Radcliff Car Accident Injury Attorneys
Holding Negligent Motorists Accountable
A serious car accident can render significant physical, emotional, and financial damage to you, your loved ones, and your property. You may be severely injured as the result of a crash, leaving you disabled or drowning in medical debt. You may not be able to return to work immediately, and your car might require extensive repairs or total replacement. Your insurance will likely help with some of these expenses, but you will likely need even greater financial support.
When an accident is the result of another motorist’s negligence, they can be held liable for the pain and suffering they have caused. Our Radcliff car accident injury attorneys at Musselwhite Meinhart & Staples can help evaluate the facts surrounding your accident and build a case against the motorist whose carelessness harmed you and your family. We can work to recover monetary damages that can assist in your recovery.
What To Do Immediately After a Car Accident
Kentucky residents who have been in auto collisions know that, after the fact, everything can seem like one big blur. It is an emotionally charged thing to experience, and some may forget what they are supposed to do. Experiencing even a relatively minor car accident can be traumatic. Taking proactive steps to document the incident can be tremendously helpful when pursuing a negligence case.
The steps you should take in the immediate aftermath of a car accident include:
- Remain at the scene. For victims, this is generally easy enough, as they will want to wait for help to arrive. However, some individuals who are responsible for collisions sometimes fail to stick around, which only hurts them in the long run.
- Making sure all parties in both vehicles are safe. If anyone appears injured, seek immediate medical attention.
- Calling the police to evaluate the incident site. It is important to have law enforcement visit and document the scene, giving you an official record to reference. Law enforcement officials will gather as much of this information as possible, and victims can request a copy of the report.
- Obtain contact information from involved parties. You should always exchange names, phone numbers, and insurance information from everyone involved in a crash.
- Documenting the crash site yourself. If you are able to do so, it can be immensely helpful to take pictures of any damage to your vehicle. Be sure to note any negligent behavior you observed from the offending motorist.
- Contact your insurance company. You will need to promptly inform your insurance company of the incident and open a claim. If you have collision insurance, the company will become focused on repairing your vehicle, even if there is a liability dispute. If your insurance includes a deductible, you will be reimbursed if you are found to not be at fault for the crash.
- Seek a medical examination. Even if there are no obvious injuries, you should still see a doctor soon after a car crash. It is possible you have suffered an injury that will not display symptoms until days or weeks after the initial incident.
How Personal Injury Claims Work in Kentucky
Kentucky drivers are required to hold both personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and bodily injury liability insurance. In theory, this means that both the offending motorist and any other drivers or passengers injured in accident will all be covered for reimbursement for any injuries on some level. At minimum, every driver should have minimums of $10,000 for personal property damage, $25,000 for bodily injury per person, and $50,000 total body injury per accident. The PIP insurance will provide an additional $10,000 per person, per accident for any additional costs, like lost wages.
In minor accidents, these rules can be extremely helpful, as the insurance companies should compensate you for your injuries and other damages. However, under Kentucky’s no-fault rules, you are not permitted to file a lawsuit against a driver who caused an accident – even if they were extremely negligent – unless you have consequent medical expenses exceeding $1,000 or otherwise incurred one of several permanent or serious injuries. Otherwise, you will file a personal injury claim with your insurance company to initiate an investigation and eventually receive a settlement check.
When you file a personal injury claim as a result of a car accident, do not immediately sign anything your insurance company provides you. Your insurance is looking out for themselves and will look to be pay out as little as possible. Our Radcliff car accident injury attorneys can assess the facts of your case and make sure you are getting everything to which you are entitled.
When to Consider Filing a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Driver in Kentucky
Sometimes car accidents are the result of unavoidable bad luck. Other times, a serious accident can be the consequence of another driver’s careless negligence. When these situations result in significant property damage, personal injury, and other hardships, you may understandably not be satisfied with a simple insurance payout, even if the driver is readily admitting fault.
Actionable negligence can come in many forms, including situations where an accident was caused by a driver:
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated
- Texting while driving or engaging in other forms of distracted driving
- Failing to signal
- Failing to follow traffic signs, including running red lights or stop signs
Though Kentucky laws do initially limit your ability to sue a negligent driver, you are able to bypass these restrictions if you sustain significant injuries. You must have received over $1,000 in medical bills as a direct result of the accident, broken a bone, or suffered a permanent disfigurement or other type of injury. You can also generally sue if one or more passengers in your vehicle died in the accident.
If you meet this criterium, you can petition the state’s Department of Insurance to release “no fault” exemptions. This permits you to sue the negligent driver responsible for your injuries. This decision should be made carefully, as it also opens you to countersuits.
In Kentucky, you will in most cases have 2 years from the date of the accident or 2 years from the final no-fault medical payment to file a lawsuit or claim. We can help advise when it may make sense to consider a lawsuit against a negligent driver and determine if you are within the statute of limitations. Generally, a suit makes practical sense when the injuries you incur from an accident greatly exceed the maximum settlement you can receive from an insurance company.
In a lawsuit against a negligent driver, you will be arguing that you are owed additional compensation due to the following types of damages that directly resulted from their reckless behavior:
- Medical expenses. If your injury was serious and required an extended hospital stay, there is a reasonable chance your medical bills outstripped what your insurance company can cover. In a successful lawsuit, drivers can be required to reimburse you for these expenses.
- Pain and suffering. In addition to any hard financial costs associated with your injuries, you can often be entitled to some level of compensation for the physical, mental, and emotional hardship you experienced.
- Lost wages. If your injury prevented you from working for any period of time, you can receive additional compensation to make up for missed wages you otherwise would have earned.
- Future loss of earnings. If you suffered a permanent injury that prevents you from returning to work long-term, you can often successfully argue you deserve a substantial sum that covers wages you will now be unable to earn in the future.
- Disfigurement. If the accident left you scarred or disfigured, you can generally be reimbursed for any necessary cosmetic and plastic surgeries.
- Loss of companionship or affection. If your spouse, fiancé, parent, or child died or was seriously injured to the point where they can no longer normally conduct their relationship as a loved one, you can be entitled to additional damages under loss of consortium laws.
- Vehicle repair or replacement. You can also seek compensation for any costs necessary to fixing damages to your car or, if it was totaled, outright replacing it.
Kentucky law specifies no maximum for the amount of damages you can collect in a car accident negligence lawsuit. This is in contrast to many other states, which institute damage recovery caps.
When arguing your case in court, you will have to establish the offending driver was primarily at fault and therefore caused your injuries. The state of Kentucky follows a “pure comparative negligence rule,” which means you do not have to necessarily prove the offending driver was completely at fault to recover some damages. Each driver will be assigned a percentage of “fault.” If the offending motorist was negligent in some way, they will likely be assigned a higher number, potentially entitling you to more damages.
For example, a motorist who caused an accident due to distracted driving could be determined to be 80% at fault. That means you can successfully sue them to recover 80% of damages. Keep in mind this can work in reverse: The offending driver has the grounds to countersue you for 20% of their damages.
Get the Legal Support You Need with a Car Accident Injury
If you suffer injuries of any kind as a result of a car accident, it is essential you take immediate steps to retain qualified legal representation to guide you through the process of recovering damages, either through an insurance company claim or a negligence lawsuit. Our Radcliff car accident injury lawyers at Musselwhite Meinhart & Staples have over 100 years of legal experience and know how to litigate these types of suits and fight enormous insurance companies. Our team is committed to supporting individuals and families in the aftermath of a car accident and doing everything in our power to recovering the damages they deserve.
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