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Two-Faced Insurance: Low Settlement Offers

Published on Oct 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm in Car Accident.
Two-Faced Insurance: Low Settlement Offers

Were you seriously injured in a car, commercial truck, motorcycle, or pedestrian accident? If so, you might be concerned about being able to afford your medical bills. If your injuries forced you to miss quite a bit of work, you might also be worried about how you will continue to provide for yourself and your loved ones. Recovering from an auto accident is one of the most stressful situations a family can endure.

If you’re in the process of attempting to settle an insurance claim regarding the accident, there’s a very real possibility that the settlement offers you receive will be too low and will not cover the costs of the care you need. This is an unfortunate reality that many accident victims face. Luckily, you do have options.

Why are Insurance Settlement Offers Often Low?

When you sign up for auto insurance, the agency you sign up with will tell you that you’ll be in good hands if an accident should occur—no matter the nature of the accident or how serious it is. They may even tell you that you’ll have no issues receiving the financial assistance you need to recover from any injuries. Unfortunately, this generally never happens.

Why is that the case? It all boils down to money. In a car accident between two drivers, the insurance agencies of both drivers have a say. The insurance adjuster of the other driver will do everything in their power to get their client more money. This means that the settlement claims they send will likely be unfair to you and your injuries. If the adjuster is feeling particularly greedy, the claim you receive may not even be enough to pay for your basic medical needs—let alone any time spent off work.

If this happens, your own insurance agency may not be able to increase your received settlement amount. You will be asked to settle unless you wish to hire an attorney and fight the claim. It’s an extremely frustrating situation to be in—especially when you’re still trying to recover from your injuries.

Taking Action into Your Own Hands

As mentioned above, if you find yourself in this unfortunate predicament, you do have legal options. If you feel the accident was fully or partially caused by driver negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, you have a legal right to hire a Lexington, KY car accident lawyer who can fight on your behalf and demand a fair settlement. An attorney can ensure that you receive the full settlement amount you deserve—including financial help for any time you had to take off from work. These costs are often referred to as compensatory damages.

If you choose to go the route of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the guilty party, you may additionally be rewarded punitive damages on top of the expected compensatory damages. This extra amount can be used to help your family recover from any emotional hardships endured, for example.

Todd W. Burris is a personal injury lawyer who’s experienced in helping clients obtain full compensation and will do everything he can to ensure you and your loved ones are able to regain the lives you had before the accident. Contact our Lexington office to learn more and receive a 100% free consultation.

After the E.R.: Where to go After a Car Accident

Published on Oct 3, 2016 at 12:26 pm in Car Accident.
After the E.R.: Where to go After a Car Accident

If you’ve been injured in a Kentucky car accident, the first place you’ll likely go is to your nearest emergency room. This is exactly where you should be. E.R. doctors will be able to tell you if there are any internal injuries that need to be treated immediately as well as set you up with medications, casts, splints, x-rays, or other tests that may be needed. If you require hospital time, you’ll be admitted at this point.

After you’re released from the E.R. and/or hospital, however, it can be difficult to know where to turn. If your E.R. doctor suggests following up with your primary care doctor, that may be the best course of action, but not necessarily. Depending on the severity of your injuries as well as if you are in a lot of pain and/or experiencing any mobility limitations, you may be better off seeking the help of a specialist.

How do you know if you should see a specialist? Here are two essential questions you should ask yourself before making a decision regarding what type of doctor to see next:

How well can your primary doctor treat your condition?

Your primary doctor will be able to assess your injuries, but they may not able to help treat them. They won’t know everything about the symptoms you’re experiencing and won’t be well-equipped to handle things like neck pain, back pain, excessive mobility limitations, and whiplash. If you see your primary care doctor for conditions like these, they may refer you to a pain specialist, an orthopedic doctor, or even a chiropractor.

