There are several steps you should take after a car accident to protect yourself and your rights. The first thing to do is to determine whether you or anyone else is injured, then summon help by calling 911 and requesting police assistance and an ambulance. Then, if you can, you should protect your rights to compensation for your losses.
If you intend to file an insurance claim for a car accident, you will need evidence of the losses you have suffered. You can start gathering this evidence immediately if you are not incapacitated by the wreck. Take several photos of the cars involved in the accident, including shots that show the damage and each car’s license plate. Take photos of your injuries. If any environmental factor contributed to your accident, such as standing water, road construction or an obstructed view, photograph it.
Collect information from the other drivers and passengers in the wreck if they are cooperative. Record contact information for anyone involved, and from any witnesses. From other drivers, get:
Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Cooperate with police and insurance company representatives, but do not blame yourself or anyone else for the accident. If you are contacted by another driver’s insurance company, do not admit fault or downplay the extent of your injuries. Do not sign anything offered by an insurance company.
Regardless of how you feel, consult a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Some serious injuries only show symptoms 24 hours or more after they occur. Regardless, getting treatment and following doctors’ orders documents your medical care for an insurance claim.
No. Many insurance adjusters want to close a car accident case and move on as fast as possible. By accepting a quick settlement you agree not to seek further compensation, though you may not even know the full extent of your losses.
Car insurance companies save money by closing claims quickly, especially if they can do it before the accident victim retains an attorney. But a settlement made too soon cannot take into account whether your injuries will have a long-term effect on you.
Your injuries may prevent you from returning to work for many months or leave you unable to return to your former job. You may have to take a job that pays less if you are partially disabled. You may need assistive devices, like a walker or wheelchair, for a limited time or permanently. If you are totally disabled, you may not be able to return to work and may need in-home nursing care, assistive devices and even renovations to your home.
It is better to wait until you can calculate how much money you will need to cover all of your medical expenses and your income losses.
Becker Law Office wants you to receive the full amount of money you need now and in the future. Once your doctor(s) have determined the final prognosis for your recovery, we will gather all of the necessary data to begin negotiating a proper insurance payment to you.
Kentucky and Indiana insurance laws make provisions for the immediate payment of car accident victims’ medical bills. If you have any problem obtaining this money, Becker Law Office can help you.
If you’re a Kentucky driver, you likely have “no fault” coverage as part of your car insurance. This coverage could pay you as much as $10,000 to help with your medical expenses. It may also provide up to $200 each week for lost wages, as well as additional compensation for your pain and suffering.
These benefits should be paid to you by your insurance company no matter who caused your wreck. If another driver is at fault for the accident, your insurance company will seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company. Even if you’re a passenger in a car accident, you may be entitled to no-fault benefits through the car owner’s insurance company or your insurance company, depending on your situation.
If you’re an Indiana driver, you may also be eligible for immediate medical benefits, regardless of fault, if you have signed up for Medical Payments Coverage as part of your auto insurance policy. Depending on the extent of your coverage, you may receive compensation for medical treatments and prescriptions. Your primary health insurance may also cover you for expenses that exceed your auto insurance coverage.
In the meantime, if you are getting letters from collection agencies or other creditors asking for payment, we can work with them for you. We can write to them to explain that you have a personal injury action in progress. We will ask them to give you more time or defer payment until you receive your settlement. In most cases, knowing that a law firm is handling your car accident claim puts creditors at ease.
If you’ve been in a car wreck caused by another driver, that driver’s insurance company may be responsible for your car repairs. You may decide to deal directly with the other driver’s insurance company, or you may work with your own insurer if you have collision insurance.
If you settle with your insurer, your company should make a claim against the responsible person’s insurance company and reimburse you for any deductible you paid. This is part of what you pay for when you buy collision coverage.
In addition to paying for repairs, an insurance settlement should also pay for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired. It should also cover any towing or storage expenses you’ve incurred as well as any value that your car has lost as the result of the accident. This amount will be based on the Fair Market Value of your car before and after the accident.
If your vehicle was a total loss in the accident, the insurance settlement should cover the Fair Market Value of your vehicle.
To determine Fair Market Value yourself, you may consult such sources as local car dealers or ads for sales of vehicles that are the same year, make, and model as your vehicle, or the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) or the Kelley Blue Book.
If you’ve been in a car accident caused by a hit-and-run driver, or by a driver who does not have insurance or enough insurance, you may still be able to collect an insurance settlement. These drivers are called “uninsured motorists.” You may already have uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) coverage.
If you have UM or UIM coverage, you would file a claim with your insurance company. Kentucky requires that you must be offered UM, but you can reject it. Indiana requires UM coverage; Tennessee requires UM coverage, which included UIM coverage. You should be able to obtain compensation up to the limits of your UM / UIM policy. As with other insurance, you are likely to need legal assistance to obtain an appropriate settlement.
Becker Law Office can review any UM / UIM settlement offer you have received along with the losses you have suffered because of your accident. Where a proposed settlement does not meet your needs, we can be of assistance to you.
Sometimes just a letter from Becker Law Office that outlines your losses and the guarantees their insurance policy has made to you is enough to persuade an insurer to do what is right. But we’ll be ready to press harder to negotiate a reasonable payout if we have to, including taking legal action against an insurer who won’t pay for your covered losses.
Deadlines, or “statutes of limitations,” for filing car accident claims vary from state to state. It is best to begin work on a claim as soon as possible to ensure you are not barred by law from obtaining the compensation you deserve.
In Kentucky and Indiana, most personal injury and wrongful death claims must be filed within two years. In Tennessee, a plaintiff has one year. Statutes of limitations may also vary according to the cause of action and whether minors are involved.
But it is best to get started on a claim quickly because these types of cases are usually complex and time consuming. The investigation into a car accident includes examining damaged vehicles and/or reconstructing the accident with the help of consultants, and analyzing medical records with the help of medical experts to determine the full costs of our clients’ injuries and losses.
Court orders may be required to obtain certain evidence necessary to prove a claim, like the other driver’s cellphone records, debit / credit card receipts, job or school attendance records, vehicle maintenance records, a commercial truck driver’s hours-of-service logs, etc.
Read more about how we prove a car accident case.
Some cases can be developed faster than others, but each has its own facts and there’s no way to predict where a time-consuming obstacle may arise. If you think it is at all possible that you have a significant claim for compensation from a car accident in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, or Tennessee, you should contact the Becker Law Office in Louisville or Lexington, KY, today.
There is no cost up front for you to obtain legal services from the Becker Law Office. You don’t pay us anything until the insurance company writes a check to you.
Becker Law Office attorneys work on a contingency-fee basis, which means our legal fees are contingent on the outcome of your case. Our legal fee will be an agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or court award you receive in your case. If there’s no settlement or award, we don’t get paid.
In addition to legal fees, there are various charges that may come with preparing your case. Police departments typically charge for copies of accident reports. Physicians bill us for preparing medical reports. Other incidental costs of this kind may also accumulate. Court reporters, expert witnesses, or other professionals who may help us develop your case must also be paid for their work.
These costs must also come out of your settlement or court award, but we pay them up front. There are no out-of-pocket costs to you.
Because we are only paid if we are successful, we can only accept cases that we believe will lead to a result that makes it worthwhile to you and us. We won’t fill you with false hopes or waste your time.
We’ll investigate your case thoroughly and work as hard as we can to build a strong claim for compensation to you. If you’re ready to get started, so are we. Please contact the Becker Law Office today.