Paintsville & Ashland Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are one of three leading causes of injury and death in the United States for adults and children aged 1-44. In Kentucky, 638 lives were claimed by car accidents in 2013. About half these crashes were the result of multi-vehicle collisions.
If you have suffered injuries from a car accident, you probably have many questions – like how to get your claim filed and who will pay the medical bills among them. At Salyer Law, we believe being informed is the best way to fight for your rights. Here are answers to some common questions:
I Was In A Car Accident. Now What?
We know car accidents are frightening. Even if you are a levelheaded person, it can be hard to think clearly immediately following one. However, you need to make sure you get proper documentation of the accident, from the damage to the vehicle to the names and numbers of the parties involved. If you are in an accident, here is what you should do:
- Pause, and take a deep breath or two.
- Always check for injuries first. Call 911 if necessary.
- Move your cars to the side of the road if the accident is minor enough.
- Flip on your car’s emergency lights and set out cones if you have them.
- Notify the police so you will have an accident report on file.
- Call your insurance provider. Some companies even have apps and online features, which can cut down on your claim time.
- Do not sign anything, unless an officer on the scene or your insurance agent makes the request.
- Take notes about the accident, including the location, cross streets, and damage to the vehicle.
- Get the insurance information from the other driver.
- Be polite and compliant. Do not lose your cool.
- Discuss the accident only with your insurance agent or law enforcement personnel. Be as factual as possible.
- Take pictures of the accident and damage.
Claim Information and Case Resolution
Often, you can file a claim online or with an app on your phone, which will significantly cut your processing time. Once the insurance company receives your claim, it will have an adjuster estimate the cost of repairs as well as any injuries. The company considers your case resolved when it offers you payment for your car repairs and/or medical bills. It is important that you retain copies of all receipts from mechanics and medical personnel. Your health care provider can give you itemized copies of their charges.
You might find that an insurance company drags its feet before offering you payment. Even the act of hiring legal representation can give insurance companies the push they need to pay you.
Getting Your Medical Bills Paid
If you have injuries from an accident, the last thing you want to worry about is a growing stack of medical bills. Following these tips can help you get your medical bills paid:
- Kentucky is a “no-fault,” state, which means everyone is entitled to a degree of personal injury protection (PIP), regardless of fault. Basic coverage in Kentucky covers $10,000 of medical bills or lost wages. This usually is not enough to cover serious injuries or lengthy hospital stays. When you consider the average cost of an MRI alone is more than $2,600, you can see how you could go through $10,000 quickly.
- Kentucky also set limits on tort rights (your ability to sue or be sued). You cannot try to recover money from lost wages or medical expenses unless they exceed a certain threshold. In Kentucky, it is usually $1,000. If you break a bone or experience a permanent injury or disfigurement, you may pursue compensation for your expenses (including lost wages and emotional damages).
- Health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid may pay all or part of your remaining medical expenses. If you have more than $1,000 in bills after health and car insurance payments, you may be eligible to pursue compensatory damages from the other driver.
Getting your medical bills paid can seem like an endless stream of phone calls and worry, but it does not have to be. If you are owed more than $1,000 in medical bill reimbursement or wage loss, we can help. If you have suffered emotional and physical damages from an accident, you may want to consider collecting damages from the driver at fault. Call our office for a free consultation. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients during our nine years in business. We are ready to work for you to get you the compensation you deserve.
In the United States, an estimated 30 people die per day in alcohol-related incidents, which equals to roughly one person every 51 minutes. Impaired driving costs the United States more than $59 million annually. The costs of drunk driving are real, including damage expenses and costs related to loss of life or permanent injury.
If a drunk driver injured you, you are probably wondering who will pay for all your pain and suffering. When it comes to driving-under-the-influence crashes, there are some things you should know.
Civil Suits vs. Criminal Suits
If a drunk driver injures you or a loved one, chances are he or she already faces criminal charges. According to the Kentucky Legal Code, anyone shown to have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 will face criminal charges. Kentucky has a “per se” clause, which means that anyone who tests 0.08 or higher within two hours of an incident can be charged with DUI “per se,” or “on the face.” A person convicted of a DUI faces from two days to one year in prison and up to $1,000 in fines, depending on the number of offenses.
However, these are criminal charges. Often, you are eligible to file a civil suit on top of any criminal charges rendered against the defendant. In Kentucky, you are eligible to pursue a civil suit only if your medical expenses and lost wages exceed $1,000 after health insurance and car insurance benefits have been exceeded.
We are glued to our phones these days. Unfortunately, some people remain plastered to their devices even behind the wheels of their vehicles, which can lead to distracted driving accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are three kinds of distracted driving:
- Visual, when you take your eyes off of the road.
- Manual, when your hand comes off the wheel.
- Cognitive, which is defined as letting your mind drift.
All these distractions can lead to accidents. If a distracted driver injures you, know what repercussions the at-fault driver faces. Just as in DUI crashes, you are allowed to file a civil suit on top of criminal charges, provided that you meet the threshold set by Kentucky law. There are two types of damages you can pursue:
- Compensatory. These damages reimburse the plaintiff for any harm suffered in excess of what insurance companies paid. Outstanding medical bills, lost wages, benefits, and other intangible losses, such as emotional distress, go into the calculations.
- Punitive. Most commonly, these damages are awarded in class action suits or against companies (for instance, your insurance provider). These are damages usually caused by gross negligence or fraud that exceed compensation. In most cases, your attorney will seek compensatory damages.
Navigating the sea of insurance claims and medical bills can seem like a daunting task after you have been injured. You need time to rest and recover and should not waste time on phone calls and emails that get you nowhere. If you want to seek recourse from the guilty parties of an auto accident or you believe your insurance company should be paying your medical bills, call our Ashland and Paintsville personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.