What to Expect Following Your Accident
June 21, 2022
We all know that accidents happen. One minute, you are driving along. Suddenly, you feel the impact of another vehicle. What happens next can be confusing, frightening, and even maddening. It helps to know what to expect when the unexpected occurs.
At The Law Office of Kyle S. Hall, I have seen accident victims come through my door filled with anxiety. As a personal injury attorney, it is my job to make sure you know what to expect following your accident. Once you do, you and I will be able to navigate the claims process as a team. It’s your claim. I am here to coach you through it.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else in Hazard, Kentucky, or in the Letcher, Knott, Leslie, or Perry counties, I’m here to provide compassionate legal guidance to you and tenacious representation of your claim.
How Do Personal Injury Claims Work in Kentucky?
Kentucky is one of only 12 states that are no-fault states for auto accidents, but one of only three of those with a “choice” no-fault system.
In a no-fault system, your own auto insurance policy pays for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other economic damages, even if someone else causes the crash. If your injuries are serious enough, you can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, usually after exhausting your coverage limits. Kentucky auto owners are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) for no-fault claims.
You can, however, opt-out of the no-fault system by carrying bodily injury liability minimums of $25,000 per accident and $50,000 per person, per accident, along with at least $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. Alternatively, you can carry a policy with $60,000 in combined liability limits and uninsured motorist coverage equal to the individual bodily injury liability limits.
How Is the Damage to My Vehicle Paid For?
The shop approved by the insurer will assess the damage to your vehicle and estimate the cost of car repairs or total the vehicle if the damage warrants it. The insurance adjuster, yours and/or the insurer of the at-fault party, will inspect the damage and must approve the repairs.
You should expect that often, the damage is more than first assessed. Once the shop begins making repairs, it’s not unusual for them to find more extensive damage. All repairs must be approved by the insurance adjuster for payment.
The shop and the adjuster will work together on the property damage claim. Nearly all insurance companies pay the repair shop directly for their work.
How Is My Medical Treatment Paid For?
How your medical treatment is paid for depends on several factors. If you have no-fault insurance coverage, you will first access your PIP benefits to pay medical expenses and reimburse you for lost wages due to your injuries. If you exhaust those benefits, you can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance. If you do, you will be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, which PIP does not cover.
If you opted out of no-fault coverage and into liability coverage, you will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. Either way, it is important that you seek immediate medical attention for several reasons.
First, you should be examined after an accident, even if you don’t think or aren’t sure you are injured. Some injuries do not cause pain or other symptoms right away, but an emergency physician knows what types of injuries to look for, how to diagnose them, and what follow-up medical treatment or specialists you should see. A delay in diagnosing and treating injuries could mean you never fully recover from them.
Second, whether you file a claim against your PIP benefits or the at-fault driver’s insurance, you will need documentation of a medical diagnosis that relates your injuries to the crash and of the expenses incurred to treat them. An insurance company, either yours or the other driver’s, will use a delay in treatment as evidence of the insignificance of your crash injuries or allege that you injured yourself in some other manner between the accident and your claim.
Will the Insurance Company Pay Me for My Expenses?
You should expect the insurance company, yours, and the at-fault driver will work diligently to not pay you for your expenses. Insurance companies make profits by not paying claims, which is why it is wise to work with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Your attorney will investigate the circumstances of the crash, collect all necessary documentation that supports your claim, and assign a monetary value to it. Your attorney will submit a demand letter to the insurance company with those documents, requesting a settlement amount for your claim.
It is extremely rare for an insurance company to pay the amount initially demanded, which means your attorney will enter into negotiations with the insurer. If the insurer refuses to offer just compensation for your claim, your attorney can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver and pursue a judgment.
Throughout the entire process, you are the person who makes all decisions regarding your claim. Your personal injury attorney will guide you, provide input and information, and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to make a case for your compensation. It is your claim. Your attorney is here to help.
Skilled Legal Guidance
One thing you should expect is to never underestimate the unwillingness of an insurance company to pay. If you work with The Law Office of Kyle S. Hall, you should never underestimate the tenacity I will employ to fight for you.
If you have been injured in an accident in Hazard, Kentucky, call my office now to schedule a free case consultation. I will tell you what to expect, and much more.