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Car Accident FAQs

Car Accident FAQs

If you or a loved one of yours has been seriously injured in a car accident, your life has changed immeasurably, possibly forever. As you deal with doctors, insurance companies, police and others, you are likely to find that you are in new territory where you don’t have the answers you need for many questions.

The car accident attorneys of the Frank Jenkins Law Office in Lexington, KY, have helped many Kentucky families like yours recover from a serious accident. We investigate car accidents and help injured drivers and others obtain compensation they are due after being hurt by others’ negligence and recklessness.

Below, we answer several frequently asked questions about car accident cases. If we can help you further, please contact us online or phone us at 888-659-4240 today.

  1. What kinds of car accidents can lead to a legal claim for compensation?
  2. What should I do to protect my opportunity to pursue a claim after a car accident?
  3. What can a lawyer do for me after a car accident?
  4. The insurance company has offered me a check already. Why shouldn’t I accept it?
  5. What if I was partially at fault for my car accident?
  6. How long do I have after a car accident to decide whether to file a claim?
What kinds of car accidents can lead to a legal claim for compensation?
A person who has been injured in a car accident that was not their fault may seek compensation from responsible parties through a personal injury lawsuit, or surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Many types of car accidents are caused by negligence.

Common causes of car accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Drugged driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Defective automotive parts
  • Roadway defects.

In general, a car accident victim may pursue a claim if they can show that the defendant acted with negligence or recklessness, that the defendant’s negligence or recklessness was the proximate (most closely related) cause of the victim’s injury, and the injuries are compensable.

Such a claim may seek compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Property damage (to the car and other property)
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Cost of living with a disability
  • Loss of consortium
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of life’s enjoyment.
What should I do to protect my opportunity to pursue a claim after a car accident?

Immediately after a car accident the first priority is to get medical care for yourself or anyone else who has been injured. Once everyone is safe, there are several steps you or someone else can to take that may assist you in a future claim for compensation:

  • Document the accident. Report the accident to police and, within a day or so if not immediately, to your insurance company. Get photos of the accident scene, including damage to the cars, skid marks and debris in the road, weather or road conditions that may have contributed to the crash.
  • Exchange information. If police respond to your accident, they will collect information from each driver involved and share it with you. If not, you should obtain the other driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance information and contact information. Get contact information for any witnesses to the crash, including your passengers.
  • Work with police. As you speak with law enforcement officers who respond to your accident, be honest and cooperative. But as you answer questions, do not say anything to cast blame on yourself or the other driver. Find out how to get a copy of the police report, and get one as soon as you can.
  • Cooperate with insurers. When filing a claim, answer questions truthfully, but do not volunteer information or cast blame. Don’t downplay your injury or other losses. Follow the insurance company’s instructions, such as for getting estimates for car repairs, but do not sign anything or agree to record a statement. You could forfeit your right to compensation without knowing it.
  • See a doctor. If you do not need emergency care, you still need to see a doctor within 24 hours of the accident. Some serious injuries don’t have symptoms right away. Seeing a doctor also helps to document your injuries for a potential claim.
  • Contact an experienced car accident attorney. It is the best way to protect your rights after a car crash.
What can a lawyer do for me after a car accident?
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident in Kentucky, you need to concentrate on recovery, not paperwork and questions from insurers and creditors. An experienced personal injury law firm will deal with insurance companies, car repairs, doctors, hospitals, creditors and others on your behalf in the aftermath of a serious car accident.

As you move forward, you will need an independent and thorough investigation of your car accident if you are to recover all of the compensation you deserve. This includes, but may not be limited to, obtaining medical records, police reports and witness statements; having medical experts analyze records and recovery prospects; developing a life care plan in a permanent disability case; having accident reconstruction experts work to explain a complex crash; and projecting current and future medical costs, income losses and other losses that should be included in a claim.

Meanwhile, if you are unable to work for an extended period, you may be getting by on reduced income and be unable to pay medical expenses. An attorney can contact your creditors and advise them about a claim and the likelihood of a settlement or court award. A letter from a reputable legal firm can go a long way toward reassuring creditors.

