When you pulled into the parking lot of your favorite mall, you anticipated a relaxing afternoon of ‘retail therapy.’ You never expected to have a distracted driver T-bone your vehicle as you drove in, fracturing your left tibia and sending you to the nearest emergency room in an ambulance. You’re told that you’ll need a plate and screws in that leg to repair the damage, followed by weeks of recovery and physiotherapy.
You’re worried and with good reason. You work as a landscaper, and both the pain and limited mobility from the injury make it impossible to carry out your duties. What can you do?
It is at this point that you should call a Louisville personal injury attorney. You know you’ve sustained a serious injury, one that will impact your earning ability and involve a long and painful recovery process. Your next step should be to hire an experienced legal advocate who has the skills, legal acumen, and resources to fight for the compensation that your case deserves.
A KY Personal Injury Attorney Will Deal With the Insurance Companies
After a car accident, you’ll soon be hearing from the various insurance companies that may be required to compensate you. If you have no-fault coverage and filed a claim for PIP benefits from your own insurer, a representative will reach out as soon as they are aware of the claim.
This is a stage where many accident victims unintentionally jeopardize their claim. Although an insurer may be compelled to pay a legitimate claim, they are like any other business in that their goal is to protect their bottom line. When they ask how you are doing and you say, “Much better” or something equally benign, they may use that response to downplay the seriousness of your injuries.
Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, meaning that the amount of damages you can recover in a car accident claim is reduced by your level of fault for the crash. For example, if your case goes to court and the jury determines that your losses total $50,000 but you were 20% responsible for the accident, your total award will be $40,000 ($50,000 -$10,000). For this reason, insurance companies look for evidence of plaintiff wrongdoing: the more you appear to be responsible for your own injuries, the less they have to pay you in compensation.
Once you hire a Louisville car accident lawyer, they will take over all communication with the insurer(s) and review the accident benefits forms you complete to ensure that you haven’t accidentally prejudiced your claim.
Can I Negotiate a Settlement Without a Personal Injury Lawyer in KY?
Legally, yes, but without a practical knowledge of the law or familiarity with insurance company tactics, you’re not as likely to receive a beneficial result. You may settle for a lot less than your case is really worth or even make decisions that reduce your compensation.
For example, should you initially file a claim with your own insurance company and then pursue additional compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you will have to reimburse your own insurer if there is an overlap in the compensation.
What does this mean? If your no-fault benefits paid $10,000 for medical bills and you go on to receive $20,000 for the same damages from the at-fault driver, $10,000 of that money may have to be paid to your insurer. The process is called subrogation, and in some cases, it can reduce the amount of your actual award.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s so important to pursue personal injury compensation with help from an experienced attorney. In fact, according to a comprehensive study by the International Research Council, injury victims who were represented by a lawyer received nearly three and a half times more money even after attorney’s fees were paid.
Questions to Ask a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
When you’re seeking representation, you want someone who’s thoroughly versed in Kentucky personal injury law and has a strong track record of getting results for clients. Below are some questions you should ask during your consultation.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Personal Injury Law in KY?
Make sure you select a personal injury attorney with years of experience handling cases like yours. In many ways, this decision is similar to pursuing medical treatment: for example, it was probably an orthopedic surgeon who operated on your broken leg, not a general practitioner. While a GP knows the foundations of human anatomy, the specialist is in the best position to treat you.
At The Schafer Law Office, we focus exclusively on personal injury law. We know how to assign a value to your claim, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and present your case to a judge and jury if necessary. All of our decisions are backed by years of experience and a track record of good results.
Have You Handled Personal Injury Cases Like Mine Before? Did Any Go to Trial?
You want to work with a lawyer who understands how a broken leg can impact your physical, financial, and emotional wellbeing and use that knowledge to obtain fair compensation. By seeing examples of similar cases they’ve handled, you’ll be able to determine whether they have the experience to handle complex legal issues and what sorts of settlements they have achieved for previous clients.
In most cases, settlements are reached before trials ever take place. However, if the case goes to court, you should ensure that your attorney has sufficient jury trial experience, so ask about their background in this area.
Do You Have Testimonials or References from Past Clients That I Can See?
Taking a look at previous clients’ experiences can be just as important as proof of past results. It’s important to find someone you feel confident working with when seeking legal representation. You may also be going through a difficult time physically and emotionally, so choosing an attorney who is sympathetic yet professional can make all the difference.
Many Kentucky personal injury lawyers have client testimonials on their website, but if you’re speaking to one who doesn’t, don’t hesitate to ask for references. You’re placing the future of your case in their hands, and you want to feel confident doing so.
Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer in KY Today
If you’ve been hit by a distracted driver or suffered any other kind of personal injury, contact the experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyers at the Schafer Law Office. Attorney Mike Schafer and his team make the rights of our clients a priority and won’t be intimidated by stubborn insurance companies and their counsel. Our goal will be to get the financial recovery you need to compensate you for your losses and sustain you as you heal. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online.