Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates
What to expect following your accident
Being in a car accident is a horrible experience. Dealing with medical treatment and expenses for injuries, repairs to your vehicle, work absence, and working with insurance adjusters maybe even worse. Just ask the approximately 30,000 people injured in Kentucky vehicle crashes every year.
Once you know what steps are involved in the process of making a personal injury claim, you can understand why working with an experienced plaintiff’s firm like the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates is the right route to recovery. If you have been injured due to the actions of a negligent driver in Shepherdsville, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, or Louisville, Kentucky, let us talk to you about your options.
What’s Involved in the Personal Injury Claims Process in Kentucky?
There are two claims processes following a Kentucky car collision. One is the bodily injury claim. The other is the property damage claim. In either case, you need to work quickly. Under state law, you have only two years to settle a property damage claim and one year to either settle a personal injury claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Kentucky is a no-fault state for auto insurance, which means you must first exhaust the limits of your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage before you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. This takes time, and time can be short when meeting the deadline of the statutes of limitations.
You will need documentation of your injuries, medical treatment, bills, lost wages, and the damage done to your vehicle. You must provide this evidence to your own insurance company and the other drivers.
Property Damage Claims in Kentucky
There will be an investigation, usually done by law enforcement at the scene, to determine who was at fault for a car accident. More than one driver may be at fault, and because Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, your recovery reduces by any percentage of fault assigned to you.
Although you must access your PIP coverage first for your personal injuries, the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for the damage to your vehicle. Your car will be examined and evaluated by an auto mechanic who will provide an estimate for repairs or total the vehicle. The insurance adjuster will also inspect your vehicle and review the evaluation and estimate that is provided by the mechanic. The adjuster must approve the car repairs.
It is possible that when repairing your car, more issues will be found. In that event, the mechanic will submit a revised estimate to the adjuster. The shop will complete the repairs, submit a bill, and in most cases, the insurance company will pay the shop directly.
You should know that it is often most expedient for your auto insurance to cover the cost of repairs at the outset. Once establishing fault, your insurer will likely reimburse any deductible to you, then pursue reimbursement of what they paid from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Personal Injury Claims in Kentucky
You should seek immediate medical attention following a Kentucky auto crash, even if you don’t think or aren’t sure if you are injured or not. Not all injuries are apparent right away. Delaying treatment can prevent you from recovering from them. Some symptoms can take hours, days, weeks, or even months to manifest themselves. Emergency rooms know how to look for traumatic injuries, order the required diagnostic testing, and refer you to the appropriate specialists for treatment.
You will need medical documentation to file a claim for your PIP benefits and to file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance. A physician will diagnose your injuries, tie them to the subject collision, and prescribe a treatment plan. You can’t file a personal injury claim without medical records and bills.
If you delay treatment, insurance companies will use it against you. They will allege that either your injuries were not serious enough to warrant medical intervention or that your injuries were not caused by the crash. They can allege that in the time between the collision and the initial examination, you might have injured yourself in an unrelated incident.
How Do I Recover My Expenses?
Car accidents are expensive, no matter whose negligence caused them. In a no-fault state like Kentucky, injuries must rise to a certain level before you can file a third-party claim against the negligent driver. Although your PIP benefits may be available to use quickly, noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering are not covered. You can only receive compensation for those damages in a third-party liability claim.
Your personal injury attorney’s job is to make sure fault is assigned to the other driver, evidence of injuries and other damages is clear, and insurance coverages are located and accessed to find enough to make you whole. Your attorney will submit a settlement demand letter and negotiate with insurers for just compensation. If you cannot settle within the statute of limitations, your lawyer will file a lawsuit to pursue damages.
How Legal Counsel Can Help
As you can see, the claims process following an auto accident is complicated. Insurance companies like it that way because injury victims attempting to represent themselves will overlook vital issues and want to settle a claim too quickly for too little.
Insurance companies know that experienced attorneys, like the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, cannot be misled. You may not know what to expect, but we do.
If you have been injured in a car accident in or around Shepherdsville or Louisville, Kentucky, let us guide you through the claims process. You can focus on recovering from your injuries while we focus on the work involved in your claim.
Time is short, so don’t wait. Call our office now.