CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
IN RICHMOND, KY
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If you’ve been in a car accident in Richmond, Kentucky, then you probably have some questions: “What is the first thing I should do after the wreck?” “How is fault determined?” “How will I pay my bills?” “Do I need a car accident lawyer?” “Can I get compensated for the accident?” No matter how cautious and responsible a driver you may be, car wrecks happen, regardless of fault. It can happen to anyone and that moment can blindside anyone you without notice. Of course, the best way to avoid serious injury from an auto accident is to practice defensive driving techniques and to use your seatbelt.
If you have just been in a serious car wreck in Richmond, KY, then it’s important for you to immediately call 911, check on those who may be hurt, move your vehicle out of the highway or road, if possible, and take pictures of the damage and scene, if possible, as you wait for the EMT and police to arrive.
At the Morrin Law Office, our Richmond personal injury professional team is dedicated to fighting for the rights of accident victims and helping injured Kentuckians recover financially and physically after their lives have been turned upside down by a devastating car accident. We help folks get back to their best life after a serious injury by recovering money from the insurance companies. If we could rewind the clock for our clients so they never have to deal with the pain, inconvenience, missed work, surgery, and multiple doctor appointments then that is exactly what we would do. The reality is that we are able to recovery money from the responsible insurance company to pay our clients’ medical bills that accrue while they recover, their mortgage and utility bills if they’ve had to miss work, and necessary future medical treatment that they will need eventually because of the accident. We are always improving ourselves to provide the best service to our clients while they recover from a serious injury to get back to their best life.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident and are looking for professional guidance, text or call us at 859-358-0300 or message us on Facebook for a 100% NO COST case evaluation and claim estimate after a serious injury or loss of a loved one.
We work hard every day to help hurt Kentuckians get their lives back after an accident. We do things differently at the Morrin Law Office, and our clients love the difference!
WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT IN RICHMOND, KENTUCKY
The moments immediately following a car accident can be a blur. But what you do next is hugely important, especially if you weren’t entirely at fault in the collision. What happens next could help make or break your personal injury claim.
As good practice before you are ever in a car accident in Kentucky, remember to consider the following:
-Keep your car registration and proof of insurance with you in your vehicle
-Always have your driver’s license readily available
-Test your hazard lights regularly, and keep a flashlight on hand
-Maintain your car insurance coverage and consider additional Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) in case an uninsured driver hits you
-Store ways to document the scene on hand in your car: pen, paper, camera, or a smartphone for an all-in-one approach
One quick note: for added protection, download the Morrin Law Injury Help App on your iPhone, which includes these features as well as Automatic Crash Detection that alerts your emergency contacts when an accident has occurred. If interested, learn more about the Morrin Law Injury Help App and how it functions similarly to OnStar (except it’s free)!
Now that you’re better prepared for an unlucky day, what’s next? You’ve just been in an accident. What happens now?
1. Stop, Pull Over, and Help
NEVER leave the scene of an accident, regardless of fault or severity of the collision. Instead, if you’re able, try to safely pull away from traffic, and turn on your hazard lights to alert others to the situation. If anyone is seriously injured, including yourself, call 911 immediately for medical support.
2. Call 911
Immediately reporting auto accidents, big or small, to police is central to making sure that police investigate the crash and that an official police report is developed shortly after the auto wreck. The police report commonly details important facts about the crash, some of which can be pivotal in establishing fault and obtaining the full amount of compensation to which victims are entitled.
If the other driver wants to settle things without the police, that is all the more reason TO involve the local authorities. Wait it out at the scene of the accident.
3. Document the Scene
As you wait for the officer(s) to arrive, it is wise to document the scene. Using the materials you stored in your vehicle, take photos of all relevant damage to both vehicles, any visible injuries you may have received, the road conditions, and of the scene at large. Write down your recollection of the accident exactly as it occurred. All of this information will prove vital moving forward as you file your insurance claims.
4. Exchange Information
Consider exchanging information with all others involved while waiting for the officer(s) to arrive on scene as well. Get their full names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance details. If there are witnesses to the scene, get their contact information as well to strengthen your case. A reporting officer will likely collect all this information as well, but it is best to be proactive regardless. After the police collect all the relevant details, they should also provide a report number, which will enable you to access the police report later. (And remember to store all of this information in a single file you can readily access at home moving forward!)
5. Report to Police
Once the police arrive on the scene of the collision, give them your honest account of the accident. Do not guess or speculate, only provide the facts and tell the officer you don’t remember if you are not absolutely certain. Do NOT admit any blame, and if asked if you are injured, do NOT say no even if you are only “a little sore.” Instead, say you aren’t sure if you don’t seem injured. This will protect you down the road, as some injuries from car accidents (such as some painful soft tissue injuries) do not appear until hours or days later. Also, if possible, ensure the others involved in the accident are providing accurate details to the officer(s) as well.
