In common law, there used to be a theory called contributory negligence, which considered an injured party’s contribution to their own injury. For example, if you stepped out of the crosswalk and were hit, the law could say that you contributed to your injury because you stepped out of the crosswalk; you are protected inside the crosswalk, but not outside. In common law theory, you would be barred from receiving any compensation for the injury you sustained because you contributed to that injury. Over the course of the last few decades, the laws have evolved to allow for an application of law called comparative negligence. Comparative negligence allows each party to be considered partially responsible for the injury. For example, if you stepped out of the crosswalk and were injured as a result of that, it may be determined that you only contributed 10 percent to your injury and that the person who actually hit you with their vehicle was 90 percent responsible.
If you receive a traffic ticket in an injury case, the personal injury case in and of itself is not doomed, but it can create problems on the comparative negligence issue. This is because in Kentucky, there is negligence per se. If you have been cited in a violation of a state or county ordinance that resulted in an injury, then you will have some fault (called prima facie) based on the fact that it happened. In these types of cases, factual evidence is everything.
You must always notify your insurance company of an auto accident, as your insurance contract requires this. I’ve seen many good cases that were lost simply because the driver failed to notify their insurance company. The other driver has a duty to notify their insurance company as well, but the best course of action for you is to notify both insurance companies. Alternatively, your attorney will notify both insurance companies for you. In Kentucky, there is a property damage component and a personal injury component of your insurance that must be taken care of. In Kentucky, there is no-fault insurance referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. In looking at cases of personal injury, you will need to determine whether or not there is insurance available to cover the damages; without insurance availability, you can be very harmed yet receive no compensation as a result of there being no source from which to obtain it.
Unfortunately, due to the adversarial nature of our legal system, no one is going to assume full guilt and offer to fully compensate an injured party. Instead, it will have to be proven that they were wrong and that they must provide compensation. In order to pay as little as possible, many insurance companies will quickly offer you money before you’ve had a chance to obtain a lawyer, but the worst thing you could do would be to take that money. This is because you choosing to take that money would be contingent upon you signing a release for all claims, meaning that you would never be able to seek additional compensation for the injuries you suffered. This could prove particularly damaging if you ended up needing brain surgery due to a slow-developing hematoma that had been left unrecognized and untreated.
Everyone should be aware of subrogation, which is a term that is in everyone’s insurance contract. When reviewing your insurance contract, you want to ensure that you have coverage for uninsured motorists, which means that your policy will cover you in the event that you get hit by a driver who does not have insurance. If you get hit by a car that is driven by a person who has minimum coverage under the state law, then they will only have $25,000 or $50,000 of coverage for injuries they cause; if you are left with medical bills totaling $500,000, underinsurance coverage will step in and protect you. So always purchase underinsurance motorist coverage.
For more information on Auto Accident Injury Claims In Kentucky, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (859) 341-2500 today.