Elizabethtown KY Car Accident Attorney and Personal Injury Lawyer
Have you been injured in a car wreck and need a lawyer?
You need your vehicle to live your life. We drive to work, to school, we run errands, see family and friends. You’re so used to driving all the time you don’t realize how dangerous it might be until you or a loved one are involved in an accident. If a car accident has seriously injured you or a family member, The Fleck Firm can help.
Car accidents are more common than we imagine. In Hardin County in 2018, there were 3,047 accidents, twenty causing fatalities and 486 resulting in injuries, according to the Kentucky State Police. The county averaged about eight accidents daily, more than one causing injuries every day and resulting in almost two deaths every month.
What are my legal rights?
Unless there’s evidence that the other driver intentionally caused the collision, the legal theory of negligence would be the basis of a car accident case where the victim (the plaintiff) sues the responsible party (the defendant) to obtain compensation for the injuries suffered.
Depending on the facts, there could be multiple defendants if more than one party played a role in causing the accident. There may have been many vehicles involved, debris may have fallen off a truck or a poorly designed or maintained intersection was dangerous.
Negligence lawsuits put the burden on the plaintiff to show:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a legal duty (to drive reasonably in a reasonably safe vehicle)
- The defendant breached or violated that duty (the defendant ran a red light, was speeding or drove while intoxicated)
- That breach was the factual and legal (or proximate) cause of the accident and your injuries
- Under Kentucky law, the defendant must provide you with compensation for the harm done
What role does insurance play?
The vast majority of car accident injury cases do not go to trial, they settle. The parties agree that in exchange for an amount of money, the plaintiff will give up legal claims against the defendant. Almost all potential defendants carry insurance to cover these claims.
Their insurance company pays for the legal defense, the settlement or jury verdict. Before a lawsuit is filed, we will negotiate with the insurance carrier to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement. If we can’t reach an agreement, a lawsuit will be filed. During most lawsuits the negotiations will continue and a settlement will be reached.
When should I contact you?
You should seek medical attention and treatment as soon as possible then contact The Fleck Firm. Facts are the basis for insurance claims and lawsuits. The faster you retain our services, the earlier our investigation can start, the stronger your case may be. Over time, witnesses may be harder to find, their memories may fade or change, and evidence may be more difficult to obtain.
How does Kentucky compare with other States?
Every six seconds there is a car accident in the United States. That adds up to more than five million crashes a year. Closer to home, car wrecks in Kentucky kill on average between two and three of our neighbors, loved ones and friends every day. Over the past decade, Kentucky has seen on average more than 800 deaths in car accidents every year and thousands more injuries.
Statistics show that Kentucky’s roads are more dangerous than those in many states. In fact, the state’s death rate per 100 million miles traveled is 1.26, which is considerably more than the national average of 1.07 and the best state’s tally of 0.54. Given these facts, it is no wonder that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls auto safety a “serious public health problem.”
How to Know If You Have a Case
It can be difficult to know if you have a case without talking to a professional. A personal injury attorney can assess your individual case and advise you on further action. A lawyer will also consider factors like degree of emotional suffering, pain, and disability as well as how long and to what extent the injury has impacted you.
What You Shouldn’t Do After a Personal Injury
Never talk directly with any representatives from the insurance company of the at-fault party. If the insurance company presents you with any documents to sign, show the papers to your attorney and ask for further advice. Even providing the insurance company with information could damage your case.
Accepting an offer an insurance company presents you may seem like your best option. However, you must remember that the at-fault party never has your best interests in mind and insurance companies will always try to minimize payouts.
What You Should Do
It’s important to take the right steps immediately after your injury to increase your chances of receiving compensation.
1. Seek Medical Assistance
After a traumatic accident, you may feel disoriented and frightened, but it’s critical to do all in your power to receive medical assistance. This is the case no matter how severe your injuries appear, as it’s always possible that the symptoms will only become apparent at a later date. This includes serious injuries such as to soft tissue or the brain.
A doctor can provide you with a full evaluation and a diagnosis. The assessment will reveal any injuries you may be unaware of and provide you with a record for your claim.
2. Call the Police
Depending on the type of accident, you may also need a police report. This applies, for instance, to vehicular accidents. The police will note down the details of the scene, which is critical for proving you were not at fault for your insurance claim or lawsuit.
3. Gather Your Own Evidence
No matter if you receive a police report, it’s valuable to collect evidence yourself. This could involve taking pictures of the scene and gathering contact information of witnesses. In a traffic accident, you’ll also need the contact details, insurance information, and license plates of other drivers.
Another useful piece of evidence is photos of any visible injuries. Taking images over a period of time will show how long it took you to recover.
Finally, write down a personal account of what exactly happened soon after your accident. Be careful to recount exactly what events led up to the accident and the order they occurred. It’s crucial to do this as early as possible, as you may find it difficult to remember all the details later.
4. Start Working with an Attorney
Contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to start taking action almost immediately, contacting insurance companies or the at-fault parties to let them know that they should communicate directly with the law firm for anything pertaining to your case. Your attorney will also gather further evidence, talk to witnesses, and assess the facts.
After you hire an attorney, you’ll still have an active role to play in your case to ensure you receive the maximum compensation. For instance, your personal injury attorney may need to work with a team of accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals to determine the cause of your injury and figure out who was at fault. You’ll need to stay in close contact with your attorney to participate.
Ultimately, this will result in a demand for the party that was at fault. A demand package featuring all the necessary evidence to back up your claims is key to settling your case fast. It can even help you to avoid litigation entirely.
The demand package will consist of an overview of the evidence, supported by your medical records, the police record, statements from witnesses, and findings from experts. It also features a determination of past and future damages and offers a settlement in monetary terms. You will come to an agreement with your attorney beforehand as to what the amount for the settlement should be.
How to Choose the Right Attorney
Just as important as your involvement in the case is choosing the right attorney to represent you. Search for a firm that specializes in personal injury cases rather than general practice. If you have a potentially complex case, you should choose a lawyer with proven experience managing difficult cases.
In addition, it’s essential to feel that you can trust your attorney. Hire someone who you feel will take your case seriously and will do everything possible to gain you the compensation you deserve. As an injury can have a long-term impact on your emotional health, you need an attorney who is available to provide sufficient support.
What’s the next step?
Call The Fleck Firm for a free consultation at (270) 446-7000. We’ll talk about the accident, your injuries, the law, and your best options to proceed. Insurance companies have lawyers. You should have one too.