You can handle a car accident without an attorney, however there are many pitfalls and difficulties that may arise if you try to go it alone. Unfortunately, car crashes are an everyday occurrence. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, there were over 6.5 million car crashes in 2019.
Car accidents with no injuries and clear liability (meaning it is clear that the other person is at fault), can sometimes be less difficult to manage on your own. It may be that all you have to do is file a claim, take your vehicle to get an estimate of repair, and the insurance company will pay the mechanic directly. *There are more helpful hints and tips regarding the handling of property damage towards the end of this article.
Car accidents with injuries and liability issues are a whole different ball game. Many people have never been in an automobile collision before, and insurance companies will try to take advantage of what you don’t know. They will often rush to get you to accept any amount of money (typically $1,000.00) for a signed release of the liability claim.
If you sign a release, you have waived your right to further negotiate or ability to file suit against the at-fault party later down the road. This is critical to know, as many injuries do not reveal themselves until days, weeks, or even months after the collision occurs, and you may not know you are injured before you incidentally waive any further claim.
The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone! Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers is here to help. Call us today at 888-782-9090 for a free case evaluation!
What Can an Attorney Do For Me After I have Been Involved in a Car Accident?
Flora Templeton Stuart has over 45 years of experience representing those injured in automobile collisions. That experience brings the know-how and determination to effectively represent your best interest by taking many steps on your behalf. A brief summary of some of those steps include:
We have the Resources to Help Prove Your Case
Just because you believe the car wreck was not your fault, doesn’t mean that the insurance company won’t deny liability or try to reduce their exposure and attempt to make you accept some portion of fault. Sometimes, even police reports can be wrong or contain inaccurate information.
The top rated car accident attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers get to work immediately to help prove your case, as time is of the essence. Proving that someone else is at fault for your injury claim is a daunting task on your own, and insurance companies will use their employees and hired attorneys to try to shift the blame to you.
We have the resources available to help, and utilize experienced private investigators and expert reconstructionists to help gather evidence on your behalf. This can include speaking with witnesses, other parties, or even the investigating officers, and obtaining photographs of the scene or vehicles involved in the collision.
Our attorneys also move quickly to make sure the other side does not lose or destroy vital evidence.
Opening and Reserving PIP Benefits in Kentucky
Most people have never heard of PIP Benefits until after they are involved in an automobile collision. Also known as ‘No-Fault’ or ‘Personal Injury Protection’ benefits, PIP benefits are mandatory in Kentucky for any policy of insurance on an automobile (pursuant to KRS 304.39), This mean that if you have auto insurance, you have PIP benefits.
The minimum required in Kentucky is $10,000, but can be increased to as much as $50,000. These benefits are also called no-fault benefits because anytime you are involved in a collision, regardless of fault, your PIP benefits will pay the first $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages (as well as anyone else in the vehicle at the time of the collision).
Our team will quickly reserve your PIP benefits for future treatment providers. Failure to reserve your PIP benefits may result in them being exhausted from the first provider before you are aware. This can also mean that you will lose out on any potential lost wages through PIP.
Getting You Lost Wages
If you are injured in an auto accident and are unable to work, our experienced attorneys move quickly to get you the lost wages you are entitled to pursuant to the PIP statute. We work directly with the PIP adjusters so you don’t have to, and you can focus on your medical treatment and getting better.
Failure to have your benefits reserved may result in you losing out on the ability to recover wage loss.
Getting You to Good Doctors for the Treatment You Need
The first thing you should do when you are injured in a collision is to get emergency medical treatment. After emergency medical care, it may be difficult to know what kind of doctor you should follow up with for your specific injury. You may not even know the full extent of your injuries until you get the right medical treatment.
Our attorneys ensure that you receive the medical treatment that you need, and get you to good, reliable treatment providers as quickly as possible.
We Find All the Insurance Available and Protect Those Benefits
You may have additional insurance available to you that you don’t even know about. If the at-fault party offers their ‘Policy Limits’ (all the insurance available under that policy), you may be jeopardizing the opportunity to get more money for your injury if you accept that offer.
Our Experienced Accident Injury attorneys know where to look for any additional coverage, and will make sure that you don’t waive your right to that coverage. You may have additional coverage available to you from a household-relative or your own policy. You may even have the ability to stack coverage from your own policy or household policy.
We Fight to Obtain the Settlement that you Deserve
Flora Templeton Stuart has been litigating and negotiating cases for over 45 years. Our firm has the skills necessary to negotiate your settlement to maximize your recovery. Both inside the courtroom and out, we will fight to obtain the justice you deserve.
