Start with a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney! If you have been injured due to someone’s negligence, it is important that you consult with an injury attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
Investigating insurance coverage and filing a claim is one of the first steps that a personal injury attorney will take on your behalf. For example, if you were involved in a car wreck, you will want to know who the at-fault party is insured with. If you were injured on someone’s property due to their negligence, you will want to find out who owns the property and if there is any kind of insurance policy covering the property or owner.
Having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side is crucial when it comes to collecting the damages you deserve. Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers will evaluate your case for free through our contact form or by phone 7 days a week at (888) 782-9090.
The Difference Between and Insurance Claim and a Lawsuit
Generally speaking, if there is sufficient insurance coverage, many injury claims will settle “out of court,” through settlement negotiations. This means that the insurance company is willing to pay an agreed upon amount of money in return for your signed release against them and their insured. Once you settle a claim with the insurance company, and sign a release, you cannot pursue a lawsuit.
There are situations where an insurance company may deny liability, or may simply not offer you the settlement you deserve, which may influence whether or not your attorney recommends filing suit against the at-fault party. If your claims adjuster fails to offer a reasonable settlement in a timely manner, you may need to file suit to protect your rights to recover from the accident.
Steps That Experienced Injury Attorneys Take Before Filing a Lawsuit
A skilled personal injury attorney will thoroughly investigate and evaluate your case to determine whether filing a lawsuit is the best option. Every case is unique, and there are many considerations that go into determining whether a lawsuit should be filed.
- Liability Investigation: At our firm, we have experienced investigators and accident reconstructionists that we employ to immediately start investigating the facts regarding your case. This can include getting statements from witnesses or at-fault parties, photographing the scene of the collision, and inspecting the vehicles involved. Our attorneys get started immediately on trying to prove liability in your case. If you have good liability, but the insurance company continues to deny liability for the injury, this may be a good reason to file a lawsuit.
- Injury Damages: Typically, many attorneys will only file lawsuits where there is serious permanent injury or death. This can include injuries such as broken bones, head injuries, or loss of a limb. Permanent injuries can dramatically affect your life and ability to earn a living. Serious injuries and high medical bills often go hand in hand. If you have a serious permanent injury with high medical bills, your accident injury attorney may recommend filing suit against the at-fault party if the insurance company is not willing to pay what you deserve.
- Available Insurance Assets: A good injury attorney knows how to investigate for all potential insurance that may provide coverage to you for your injuries. For example, in a car collision case, you may have additional underinsured insurance coverage available from your own insurance policy, or the policy of a family member in the household. If the person who caused the collision did not have insurance, you may have uninsured insurance that will provide coverage. Many times, if the at-fault party is a commercial business, they may have additional “umbrella” insurance that will kick in if they exceed their policies limits. Before filing a lawsuit, our team will investigate all available insurance. We also run background asset checks on the at-fault party. Asset checks are an important consideration, because even if you get a judgment against the at-fault party, if they do not have any assets beyond their insurance coverage, you are unlikely to recover any additional money from that person.
The attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers will be able to evaluate your case and advise you as to whether or not litigation is necessary. We fight for our clients every step of the way, and if litigation is in your best interest, we will fight to ensure justice for you or your loved one.
Where Will My Lawsuit Be Filed?
There are several factors that determine where your lawsuit will be filed, and in which court, which is known as “venue.” The court must have “Jurisdiction” to hear the lawsuit that is filed. Jurisdictional considerations include where the collision occurred, where the defendant resides, and how much in damages the Plaintiff is seeking.
In Kentucky, the Circuit Court where the injury occurred will have jurisdiction to hear the case if the damages exceed $5,000.00 (KRS § 23A.010). If the amount in controversy does not exceed $5,000.00, then District Court would have jurisdiction (KRS § 24A.120). For example, if your injury occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky and involves damages in excess of $5,000.00, you will file your lawsuit in Warren County Circuit Court.
If your case involves an out-of-state defendant or business, and the damages exceed $75,000.00, then your case may be filed in the United States Federal Court in the District that covers the area where the incident took place or where the defendant resides, pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 1332. For example, if your collision occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and involves an out of state corporation, and damages in excess of $75,000.00, the attorneys may file suit in Federal Court in the Western District of Kentucky. Your attorney will advise you on the appropriate court to file your lawsuit in.
How is My Lawsuit Filed?
Once a determination has been made by both the client and the attorney that filing suit is the best option for the client, and venue and jurisdiction have been established, the attorney then prepares the “Complaint.” A Complaint details the action against the party you are filing suit against, or the “Defendants.”
Our injury attorneys spend hours preparing the complaint to make sure that all the necessary parties are named as Defendants, a cause of action is clearly stated, and injuries and damages are detailed, along with a request for a jury trial. Having an experienced attorney prepare your complaint is crucial, as failure to name the right party or assert the right cause of action could lead to your complaint being dismissed from Court.
Once the Complaint has been prepared, the attorney will have to file it with the appropriate court and serve all parties involved. Most attorneys have access to electronic filing services, to make it quick and convenient to get your lawsuit filed.
Serving any and all Defendants can be a challenging process if they are a business or they reside outside of state where the injury occurred. An experienced accident injury attorney knows the proper methods of service and how to locate the appropriate parties to be served if the defendant is a business.
Kentucky Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit is an important deadline to keep in mind if you are an injury victim, because if you do not file the lawsuit within this timeline, your case will likely be thrown out of court. Our accident injury attorneys carefully watch the statute of limitations so the lawsuit is filed in a timely manner.
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations of a personal injury case not involving a vehicle collision is one year (KRS § 413.140). If your injury involves a car collision, it is two years from the date of the collision (KRS § 304.39-230), which can be extended by auto-insurance PIP benefit payments.
What Happens After My Lawsuit is Filed?
Filing a lawsuit is just the first step in the litigation process. See our detailed blog description of What Happens If We Got To Court Over a Car or Semi-Truck Accident in Kentucky, here.
Typically, after your lawsuit has been filed and served on the defendants, the defendants will get an attorney involved (if they do not already have one). Those “defense attorneys” will then file an “Answer” to the Complaint. At that point, the parties will begin the discovery process.
Discovery is the process through which the parties exchange information regarding the case. Discovery can include written discovery such as Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents, as well as depositions (as detailed in the blog page above).
Why Hire Us?
It is important to remember that litigation can be a long process. The top-rated litigation attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers will guide you through this complicated process, and keep you informed and involved every step of the way. Our accident injury attorneys have obtained millions in recovery for injured clients both in and out of court with favorable results for 95% of our clients.
Our attorneys possess more than 56 years in combined experience and we are always available to discuss your case. If you are considering filing a lawsuit in your injury claim, contact our attorneys right away. We only represent clients on contingency-fee basis, which means you pay nothing if we don’t win your case.
Contact us 24/7 for your free case review at 888-782-9090 or by submitting the contact form at the bottom of the page.
Blog written by attorney Kent R. Brown, partner at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers.