If you or someone you love was injured in an accident, you will need to file a personal injury claim to receive compensatory damages. As this process can be a little complicated if you have never done it before, it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney beforehand. Today, we provide an overview of what you should know about the process of handling a personal injury claim in Kentucky from start to finish.
Steps in a Personal Injury Case
Step 1: Seek immediate medical treatment
This is the most important step in the process. If you were involved in an accident, you will need to go see a doctor. Even if you think you did not suffer any harm, you should still go see a doctor for an examination. Just because you do not feel any pain immediately after the accident, does not mean that you are uninjured. Adrenaline can stay in your system for quite some time, blocking sensations like pain.
Additionally, refusing to go see a doctor could work to your disadvantage in the future when you ask for compensation for your injuries. The other party’s insurance company could use the fact that you waited to get medical treatment against you, questioning the severity of your injuries and the validity of your claim.
Step 2: Consult with an experienced personal injury attorney
Even if you decide not to hire an attorney, it would still be smart to contact one to discuss your claim. You may not be aware of certain things like the statue of limitations of filing a lawsuit, or other important details that require legal assistance.
When you come to a consultation (whether online or in person, if applicable) come prepared to discuss the details of your claim. You should also bring medical records, evidence from the accident, photographs of your injuries, and any other information that would be helpful to your lawyer.
Step 3: Set up your personal injury claim
You or your attorney will inform the person who will be held liable for your injuries and other damages as well as their insurance provider that you are going to file a claim.
Step 4: Gather information and get medical treatment for your injuries
Continue to receive medical treatment for your injuries and do not miss any appointments. Collect all your medical records and documents from your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, and other medical professionals. Keep a record of any lost wages and how long you had to go without working. Also, get estimates on the damages done to your vehicle.
Step 5: Negotiate a settlement
Your lawyer will make a demand for compensation for you and work with the other party’s insurance company on getting you a settlement.
Step 6: Either a settlement is reached, or a lawsuit is filed
If you are happy with the settlement amount that was negotiated, you can accept the offer. However, if you are not satisfied with this amount, you can choose to file a lawsuit instead. Most claims are settled outside of the court.
You will need to file a complaint for damages to initiate a lawsuit that includes how much you are looking for in terms of compensation. You will need to go to trial where your attorney will present evidence to the court who will decide how much compensation you should receive.
If you do decide to file a lawsuit, you must do so within one year from the date that your accident occurred, under the Kentucky statute of limitations.
Do you need assistance filing a personal injury case in Kentucky? Contact our office online or call us at (270) 977-8910 to schedule an initial consultation.