Experienced Murray Personal Injury Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions about Kentucky Car and Truck Accident Law
If you have been hurt in a car or truck accident, we know that you are probably dealing with a stack of confusing bills, claims and paperwork, while at the same time trying to deal with your injuries and get back on your feet or back to work, if possible. Hiring an attorney to deal with your insurance or negligence claim can help a lot, but it can be intimidating to know where to start. Below are answers to some basic questions we are often asked at the Hatfield Law Firm, as we help people in Murray and throughout Kentucky who have been injured in a car or truck accident. If you have other questions or need to speak to an attorney regarding your potential claims, call the Hatfield Law Firm at 270-759-3954 for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyer.
When can I sue the at-fault driver for negligence in a car accident?
If you rejected Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage (no-fault insurance), then you are not restricted from pursuing the other driver for compensation. If you have PIP insurance, which pays you up to $10,000 for your medical bills, lost income and other out of pocket expenses without regard to who was at fault, then you can only go after the at-fault driver if one of the following conditions are present:
- Your medical bills exceed $1,000
- You broke a bone in the crash
- You were permanently disfigured
- Your injury is permanent
- You suffered the permanent loss of a body function
- You lost a body member
- A person died in the wreck and you are suing on his or her behalf as personal representative
If I was partially to blame in causing the accident, will I still be able to recover against a negligent driver?
Kentucky follows a rule of pure comparative negligence. This means that even if you are partly responsible in an accident, you can still recover against another negligent driver, although the amount of any judgment you receive will be reduced in proportion to the amount of blame assigned to you. Trying to shift the blame onto you is a favorite tactic of the insurance companies, but don’t take their word for it. Whether you are legally responsible and how much is an issue that may need to be litigated, and your attorney will fight to see that you are not unfairly saddled with any of the blame that does not rightfully belong to you.
What if the driver who hit me did not have insurance or had minimum coverage?
Unless you specifically rejected it in writing, you should have uninsured motorist (UM) on your liability insurance policy. When you are hit by an uninsured driver, you can make a claim with your own insurance company under your UM coverage. If the driver who hit you had minimum or insufficient coverage, you may be able to make a claim against your insurance company under your underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage if you purchased that coverage. Because the cost of medical care, loss of income and other harm can far exceed the limits of the at-fault driver’s policy, it is advisable that you purchase UIM coverage. These claims are often complex, and therefore It is recommended that you hire a lawyer to handle your case, as the insurance company may try to avoid paying full and fair compensation.
What if I can’t afford a lawyer for my car accident case?
Most personal injury attorneys are willing to take your case on a contingency fee basis, where the legal fee charged by the lawyer is contingent on obtaining a favorable result with the case. If the attorney is successful, then the fee is calculated as a percentage of your recovery. If the attorney is not successful in obtaining a settlement or jury verdict, then you are not charged any legal fee. The contingency fee arrangement allows every deserving person to obtain high-quality legal representation regardless of their ability to pay, and it also motivates the attorney to do as good a job for you as possible.
When choosing an attorney to represent you, find out if the firm accepts cases on a contingency fee basis and also if they will advance all of the up-front costs of litigation, such as court filing fees, the production of documents, and expert witness fees. These expenses are later deducted from any award you receive after the attorney’s fee is calculated (COURT COSTS AND CASE EXPENSES WILL BE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CLIENT). You want an attorney with the resources to fully litigate your case and the commitment to seeing the case through to the very end to get the best result for you.