We will guide you through the negotiation process, recommending demand amounts based on your medical bills and treatment, and keep you informed with the process the entire way through. We will not settle your case without your written authority for specific settlement amount (if lower then the available policy limits).
We May Sure that Lien Providers are Paid
If you have been injured in an accident and your health insurance makes payments towards the wreck-related treatment, they will have a right to be reimbursed from your settlement for any amounts paid towards the treatment. This is also known as subrogation.
This applies to private health insurance, ERISA employer provided health insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare. You may also have a lien from any Short Term or Long-Term Disability Policy through your employer for any amount of lost wages paid. Medical providers can also have liens, and depending on where you received treatment, the state where you received medical car may also have laws regarding “Hospital liens.”
An experienced attorney at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers will ensure that all lien providers are addressed upon settlement. For some providers, you may receive a reduction on any lien just by having an attorney. We work hard to make sure you are made whole and will attempt to get lien providers to reduce their liens if your liens exceed your settlement amount.
Helpful Tips for Handling Property Damage Only Claims Without a Lawyer
If you are absolutely positive you are uninjured, and have only a property damage claim to deal with, here are some helpful pointers to handling the property damage claim on your own:
Whose Insurance Will Pay to Fix My Car?
If you have been involved in a collision that is not your fault, you have the option to go through your own insurance, or go through the other parties for resolution of the property damage.
You will have to get the other parties insurance information directly from them, or from the police report in order to file a claim. Often, it will likely take several days to obtain a copy of the police report, and their insurance is likely going to want to investigate or speak to their insured before they accept liability. This could potentially mean a delay in getting a rental car or getting your car fixed.
If you go through your insurance, there are several considerations such as, whether or not you have rental car coverage. If so, you may be able to get into a rental car quickly if needed.
Another consideration is whether or not you have a deductible on your policy. If so, you may have to pay the deductible up-front to have your property damage addressed. Ask your insurance company if they are willing to waive the deductible, or if they will compensate you for the deductible amount if they recover that amount from the other party.
Where Can I Get My Car Fixed?
The truth is, you do not have to take your car to the auto shop that the insurance company tells you to take it to. You can take your vehicle to the repair shop of your choice, or multiple repair shops if you are instructed to get multiple quotes.
If you have a repair shop that you trust or have experience with, it may be best to take your vehicle there and let them work with the insurance company to get the best deal.
What If My Car is a Total Loss?
If your vehicle is totaled, you will likely know based on the extent of the damage. Either the car will not be repairable, or the cost in repairing the vehicle will exceed the value of the vehicle. If the car was inoperable and towed away from the scene, you will want to notify the insurance company as soon as possible of its location so that you do not continue to rake up storage fees and costs. Typically, the insurance company will pay for the tow bill and have someone go inspect the vehicle or have it moved to a location where it will no longer incur fees.
If your vehicle is deemed a total loss, the insurance company is required to provide the fair replacement value of your vehicle. Most insurance companies run “Comp reports”, which runs searches on vehicles of the same or similar make, model and mileage for sale in your area. They typically will average the top three or four to come to the fair replacement value.
Always ask the insurance adjuster to send you a copy of the comp report so you can make sure that they are considering all the features that you had on your vehicle. You may even run some comps of your own, showing what similar make, model and mileage vehicles sell for in your area, and send them to the adjuster. Websites like Kelly Blue Book or NADA can help give you an idea of what your vehicle may be worth.
Remember, you always have an option to keep the vehicle for salvage value which can be a very small amount of money.
Beware, Your Car Rental May Not Last Long After An Offer Is Made
In most circumstances, insurance policies only provide for rental cars for a certain number of days, and the clock usually starts ticking once an offer has been made.
Regardless of which insurance company you use for your property damage, the property damage claims adjuster should help guide you through the process and necessary paperwork at the end, should your vehicle be totaled.
We are Here to Help You! Call the Experienced Attorneys at Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers today!
Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers has represented injured clients in automobile collisions for over 45 years. Flora personally works on all injury cases and meets with her injured clients to get them maximum recovery. Ms. Stuart will not only investigate the collision, but will refer her injured clients to excellent physicians for medical care which is crucial to not only recovery but to documenting injuries. She works to get lost wages and medical bills paid while clients are treating for their injuries.
At the end of each case, we fight for the damages our clients deserve with our skill in negotiations. Let our experience work for you. Call Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers today at 888-782-9090 for personal representation. With offices close to our clients in Kentucky and Tennessee, we travel to our injured clients and can answer calls 24/7.