Your attorney should reassure you as well. The Frank Jenkins Law Office takes the initiative to explain every aspect of a legal case to our clients, step by step. Your confidence and comfort with the legal work we do on your behalf is important to us. And we are gratified that so many of our clients are satisfied with how we have represented their interests.

The first thing a Frank Jenkins Law Office Kentucky auto accident attorney can do for you is provide a free, no obligation review of your car accident case and an explanation of your legal options. Call us or contact us online today.

The insurance company has offered me a check already. Why shouldn’t I accept it?
In Kentucky, your insurance company should provide a no-fault payment soon after the accident. The payment covers immediate medical bills and lost wages. However, your additional costs will likely be more and may not be fully understood right away. It is important that you do not accept a fast payment meant to settle what should be an open claim.

Kentucky requires motorists to have basic personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on all motor vehicles except motorcycles. With basic PIP coverage, your insurer is to provide up to $10,000 per person per accident for medical expenses, lost wages and similar “out of pocket” costs due to an injury. Higher benefits and deductibles are optional. (See more about Kentucky auto insurance.)

But once you exceed $1,000 in medical expenses, or if you have suffered a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or the death of a loved one, you may obtain additional insurance compensation.

It is likely that a fast settlement will not take into account all of the compensation you are due.

A car accident attorney from the Frank Jenkins Law Office would investigate your accident to determine the compensation you truly deserve for injuries and other losses. This would include having medical consultants review your medical records to determine your expected recovery and your anticipated medical expenses, as well as including expenses you have already incurred in a claim.

If you have received an insurance settlement offer, a Frank Jenkins Law Office attorney can review it for you for free and advise you as to whether we think we can do better for you. Contact us today in Lexington to set up an appointment.

What if I was partially at fault for my car accident?
Kentucky is one of several states that apply the principle of “comparative fault” to car accident claims that go beyond initial personal injury protection (PIP) payments. If a jury decides you were partially at fault for your car accident, the compensation you receive would be reduced accordingly.

Kentucky law (K.R.S. § 411.182) says that if a car accident claim is taken to court, the jury must determine a percentage of fault to be applied to each party involved in the accident, including those who are not a part of the legal claim. The jury must then reduce any compensation the plaintiff deserves in accordance with their comparative fault.

For example, if you were in a collision with a drunk driver who hit you but at the time of your accident your car had drifted outside of its lane, the jury may decide you deserve 10 percent of the blame for the accident. Your payment of $10,000 would be reduced to $9,000.

A car accident attorney who had thoroughly investigated your accident would know ahead of time the potential for a comparative fault ruling to hurt your claim. In negotiations or in court, your attorney would work to minimize the effect of any negligence of yours that contributed to the accident.

How long do I have after a car accident to decide whether to file a claim?
Under Kentucky law, the statute of limitations for a car accident lawsuit is two years – either from the date of the accident or the last no-fault (personal injury protection, or PIP) payment. But there are other reasons to start as soon as possible to investigate the potential for a car accident claim.

Pursuing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident can be a complex and time-consuming undertaking. It requires a thorough investigation, which starts with obtaining and reviewing records of the accident and your injuries. Depending on the case, several experts may review these records.

We work with medical experts who specialize in various types of injuries, and with rehabilitation and disability experts who review long-term injuries for us. In case of substantial permanent disabilities, we may obtain the assistance of life care planning experts to calculate a client’s future living expenses.

Similarly, we may call upon crash reconstruction experts to examine your car accident and determine how it happened. In addition to advising us, they create reports that, along with their expert testimony, can go a long way toward persuading a jury.

This all takes time to coordinate, and most of it must be done before we can know how to structure your claim and what compensation we should demand on your behalf.

Your right to justice should not be compromised because of time limitations. It is best to start as soon as possible by contacting an experienced car accident attorney right away if there’s any possibility that you will have a legal claim after a car accident.