Even if they are minor, car accidents can ruin the day and have significant consequences later. An accident can cause you to miss work or important events, and you may have to deal with traffic citations, liability issues, vehicle repairs, and sometimes injuries or even death of a loved one. If you’re in a car accident in Kentucky, the first thing you should do is to follow safety precautions.
As soon as possible, turn on your hazard lights, setting out flares or warning cones if you carry them. You should call the police to have an accident report prepared and get assistance with finding immediate medical care. A police report can help with the insurance process, and prompt medical care can make a difference in how fast you get better and also creates a record of the extent of your injuries.
If there is an injury, call 911; otherwise, call the Police Department Administrative number for your area. Move your vehicle only if its position puts you in danger or you are instructed to move it by a police officer. However, if the accident occurs on an interstate highway or parkway or an on–ramp or off-ramp and does not involve death, injury or hazardous material, Kentucky law requires that you move the vehicle off the roadway as soon as the vehicle can be moved without the risk of further injury or damage.
After contacting the police, exchange your name, address, phone number, and insurance policy information with the other driver. Write down the driver’s name, insurance policy number, driver’s license number and license plate number. If the driver’s name is not the same name listed on the insurance card, find out what the relationship is and take down both individual’s names, addresses and phone numbers. Note the year, make and model of the car and the location of the incident.
After a car accident, you may want to make an expression of sympathy to the other driver. While you should be polite, don’t apologize. An apology could be construed as an admission of fault in legal proceedings. You should not state that the accident was your fault or your opinions about whose fault it was. Don’t get into an argument with the other driver and if the other driver tries to get into a fight with you, stay calm.
You should always carry a camera or a phone that has a built-in camera. Assuming you are not badly injured, you should document the damage to the vehicles. In addition to close-ups of particular damage, you should take a photograph of the vehicle as a whole so that the photograph can be used to make a claim to your own insurer, as well as the other driver’s insurer. If you believe the other driver was at fault, you may also want to note the sequence of events that led to the accident.
In Kentucky, you cannot sue the other driver unless you have permanent or serious injuries such as disfigurement, organ damage, fractures, as well as at least $1000 in medical expenses. You should first submit the claim to your insurer. The other driver may agree to pay for the damage to your vehicle, but if you feel any kind of pain, it is not a good idea to avoid reporting an accident to your insurer. If you feel pain there is a good chance the other driver does, too. It is better for your insurer to learn how the accident happened from you.
The statute of limitations in Kentucky for injuries or death caused by car accidents is one year for some claims and two years from the date of the accident or from the date of the last payment of Personal Injury Protection (or “no-fault”) benefits for many of the claims arising from the auto accident. If you are hurt or feel pain after the accident, it is important that you contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The other party’s insurer will likely start investigating right away and your attorney also needs to investigate immediately and take steps to preserve evidence.
An experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can retain appropriate experts to determine fault and the long-term effects of your injuries, determine all insurance coverage available and negotiate with an insurer or bring your case to a jury. It is important to consult with an attorney before you talk to the other driver’s insurance adjuster or attorney and before you give a written or verbal statement. Contact us at 877-634-1519 or via our online form.
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