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What to Know Before Going to the ER After an Accident

SlechterLaw Firm, PLLC 
Female With Whiplash Injury after Car Crash

You set out one fine morning in your vehicle to go to work, or perhaps to go shopping or visit friends, and somewhere along the journey, another driver rams their vehicle into yours. You’re emotionally shaken but otherwise not sure if you’ve suffered any serious injury. Perhaps worse, you do feel aches, pains, or other injuries, but you conclude that it’s not that big of a deal – it’ll all go away, right? 

When you experience an auto accident, your body may release morphine-like hormones known as endorphins and provide you with an adrenaline rush that will mask what’s really happened to your body, at least for the time being. Sometimes, injuries and their symptoms don’t surface until hours, days, or even weeks later. The point is to get a medical checkup immediately, and the most likely venue to do that is in an emergency room. Few doctors accept walk-in visits. 

While the ER doctors and personnel can help evaluate and treat your injuries immediately after an accident, you also need to be aware that what you do and don’t do on your visit can affect your claim for injuries with your insurance company or with the driver who caused your accident and resulting injuries. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in or around Louisville, Kentucky, be sure to get immediate medical evaluation and treatment. Then, contact the Slechter Law Firm, PLLC. The firm’s husband-and-wife team of personal injury attorneys will provide you with personalized service and fight for the just compensation due to you. They serve clients not only in Louisville but throughout the state, including Lexington. 

What to Do After an Auto Accident 

As mentioned earlier, when you’re struck by another vehicle, at first, you may not feel much pain because your body has an immediate masking effect, but that doesn’t mean you’ve escaped injury. You need to seek immediate medical evaluation, and the ER is the most readily accessible resource for doing that. 

You also need to obtain the other driver’s contact and insurance information. If there are witnesses, you should get their statements and contact information as well. Take photos on your smartphone of what happened. Call 911 if you feel you need immediate medical help, and also to get police to investigate. A police report will be a great help in any claim or lawsuit you file. 

The main point, however, is not to dismiss what happened, but to get medical professionals to evaluate what happened to you. And when you do so, make sure you cover all the bases. 

What You Should Know and Do When Going to the ER 

When you go to the emergency room, you need to specify that your injuries were the result of an accident caused by another driver. You want that fact to be on the record when it comes time to pursue your claim or lawsuit. 

At the same time, however, you must be cautious in what you say. You don’t want to say anything that makes it sound as if you contributed in any way to the accident. There are legitimate legal reasons for both of these bits of advice.  

Though Kentucky is a “choice” no-fault insurance state, whether you have no-fault or at-fault insurance, you’re going to be subject to the commonwealth’s pure comparative negligence rule. This means that, in a court of law, or even in negotiating an insurance settlement, both you and the other driver are going to be assigned a percentage of fault. 

For instance, if you’re rear-ended and injured but your brake lights weren’t working, you could be assigned by a jury or claims adjuster 20 percent (or more or less) of the fault. Thus, a $20,000 award or settlement for your injuries would be reduced by 20 percent, down to $16,000. 

Now, if your insurance is no-fault, your first recourse is to seek recompense for your medical and related expenses for your injuries through your PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, but if your medical expenses exceed $1,000 or result in serious injury, then you can sue the other driver for personal injury. That’s another reason why it’s important not to admit any fault when seeking medical aid. 

Other important steps in your ER visit include getting detailed receipts and records of everything that’s been done. You may also be asked to sign various forms, including those relating to your treatment plan and your insurance coverage. Make sure you read and understand these documents before applying your signature. They may have clauses that increase your liability – ER visits can indeed be expensive – and might make your personal injury claim more difficult. 

Turn to Reliable Legal Advice

Even in what may seem to be a straightforward, simple insurance claim, you can be challenged for your part in the accident under the comparative negligence standard. Insurance companies are for-profit entities, and their claims adjusters have been trained to put you through the proverbial wringer to assign some fault to you to lower their liability.  

Contact the Slechter Law Firm, PLLC immediately after injuries in an accident and let them answer the claims adjuster’s questions and negotiate for your settlement. Plus, if the injuries are serious or costly enough, they can take the claim to another level by filing a personal injury lawsuit.   

Your initial consultation is free, so reach out to review your case that occurred in or around Lousiville, Kentucky.