Examples of the information contained in police reports for Kentucky auto accidents include the following:
-When and where the accident occurred
-The involved drivers, all victims and/or any witnesses
-The weather and road conditions at the time of the crash
-Whether any involved motorist was issued a citation and/or arrested after the crash
-The findings of the police investigation for the crash
If you have been in a car accident in Richmond, KY, but you don’t have a copy of the accident report, then you may REQUEST A FREE COLLISION REPORT at no cost to you! Simply provide your email address and we will obtain a copy of the report and email it to you for free!
If the police are not called after the crash, then you should file your own collision report within 10 days of the crash. To file a police collision report for a car crash anywhere in Kentucky then you may do so using the Kentucky State Police Civilian Collision Report Form.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAR ACCIDENTS
Scary as it may be to consider, there are many ways in which you could be involved in an accident. It is useful to understand the differences between each type to better respond in a crisis. As they say, knowledge is power.
Single Car Accident
Not all collisions involve two or more vehicles. Accidents involving road debris, animals, collisions with poles, trees or walls, or, as we’ll see below, rollovers are often single car accidents. However, even with one car involved, injury may occur to the driver and passengers, as well as property damage. If the single vehicle wreck was the fault of the driver, then the passengers in the driver’s vehicle may have a legitimate claim with the driver’s insurance company. If the single vehicle wreck was caused by hazardous highway or road conditions, then everyone in the vehicle may have a claim against the government entity obligated to care for the particular condition to make the roads and highways safe. Some of these causes include roadside hazards, line of sight obstructions, pavement edge drops, construction zones that were not properly marked, and unreasonably dangerous rail-highway grade crossings.
Often sudden, terrifying, and dangerous, vehicle rollovers are self-explanatory: your vehicle literally rolls over itself, flipping upside down or onto its side. These can occur for any number of reasons—road conditions, weather, speed, driver behavior, or, too often, drunk driving—but frequently affect vehicles with high centers of gravity like SUVs, vans, and pickup trucks attempting to take sharp turns. Many rollover accidents lead to serious injury or death, and they can happen quickly if a driver doesn’t slow down enough for a curve in the road.
A rear end collision occurs when one vehicle, oftentimes a semi-truck that can’t stop in time, hits another vehicle from behind. Most commonly a result of distracted driving, it can also occur due to poor road conditions, weather, or the need to suddenly hit the brakes. The vehicle rear-ending the other from behind is almost always held responsible as the at-fault driver in these types of accidents. Whiplash, concussions, and neck and back injuries are common in this situation due to the unexpected collision. However, just because they are common, does not mean these injuries aren’t serious. Nearly half of whiplash injuries will have some kind of permanent injury or symptom that an individual will experience the rest of their life. The insurance company will even tell hurt people that because the accident occurred at low speeds there is no way they are hurt very badly (without knowing anything but what is in the police report).
The truth is that even low speed accidents can subject car passengers to experience sudden g-force acceleration of their head at a force that is 250% faster than the peak acceleration of the vehicle they are riding in, even if the impact occurred at under 10 mph. This means that the occupants of a vehicle will experience more bodily damage than the vehicle damage in almost every collision, and certainly every rear end collision.
Although the insurance company will act as if they have no idea about this basic fact of physics, many reports in medical journals have concluded that impacts at speeds even as low as five miles per hour can cause significant neck and cervical injury, including whiplash and herniated discs. These injuries can lead to chronic pain, numbness, weakness, or functional limitations lasting months or longer. Whiplash injuries may take months or years to heal on their own, if they do at all, and some even requiring surgery if more conservative treatment does not resolve the pain and symptoms.
The classic T-Bone wreck, when the side of your vehicle is hit by the front end of another vehicle it can cause very serious injuries and pain. Common at intersections, passing lanes, stop signs, and parking lots, the side of the vehicle that is hit can cause damage that is more severe than in some of the other collision types discussed. If a driver is t-boned, then it’s very likely they will have whiplash and concussion injuries. Sideswipes also fall under this category, where parallel sides of vehicles brush against each other, but they can be less serious unless one vehicle pushes the other into oncoming traffic, or a fixed object such as a telephone pole. Even if you are avoiding a sideswipe collision and wreck into a tree, sign, building, or guard rail, if the other driver was in your lane then they should still be found at-fault, although the insurance company will likely fight over this.
