Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim
If you wish to file a personal injury claim in Kentucky, there are certain rules and laws you must follow. The legal process is confusing; it can be easy to make a mistake that jeopardizes your ability to recover fair financial compensation. This is why it is important to work with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can make sure that you avoid the following mistakes.
Always wait for an official investigation to determine who or what caused your accident and injury. Even if you believe that you are to blame, do not admit this or apologize to the other parties involved. An apology can be construed as an admission of guilt. Admitting fault can immediately place 100 percent of the blame with you, taking away your right to recover compensation even if you were not the only party at fault.
If you do not admit fault to the other party, an insurance company, the police or investigators, on the other hand, you may protect your right to recover at least partial financial compensation. Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, meaning that you can still recover a portion of financial damages even if you were partially to blame. The courts will simply reduce your recovery by your percentage of fault.
Not Going to the Doctor
Obtain professional medical care for your injuries right away. Waiting too long to see a doctor could give the insurance company a reason to deny benefits or reduce your payout using the argument that you failed to mitigate your losses. The insurance company may place part of the blame for your physical state with you if you didn’t see a doctor immediately or didn’t follow your doctor’s advice. Always go to a hospital right away after an accident and carefully follow your treatment plan.
Missing Your Deadline to File
Kentucky has a time limit (called a statute of limitations) of one year for most personal injury claims. The one-year window applies to most types of cases, including slip and fall accidents, dog attacks, and defective product injuries. However, Kentucky has a two-year deadline on all motor vehicle accident claims.
With a car accident case, you have two years from the date of the accident or the date you received your last personal injury protection car insurance payment to file – whichever is later. It is important to act quickly after an accident to hire an attorney and take legal action. If you do not file your lawsuit within the deadline, you are at risk of losing the right to recover.
Accepting a Fast Settlement
The insurance company in charge of your case is not on your side. The insurance company will protect its bottom line over you. This means that the initial settlement offer may devalue your losses. Rather than saying yes and accepting a fast settlement, bring the offer to a personal injury lawyer for a review.
Although you may wish to resolve your claim quickly, accepting the first settlement puts you at risk of settling for less than you deserve. Since you cannot reopen a closed case or renegotiate for a greater value after the fact, it is important to confirm that the amount you settle for is full and fair according to your losses.
Assuming You Can’t Afford or Don’t Need a Lawyer
Finally, don’t make the mistake of assuming you can’t afford to hire a personal injury lawyer. At the Law Offices of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means we don’t charge our clients any attorney’s fees until we succeed in securing the client financial compensation. This ensures that all injured accident victims can benefit from high-quality legal representation.
It is also important not to assume that you don’t need a lawyer. A lawyer can significantly benefit your personal injury lawsuit, fighting for justice and maximum financial compensation on your behalf while you focus on healing. Learn more about how an attorney can help you by requesting a free consultation in Louisville today.