insurance companies are under no obligation to follow the direction of their clients. Incidentally, sometimes you have an insured person who wants a fair settlement for the injured loved one but his/her insurance company won’t do so based on its belief that the injured party’s fear of commencing a lawsuit will allow them to pay less.

We can’t let the insurance company’s exploit our loved ones to pay less of their legal obligations, thus we are at times forced to engage in intra-family suits. If you think you may have circumstances that a loved one appears to be the at-fault party, give us a call and we can walk you through the process and ease your fears that your family member or friend will be personally harmed in any significant manner.

Q. I want the best, so I must need an attorney I saw on TV or from a large city.    

A. First, if I were injured I would definitely want the best, and we at Neustrom & Associates are known to be among the best personal injury firms in the state. At N&A you get personal injury attorneys with experience and knowledge that is surpassed by no other firm in the state.

Many of the firms you see on television in Wichita or Kansas City promise to “Win Big” or “Boom. Get cash now.”  Those are just words.  Any good attorney is going to do their best to get you the best recovery. Pick a firm where you now you can call and talk to the lawyer who works on your case and who will try your case. Look at our track record. Ask around. People here know about us.

Neustrom & Associates is a serious firm with serious attorneys who have tried cases in federal and state court. Pat Neustrom is a past President of the Trial Attorney Association (“KSAJ”) for the State of Kansas and Nathan Mattison has the distinguished honor of having worked beside several federal judges. Our attorneys know the law and the courts. Look at our biographies for more information.

Neustrom and Associates chooses to be selective with our cases and our time. Just because there is money to be made on a case we do not take it. We only choose cases that we believe in.  We cannot help everyone. Not everyone has a good, legitimate case.

Our attorneys and staff are part of the Salina and North Central Kansas community. We chose to live and operate in North Central Kansas because we are Central Kansas and want to serve folks here. You will promptly speak to your attorney (over the phone or face to face) and have calls returned; and know that you will be the person to decide the fate of your case.

Nearly every case involving an insurance company will result in the Insurance Company’s attorneys being from Wichita, KC or Topeka. If your accident is in Salina or North Central Kansas, you can almost guarantee that we know the people, the judges, and the unique attributes of living and being in your part of the state better than anyone from KC or Wichita. This keen knowledge can be the difference between winning and losing your case at a trial or obtaining a fair settlement in your case.

In choosing N&A you gain an edge that the KC and Wichita Insurance attorney’s fear, a “home field advantage”.   By choosing an attorney outside the area you have effectively given away one of your greatest advantages and leveled the playing field for the Insurance Company.

Bottom line, you get no better representation in your injury case from any firm in the state than what you will receive here at Neustrom & Associates.   Give us a call and compare us with the other firms and we feel confident you will find this to be true.

If you need help in any of these areas call our law firm at 785-825-1505, Toll-Free 888-575-2946 or contact us online today to see how he can help answer your question or take on your case.

* Disclaimer- Every case and circumstances are unique; the information provided above is for general informative purposes. Only after consulting with a licensed attorney will you know the options under your personal circumstances.