I Was In An Accident! Now What Do I Do?

Most of us don't get into car wrecks with enough frequency to have a system for handling such events (thankfully).  Fortunately, there are professionals who handle car and truck accidents every day.

If you are reading this immediately after a wreck, then call 911 to report the wreck and request an ambulance if appropriate.  If a vehicle is blocking traffic, move it to the shoulder if possible.  If the police do not get involved then it's important to complete your own Civilian Collision Report to submit to the Kentucky State Police.

Take pictures of any damage or injuries caused by the collision.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so wouldn't you rather just show a picture?  It is wise to record details of how the crash occurred.  Make sure you get the following information about the other vehicles and drivers:

·       Name, address, and license number from the driver's license;

·       License plate number;

·       Insurance company name and number for each vehicle;

·       Make, model, and year of each vehicle;

After collecting the information mentioned above you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible (your policy requires you to do so).  While on the phone with them go ahead and open a Personal Injury Protection (A.K.A. "Basic Reparation Benefits") claim and get the claim number to submit to medical care providers for billing.  In Kentucky, your insurance company will cover the first $10,000.00 in medical expenses, wages lost because of the car or truck wreck, and out-of-pocket expenses caused by the accident regardless of who was at fault.

It is very important to get yourself checked out by a medical professional immediately after the collision, and that you not attempt to diagnose yourself.  Just like you shouldn't try to determine legal fault of a car accident without a legal professional, you should not try to be your own doctor by diagnosing yourself without a medical professional.  After a wreck an individual's endorphins and adrenaline are released into the body.  This can often cause one to think they are fine when they have an injury, oftentimes a soft-tissue injury, that will get worse over time; not better.

It is almost equally important to speak with a legal professional shortly after a wreck.  An experienced legal professional will be able to conduct an immediate investigation before evidence disappears, provide a professional analysis of fault, and guide you through the tangle of insurance claims and best practices for interacting with an insurance company.  Determining who is at fault in a car accident is not always black and white.  Fault depends on local and state traffic rules, road conditions, and the behavior of the drivers involved in the accident.  Kentucky is a "pure comparative fault" state.  This means that a jury can determine you are 50% at fault and therefore you would only be allowed to recover 50% of your damages.  One indicator of who the police officer thinks may be at fault is the unit designated for each vehicle on the police report.  If the other driver's vehicle is designated as unit 1 then that usually means the officer's initial impression was the other driver was at fault.  This is just one indicator but the officer doesn't determine fault; the jury does.  I have collected for clients who have been listed as unit 1 before.

If your medical expenses are not astronomical, and sometimes even if they are, then a well-practiced car accident lawyer will be able to convince the insurance company to settle the claim by making a reasonable payout.  If you have higher medical expenses then it is more likely you will need to file a complaint to get the matter before a jury of your peers.  The insurance companies will fight even legitimate claims in the hope that they will find a way to win and not have to pay your claim.

 

The Insurance Research Council conducted a study which found attorney representation increases claim values paid out by 350% on average.  If you have been in a car accident then please don't hesitate to contact a specialist to get the most out of your claim.

From the Author: Morrin Law Office

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