When the front of two vehicles collide it is called a head-on collision. Sometimes, one vehicle is clearly in the wrong, traveling on the opposite side of the street, on a one-way, or crossing lanes into incoming traffic. Other times, fault is not so clear and it’s difficult to tell which driver veered, over-corrected, or was at fault for a number of other reasons such as one of the drivers involved doesn’t remember the wreck (common with sever collisions which often involve a concussion) and the other driver’s account isn’t supported by any evidence. If you, or someone you know, is involved in a head on collision then it’s very important you seek private professional help; do not simply rely on your insurance company for help because they will usually only help you if it also helps their bottom line—don’t leave it to chance. According to the Fatal Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 75% of head-on collisions occur on country roads, and two-way roads without a divider. We have a lot of these roads in Kentucky. If you’re involved in a head on collision in Richmond, KY, then you should contact an injury professional who handles these matters every day even if you think you may have been at fault. Fault is not always what it may seem, and it’s not something that should be trusted to the insurance companies. Certainly get an opinion from a professional if there is a serious injury or death caused by the head on collision.
Multiple Vehicle Collision
These collisions occur when more than two vehicles are involved in the accident, in extreme cases even resulting in a pile-up or a chain reaction as each collision causes another. Each vehicle can be hit multiple times in various positions, and it can be difficult with so many parties to determine fault, especially with all of the insurance companies pointing fingers at one another. In a multiple vehicle collision, it can be important to write down the license plate numbers of each vehicle involved. Sometimes, irresponsible people think they can simply leave the scene to avoid liability. Don’t risk this if there are multiple vehicles involved. Take pictures of the damage and license plates with your phone, especially if a vehicle is drivable.
When one driver, typically the driver who caused the wreck, leaves the scene of an accident before authorities arrive to take a report, this is called a hit and run. Without vigilant witnesses or taking pictures of the vehicles, tracking the one responsible can be very difficult. If such an irresponsible driver is found after leaving the scene of an accident then they will likely face criminal charges and may also face punitive damages if the right Richmond, KY car accident lawyer is hired. If you are in a Richmond, KY car accident but the other driver leaves the scene before information can be exchanged or before the police arrive, then your damage and injuries may be covered by your Uninsured Motorist (UM) policy that you hopefully purchased after reading good advice from your friendly neighborhood personal injury lawyer. If that is the case, then file the claim with your insurance provider. If they deny your claim, then ask them to send the denial and explanation to you in writing so you may have a professional review it on your behalf. Car insurance companies like to deny claims they should pay with the hope that folks won’t get professional help.
Extremely dangerous and unpredictable, operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is an often deadly crime. The legal limit nationwide is .08% BAC, or Blood Alcohol Content, meaning you cannot exceed this amount. A number of factors to consider include: 1) the number of drinks consumed, 2) the time between drinks and since last drink, 3) accompanying meals, if any, and 4) your body weight. There is, of course, zero tolerance for underage drinkers. If there is any chance of drug or alcohol use in your day, ALWAYS PLAN AHEAD by designating a responsible driver. And even if you’re completely sober, be extra vigilant around major holidays, weekends, and night trips, keeping your eye out for suspicious driving behavior. If you are hit by a drunk driver, then you should almost certainly seek the help of a car accident professional who handles such matters every day. If you are hit by a driver you think may be drunk or otherwise impaired, then make sure to inform the officer responding to your car accident of this suspicion so the officer can conduct some tests to make that determination. The insurance company won’t care if you smelled alcohol on the other driver’s breath if the responding officer didn’t take any action.
Drunk driving isn’t the only dangerous way to operate a vehicle. Distracted drivers are perhaps the most common cause of serious car accidents because of the prevalence of cell phone use, though anything that distracts a driver’s attention from the road—from other passengers to food—can lead to accidents. Likewise, lack of quality sleep can lead to fatigued driving, where a driver’s alertness is dulled and response time is slowed even more than if they were drunk. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017 alone, drowsy driving caused 795 deaths from car accidents caused by fatigue. The majority of these accidents occur at night, as you might suspect. Finally, reckless driving can be as simple as speeding 15 miles over the limit, driving in a purposefully careless fashion, swerving in and out of lanes unnecessarily, following the car in front of you too closely, passing at inappropriate times, racing, driving on the sides of the road, and any other manner of driving which demonstrates a disregard for public safety.
Of course, you don’t even have to be operating a vehicle to be involved in a car accident. With the rise of services such as Uber and Lyft comes the possibility of accidents and injury while riding as a passenger. If you are injured in a car accident that occurred while you were riding as a paying customer, then the Uber or Lyft insurance policies will be the appropriate policies against which you may be able to file your claim. As in other accidents, take pictures and make sure nobody is impaired.
HOW IS FAULT DETERMINED IN RICHMOND, KY?
The moment of panic has passed, the scene has been serviced, the injured rushed to the hospital, and the accident reported to the authorities and insurance companies. What now? Who was responsible, and who owes whom?
