Attorneys Answer: When Do You Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Car Accidents | May 29, 2024

Not every car accident claim requires the intervention of a lawyer. You might not need a lawyer to resolve a fender-bender accident without injuries. There are certainly red flags; however, that should alert you to consider the possibility that you might need to talk to experienced car accident lawyers in Louisville. Below is an explanation of a few of these. 

You are Expecting Long-Term Diminished Earning Capacity

Normally, you need to wait until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you file a car accident claim. The reason for this restriction is that MMI is the point at which your doctor doesn’t expect your condition to improve any further. Typically, that means you won’t be incurring any additional medical expenses. The point where you know the exact amount of your medical expenses is a good time to file a personal injury claim.

But what if you reach MMI only to discover that your injuries have permanently diminished your ability to earn money? This might happen if you suffer a traumatic brain injury, for example. If this happens, you might have to speculate on the amount of your future lost income. Hiring an expert can help you improve the accuracy of your speculation–but it is still speculation, either in settlement negotiations or in court.

You’ve got to get this one right. If you underestimate your future diminished earning capacity, you might run out of money 25 years from now. By then, it will be far too late to come back and ask for more money. 

You Suffered Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and other intangible psychological losses. Your need for a lawyer is essential because the amount is so difficult to count. 

How much is your pain and suffering worth, for example? $5,000? $50,000? It might depend on the skill of your lawyer, as a negotiator, or as a litigator.

Someone Died in the Accident

If someone died in the accident, you should know that special rules apply to Kentucky wrongful death claims. Compensation can be high, and defendants tend to fight hard to avoid paying them. That’s why you need a lawyer’s help for a wrongful death claim.

If You Need to File a Lawsuit

Most personal injury victims end up resolving their claims through private settlement without ever filing a lawsuit. In most cases, it’s the threat of filing a lawsuit, not the actual filing of one, that motivates the opposing party to pay up. However, the settlement approach doesn’t always work. 

Below are four reasons why you might want to file a lawsuit:

  • To get the opposing party’s attention
  • To set the trial clock ticking
  • To gain access to the pretrial discovery process
  • To beat the statute of limitations deadline

The Kentucky statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is one of the shortest in the country. You usually have only one year after your accident to file a lawsuit, although an exception to the deadline might apply. 

Unfortunately, you might find that Kentucky law prevents you from filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Kentucky operates a ‘choice no-fault’ system. If you didn’t opt out of no-fault at the time you purchased your insurance, you will have to rely on the ‘serious injury’ loophole to exit the no-fault system. This loophole is subjective and highly fact-specific.

If your injuries are not serious, you might find that the only way to obtain compensation is to negotiate with your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance company, which offers limited damages compared to a personal injury lawsuit.    

A Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer Might Be Able to Multiply the Value of Your Claim

The foregoing examples are only a few of many instances when it’s likely that you need to hire a personal injury lawyer. If you were involved in a collision, it is always a good idea to consult a car accident lawyer. 

Under the contingency fee system that most personal injury lawyers use, you pay zero legal fees unless you win–and your bill doesn’t come due until the money arrives. If you think you might have a valid claim, contact a Kentucky personal injury lawyer to set up a free initial consultation.

Contact the Louisville Car Accident Law Firm of Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery for Help Today

For more information, don’t hesitate to contact Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Louisville today. We have two convenient locations in Louisville and Fort Mitchell, Kentucky.

We proudly serve Jefferson County, Kenton County, and its surrounding areas:

Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery – Louisville, KY Office
600 W Main St Ste 200
Louisville, KY, 40202
(502) 540-5700

Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery – Fort Mitchell, KY Office
2380 Grandview Dr
Fort Mitchell, KY, 41017
(859) 578-4444

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