The first moments immediately after an accident can have a profound effect on your legal rights. But because a car crash can be so unnerving, many motorists forget key steps they must take to ensure their safety and strengthen their case for compensation. At the Schuler Law Office, auto accidents are a large part of our practice. We have the knowledge and experience necessary to help injured drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians recover the full compensation they deserve. We provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about auto accidents to help you manage the early stages of your case before you’re able to speak with us at length.
The Schuler Law Office provides dedicated and thorough legal representation for all types of injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. To schedule a free consultation, call today at 502-568-9000 or contact our Louisville office online. We take injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees until we obtain compensation for you through a settlement or verdict.
Under Kentucky law, you are required to report an auto accident to the nearest police station if anyone has been injured or killed, or if the property damage totals more than $500. There is no legal requirement to notify your insurer. In a property-damage-only crash, you might want to settle with the other driver outside of the insurance system, especially if the damage doesn’t even exceed your deductible. However, if there’s a chance you might be held liable for a serious accident, you should notify your insurer immediately. The company has a duty to defend you against claims, and your notice will enable the company to investigate before physical evidence is lost or destroyed.
If you suspect you might be injured, you should seek medical attention immediately. This serves two important purposes. Most importantly, you safeguard your health, especially against injuries that might seem minor at the time but could turn out to be life-threatening. And your medical record can be used later as evidence of causation. If you wait a few days to see a doctor, a defendant could assert that an intervening event caused your injuries.
As stated above, you have a legal duty to notify police if anyone is injured or killed, and if property damage exceeds $500. But you definitely want the police present if you suspect the other driver is impaired or you feel unsafe for any reason.
This is a question of fact for a judge or jury to decide. In auto accidents, fault is generally due to negligence or recklessness that causes a collision. One driver can bear all responsibility, or two or more drivers can share the blame. The determination of fault often comes down to which side’s attorney does the best job of assembling evidence in the case.
As soon as you are certain you’ve been injured and have sought medical attention, you should contact an experienced auto accident attorney. Victims who try to handle injury claims on their own rarely recover the full value of the claim. Studies show that represented victims of auto accidents generally do much better in obtaining compensation even after they’ve paid their lawyers.
If you are at fault for the accident, the losses come out of your pocket. But if another driver is liable, you can recover your property losses as well as any losses for personal injury.