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Personal Injury FAQs

Spencer Law Firm July 5, 2024

Victims of personal injury often have numerous questions regarding their rights, the legal process, and what steps they should take next. Below is a compilation of frequently asked questions to help you understand more about personal injury claims and how to proceed. 

What Should I Do Immediately After an Accident? 

Here are crucial steps you should take immediately after an accident: 

  • Seek medical attention: Your health is the top priority. Even if injuries appear minor, it's important to consult a medical professional. 

  • Document the scene: Take photographs and gather any evidence that could support your claim. 

  • Get contact information: Collect details from witnesses, other affected parties, and anyone else on the scene. 

  • Notify the authorities: Report the incident to local law enforcement or property managers, if applicable. 

  • Consult a lawyer: Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your case and understand your rights. 

How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim? 

To have a valid personal injury claim, the following elements must typically be present: 

  • Duty of care: The at-fault party owed a duty of care to avoid causing harm. 

  • Breach of duty: The duty was breached through reckless or negligent actions. 

  • Causation: The breach directly caused your injuries. 

  • Damages: You have sustained actual damages (physical, emotional, financial) as a result of the injury. 

What Types of Damages Can I Recover? 

Victims of personal injury may be entitled to recover various types of damages, which include: 

  • Medical expenses: Costs for treatment, rehabilitation, and any future medical needs. 

  • Lost wages: Compensation for time missed from work and any impact on future earning capacity. 

  • Pain and suffering: Compensation for emotional distress and physical pain endured due to the injury. 

  • Property damage: Reimbursement for any personal property that was damaged during the incident. 

How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim? 

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims varies by state. In Kentucky, the typical statute of limitations for personal injury claims is one year from the date of the accident. It is vital to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure your claim is filed within the legal timeframe. 

Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer? 

While it’s not legally required to hire a personal injury lawyer, having one can significantly improve the likelihood of a successful outcome. Skilled attorneys can assist in negotiating with insurance companies, gathering evidence, and advocating on your behalf in court to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve. 

What Should I Expect During the Personal Injury Claim Process in Kentucky? 

Filing a personal injury claim in Kentucky involves several stages. Initially, after seeking medical attention and consulting with an attorney, you will typically begin by filing a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault party. Your lawyer will help gather evidence and negotiate on your behalf.  

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case may proceed to court, where both sides will present their arguments, followed by a judge or jury determining the outcome. Throughout the process, your attorney will be there to guide you, ensuring you understand each step and what is required of you. 

Can I Still File a Claim If I Was Partially At Fault for the Accident? 

Kentucky follows a "comparative negligence" rule, which means you can still recover damages even if you were partially at fault for the accident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.  

For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident and awarded $100,000 in damages, you would receive $80,000. This rule allows injured parties to seek compensation while acknowledging that multiple factors can contribute to an incident. 

What If the At-Fault Party Doesn't Have Insurance? 

If the at-fault party in the accident does not have insurance or their coverage is insufficient, you may still have options to recover damages. One such option is to file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if it is included in your insurance policy.  

This type of coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the responsible party lacks adequate insurance. Consulting with an attorney can help you navigate these complexities and identify all possible avenues for compensation. 

How Are Medical Bills Handled During the Claim Process? 

In Kentucky, your medical bills are typically addressed through a combination of your insurance policies, the at-fault party's insurance, and possibly settlement funds once the claim is resolved. Initially, your health insurance or auto insurance (if you have personal injury protection or "PIP" coverage) may cover your medical expenses.  

Once the claim is settled, your attorney will work to ensure that all outstanding medical bills are paid from the settlement funds. Keeping records of all medical treatments and expenses is crucial for supporting your claim and ensuring you receive proper reimbursement. 

What Is the Role of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases? 

Expert witnesses can play a crucial role in personal injury cases by providing specialized knowledge that supports your claim. These experts can include medical professionals who testify about the extent of your injuries and your prognosis, accident reconstruction specialists who can explain how the incident occurred, and financial experts who can quantify your economic losses, such as lost wages and future earning potential.  

Their testimony can lend credibility to your case and help establish key elements like causation and damages.  

What Should I Expect During the Legal Process? 

The legal process may vary, but it generally includes the following steps: 

  1. Consultation: Meeting with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. 

  1. Investigation: Gathering evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. 

  1. Filing a claim: Initiating the lawsuit by filing a formal complaint. 

  1. Negotiation: Attempting to reach a settlement with the defendant's insurance company. 

  1. Litigation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, proceeding to trial where a judge or jury will determine the outcome. 

At Spencer Law Group, we are committed to providing you with the expert guidance needed to ensure your rights are well-protected. Contact us today if you have further questions or need legal assistance. 

Comprehensive Legal Assistance  

At Spencer Law Group, our legal team understands the emotional and physical turmoil a personal injury can have on a person. Therefore, we are there to provide the compassionate legal counsel you need to pursue the compensation you deserve. Seek justice from the negligent party by reaching out today for a free consultation. We proudly serve clients in Lexington, Kentucky, and throughout Bowling Green, Covington, Louisville, Owensboro, and Hopkinsville.