Over six million car accidents occur each year in the United States. Fortunately, most of them involve only property damage – damage to the vehicle as opposed to the occupants. But one in three accidents involves personal injury to the driver or passengers and out of that number, two out of every ten accidents lead to fatal injuries. If you are involved in an automobile accident, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself and your interests. 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 the death of a loved one. If you are in a car accident in Kentucky, the first thing you should do is to follow safety precautions. The following is a list of thing you should do if you are in an automobile accident…
Protect the Scene
Turn on your hazard lights, set out flares or warning cones if you carry them. Call the police and give an accident report and get assistance for medical care as soon as possible. A police report can help with the insurance process.
If there is an injury call 911. Move your vehicle only if its position puts you in danger or you are instructed to move it by a police officer. If the accident occurs on an interstate or on or off-ramp does not involve death, or injury, or hazardous material, Kentucky law requires that you move the vehicle off the roadway as soon as the vehicle can be moved without risk of further injury or damage.
Make An Accurate Record
When the police arrive, make sure you tell the investigating officer(s) exactly what happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain facts, tell that to the officer. Do not speculate, guess, or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked if you are injured and you are not sure, say you are not sure, rather than no. Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle accidents become apparent hours after the actual collision. You should also make sure statements made by other persons involved in the accident are accurate as well. Be sure and exchange your name, address, phone number, and insurance policy information. If the driver’s name is not the same name listed on the insurance card find out what the relationship is and write down bath names, addresses, and phone numbers. Note the year, make and model for the car, and the location of the incident.
Do Not Apologize
After a car accident, you may want to express sympathy to the other drive. Be polite but do not apologize. an apology could to construed as an admission of fault in legal proceedings. Do not get into an argument with the other driver if the other driver tries to get into a fight stay calm the police will be there soon.
If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle, or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage. If you or the other party have visible injuries, you should photograph them as well. However, you should in no way interfere with the on-going police investigation. If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
Protect Your Rights
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. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Your attorney can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not destroyed. Often, insurance companies want to take statements immediately after an accident. It is important that you have received legal advice before providing such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from how to make sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to how to make sure you are getting the best medical treatment available. Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means there is no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries. 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. 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.
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About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.
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