Car Accidents and Crashes in Kentucky: Know Your Rights
If you sustained injuries in an automobile accident caused by the negligent acts of someone else, you are entitled to be compensated. The at-fault drive has a responsibility to make you financially whole whether they have insurance or not and whether you have minor injuries like slight whiplash or cuts and bruises or more severe injuries like broken limbs and/or internal bleeding. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you will probably have to sue him/her to recover your damages. If the at-fault driver does have insurance, then you or your attorney will work with the claims adjuster to agree on a settlement. This may or may not require filing a lawsuit.
The insurance company’s internal procedures determine how its adjuster evaluates an injury claim. In general, the criteria below are taken into account when determining how much money an injured individual should recover to settle their claim:
- How the accident happened – what happened, at what speed, where, who was involved, were any laws broken, were the police called to the scene, was anyone ticketed, etc.?
- Who was at fault – Adjusters must determine fault before offering a settlement. If liability is clear, then the claim generally settles without the filing of a lawsuit. Some situations such as an uncontrolled intersection or a left turn made in front of a speeding car entering the intersection make it difficult to determine who was truly at fault. Reconstruction experts are sometimes called to examine the accident scene and the damage to the cars in order to determine how the car wreck occurred and to figure out liability. If both parties are found negligent, in Kentucky fault will be apportioned between both drivers.
- How serious is the claimed injury – Information such as a medical report from your physician with a diagnosis and a prognosis for recovery is requested by the adjuster to determine the severity of the injuries. Also requested will be treatment and/or medication that was prescribed and the current status of that treatment. The adjuster’s experience will help him/her determine if the treatment was reasonable and necessary to treat the injuries. They may also ask for any work restrictions imposed by a treating doctor.
- Medical and other expenses – As a result of the accident, how much did you incur in medical bills, lost wages, any other expenses? Everything will need to be documented, so be sure to keep all medical bills and statements, wage stubs, receipts for medicine and other expenses. If you have your own business, it may be difficult to prove how much money you lost, so a financial expert may need to be brought in. If your insurance doesn’t pay for the damage to your property, you will need to submit that cost as well. A repair estimate will be needed if the at-fault party will be paying for the damage to your vehicle. The at-fault insurance company will probably want to look at the vehicle to decide where or to what extent the car was damaged.
- Other Factors – This could be if you were caring for young children or an elderly relative before the accident and as a result of the accident you can no longer do so and now have to hire someone to help you. Another example would be if you can no longer do your own housework or yard work and you have to now hire someone to do that for you. All of these things affect the value of your claim.
The Accident Settlement Offer
After all of the documentation is gathered to evaluate your claim, the process becomes quite subjective. The adjuster will calculate a value range based on the information discussed above and make an initial offer close to the bottom of the that range. There is no set formula. The insurance adjusted expects you to negotiate – you do not have to and rarely should take the first offer. If you have hired an attorney, he or she will do the negotiating for you.
Attorneys know best how to deal with insurance adjusters
Insurance companies are not in the business to pay a lot of money to claimants. Their primary concern is to protect their bottom line and not pay more than they have to or more than they believe is a fair amount. Though wise negotiation, you can get generally get the insurance company to pay an amount at the top of their range.
If you and your attorney believe the final offer is too low, then it is time to go to court. If you did not have an attorney before then, now is the time to get one. Once your car accident claim becomes a lawsuit, the value may or may not change. The attorney will evaluate the potential compensation for your auto accident injury based on past jury verdicts in similar cases along with the other relevant factors. The attorney will continue throughout the lawsuit to try and negotiate a fair settlement of the case.
If you have an attorney, you will be sharing your settlement with him or her. In Kentucky, attorney’s fee may constitute up to 40% of the gross money you are awarded or settle for. At the same time, it is important to consider that an experienced attorney is likely to obtain a much higher settlement amount or jury award than if you handled the case or claim on your own.
Based in Louisville, Kentucky, the Shelton Law Group practices Kentucky personal injury and auto accident law. We will finance your legal battle. You only pay if you win. We believe this is the fairest approach. Why should you pay for something that doesn’t benefit you? Put your trust in a Kentucky based personal injury and auto accident lawyer who puts people in Kentucky first. Contact the Shelton Law Group today. Call 1-888-761-7204 to schedule a free consultation. We offer all potential clients time to meet with us at no cost. The Shelton Law Group – we take your Kentucky personal injury and auto accident case personally.