Steps to Take After an Accident
It’s your worst nightmare come true when a car or truck comes out of nowhere and causes a serious auto accident. Now, you not only have to deal with costly car repairs but may also have severe and debilitating injuries that require medical treatment and lost time from work. What just happened wasn’t your fault, but now you have mounting expenses and some other items on your agenda that are complex at best. What should you do?
Being involved in a car accident is never pleasant, but the actions that you take or fail to take just after the crash could have an impact on the outcome of your claim. In the state of Kentucky, all registered drivers are required by law to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance. Unfortunately, there are many out of state drivers in Kentucky as well as some who don’t follow the rules.
What to Do After an Accident that Wasn’t Your Fault
In most cases, you will take the same recommended steps after a car accident regardless of who was at fault in the crash. Some of the things that you should do are common sense items while others are meant to protect your personal and financial interests should there be disputes surrounding the accident at a later date. The steps you should take include:
Call the police. One of the first things you should do at the scene of a crash, after making sure everyone is ok, it to call the authorities. Getting an official police report can help create a record of events and the at-fault party may even receive a traffic citation if they broke the law.
Seek immediate medical attention. If you are seriously injured, you should also call an ambulance just to be safe. Otherwise, seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident so that you can document your injuries.
Gather information and document the scene. Gather as much information as possible at the scene of the accident and document everything with pictures and diagrams. Get the other driver’s name, address, and phone number as well as their insurance information. Take a photo of the vehicles, including the license plate of the at-fault car. Also, collect the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Contact your insurance company. It’s ok to contact your insurance company to let them know about the accident since Kentucky is a no-fault state. You may wish to avoid giving any statements until you speak with an attorney.
Avoid giving statements or signing releases. Insurance companies, even your own, are primarily interested in minimizing the amount of money that they have to pay in claims. Since the information you provide could help them do this, you should avoid giving statements or signing a release before seeking the advice of legal counsel.
Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Keep in mind that, even though someone else was at fault in the accident, you may still face obstacles in collecting a fair settlement. A personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and may help you achieve a better case outcome.
How Being a No-Fault State Could Impact Your Claim
Kentucky is one of the few states in the nation that is considered a completely no-fault state, meaning an auto insurance company is required to pay for the medical expenses of its own policyholders, regardless of fault. Specifically, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage will pay up to $10,000 per accident in medical bills and lost wages if you have the minimum coverage. This does not mean that you give up your right to sue someone who was at fault in your accident.
According to Kentucky law, you can still sue a negligent party for both economic (medical bills, lost wages) and non-economic (pain and suffering) damages if you meet certain conditions. Among these are that the medical expenses from your accident exceed $1,000 OR your injuries resulted in the loss of a body part, permanent loss of bodily function, permanent injury, or death.
Speak with A Qualified Kentucky Auto Accident Attorney
Even a simple auto accident can result in serious injury and costly damages. At the Slechter Law Firm, we remain mindful of the fact that these cases can be packed with emotion and our overriding goal is to do what is right for each client by fighting for the results they need and deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident through no fault of your own, allow our experienced Kentucky auto accident attorneys to investigate your case and take immediate steps to protect your rights. Contact our Louisville office now to schedule a free consultation.