It’s important to note that if you’ve been in a car accident in Richmond, KY, or anywhere else in the state, you’re participating in a no-fault system in regard to insurance and settlements. Drivers in Kentucky, who don’t reject the no-fault system in writing and properly filed, give up their right to sue or be sued, unless the accident results in one or more of the following: 1) $1000 or more in medical expenses, 2) permanent disfigurement or injury, 3) broken bone(s), or 4) death. As a result, your insurance will cover injury claims up to a specified limit, usually $10,000.00. Drivers are obligated to carry basic personal injury protection coverage (PIP) on all motor vehicles (excluding motorcycles), as well as bodily injury liability insurance.
The negotiations, interviews, and investigations all begin when you file your claim unless the wreck was severe enough that the insurance company has already sent their investigator. Insurance companies will review the damages and pay out a claim settlement accordingly. You can provide more information or file a lawsuit if you believe the settlement amount does not adequately reflect damages or if it was denied outright; it’s helpful to get a professional opinion about whether or not the amount offered by the insurance company adequately compensates you under Kentucky law because almost all insurance companies have a bad habit of paying pennies on the dollar of what should be paid if a claimant is representing themselves. Most accident cases are resolved at these stages. Kentucky has no cap on damages for personal injury and car accident cases. However, there is a two-year time limit from the date of the accident on how long one has to file an injury case in a motor vehicle accident.
Finally, car accidents in Kentucky are susceptible to the pure comparative negligence rule, which allows both parties to recover damages, even the offending party. This can leave you open to liability even as the clear victim of a collision. Working with an experienced car accident lawyer in Richmond, KY can help you navigate the complex systems of insurance, hospital records and billing, and the law. Fortunately for you, we handle Kentucky injuries every day and almost exclusively. Text or call us now at 859-358-0300!
AUTO ACCIDENT INSURANCE CLAIMS
In Kentucky, the first $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages related to auto accident injuries can be paid by a victim’s own insurance company through a provision is known as PIP (personal injury protection) or BRB (basic reparation benefits).
However, medical bills and lost wages often exceed $10,000. It is important that these benefits are directed in the best way to serve your needs. After the first $10,000, the at-fault driver’s insurance company pays and any other applicable liability policies. Then, any applicable Under Insured Motorist (UIM) policies will pay. After that, we would check for any umbrella insurance policies that may apply.
Having an attorney who helps injured Kentuckians every day help with your case early on can save you tens of thousands of dollars by wisely directing your PIP benefits. When additional medical treatment is difficult to obtain, a dedicated Kentucky personal injury lawyer will help you work with medical providers to make sure you get the treatment you need. Your attorney will often be able to get medical providers to agree to payment after the settlement and should be able to settle such claims in a way that saves you thousands. If your attorney can’t explain how they are going to do that then please come speak with our professionals before you sign with anyone else.
If you get the insurance company’s best offer while representing yourself then we are often able to guarantee that amount of money to your benefit even after our fee is paid—so far we have always added value to our injured clients’ pockets and we’ve never had to cut our fee to do this, although that is part of this case-by-case guarantee we offer at the Morrin Law Office. If you do speak with the insurance company without representation then remember the following principles:
Do not trust the insurer(s) to be on your side, regardless of how sympathetic they may seem;
Insurer(s) are generally looking out for their own interests and bottom lines;
Insurer(s) have teams of people working on trying to limit payouts and/or deny claims (to protect their profits); and
The best way to protect yourself when dealing with insurance companies for auto accident claims is to retain an experienced attorney who can represent you and work with insurer(s) on your behalf.
FINANCIAL RECOVERIES FOR ACCIDENT SURVIVORS
In Kentucky, the first $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages related to auto accident injuries can be paid by a victim’s own insurance company through a provision is known as PIP (personal injury protection) or BRB (basic reparation benefits).
When car accident claims and cases are successful, victims can receive damages that include (but are not necessarily limited to) compensation for:
Lost wages and earning capacity
Future projected earnings
Loss of consortium
Pain and suffering
Punitive damages (in some cases)
Funeral and burial expenses (when families pursue car accident cases after losing a loved one to a deadly auto wreck)
We understand that there’s no amount of money that can ever make up for serious, permanent injuries and/or the loss of a loved one. However, we are also aware that these recoveries can be critical to alleviating victims’ – both crash survivors and families who have lost loved ones – financial stresses during difficult times as they focus on healing. We are also able to provide accountability for the individual who caused the serious injury or loss of your loved one. Our car accident lawyers understand that many of the most devastating losses and the purpose of hiring private counsel is to hold the at-fault party accountable and to, hopefully, prevent something similar from happening again in the future.
Contact the injury professionals who do things differently. We provide a 100% risk-free consultation for all injured individuals or for anyone who has lost a loved one. Schedule a risk-free consultation to see if your case is eligible for our best offer guarantee through which we make sure your interests are not at risk. Call or text us at 859-358-0300.