You may be tempted to write off seeing a specialist due to the cost factor, but if your primary doctor isn’t equipped to handle your injuries or condition, your health should absolutely come first. You should also remember that it may be possible to reduce the costs of your medical care after any insurance settlements come through. Additionally, if you’re considering taking legal action regarding the accident, cost may be a non-issue if your case is successful.

Are you doing everything you can to get the best treatment possible?

Injuries from car accidents can often appear in a delayed manner. Minor symptoms like back pain, neck pain, or headaches can turn into serious neck or back conditions that can lead to lifelong implications and chronic pain. If you don’t get the medical care you need right away, you could potentially set yourself up for years of pain, discomfort, and mobility impairment.

Additionally, if you’re in the process of negotiating your Kentucky insurance settlement and/or personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that your injuries are as severe as you’re claiming and that you’re doing everything you can to treat your injuries as quickly as possible. If you fail to do either, your lawsuit or settlement may not succeed.

You owe it to your future self to stay healthy today. You owe it to your loved ones to take care of yourself. After you’re discharged from the E.R. after a car crash, do yourself a favor and follow up with any specialists or doctors that are recommended to you by either your primary or emergency room doctor. Your future self will thank you.

If, at any time during the recovery process, you have any questions regarding legal matters pertaining to car accident injuries, feel free to contact a Lexington, KY car accident lawyer who cares. Todd W. Burris is happy to answer questions you may have or set up a free consultation to see if you’re eligible to file a legal claim against the other driver. Doing so may help you recover the costs of your medical care, enabling you to fully recover and get back on your feet again.

Kentucky Dog Bite Law

Published on Sep 1, 2016 at 9:00 am in General.
Kentucky Dog Bite Law

If you’ve been bitten or seriously injured by someone else’s dog, it may be in your best interest to file a lawsuit against the owner. Doing so will make it easier to pay for the treatment and recovery costs of your injuries as well as ensure that the dog owner learns to be responsible for their pet. In order to file a lawsuit, you’ll need to know how dog bite laws are handled within your state. Every state handles these cases quite differently.

In the state of Kentucky, dog bite lawsuits are considered “strict liability” cases. What this means is that a dog owner is 100% liable for any damage their dog causes to “a person, livestock, or other property,” even if that dog has never been aggressive in the past. If the owner tried to prevent the attack and/or used reasonable methods to control the dog but the attack still occurred, that owner is still fully liable. In other words, there is no need to prove that any negligence occurred.

This counts for more than just dog bite injuries, too. If a property owner’s dog, for example, jumps on you and knocks you over, causing injury, it’s possible to file a lawsuit against the owner. In this instance, the injuries were directly caused by the dog’s actions. Under Kentucky dog bite law, there is no difference between a case of this nature and a dog bite case.

Some state laws allow property owners to claim certain defenses during a dog bite lawsuit, stating that the victim, for example, provoked the dog or was trespassing on private property when the attack happened. In Kentucky, these defenses cannot be claimed. Even if the victim provoked the dog or was trespassing, the lawsuit will still stand. Either of these facts, however, may severely impact the damages amount the victim may be able to claim.

Kentucky Dog Bite Law for Property Owners

If you’re reading this article as the owner of a dog that harmed someone else, you can potentially reduce the damage costs you may have to pay by revealing every detail about the incident. Did the victim provoke the dog in any way? Did they walk unnecessarily close to your front yard? Make all this information known, showing evidence if at all possible, and the court may state that the victim was partially at fault for their injuries and reduce the amount of damages owed.

When a Kentucky court decides that a victim was partially at fault for an attack, the damages amount will be lowered by a set percentage based on the portion of liability they are responsible for. If, for example, the judge decides that the victim shouted at your dog and provoked the animal into attacking, the judge may decide that the victim was 50% at fault. This would lower the amount due to the victim by 50%. This amount will be decided on based upon the specifics of the case and any evidence.

Get Help from a Lexington, KY Personal Injury Lawyer

If any of this sounds complicated, don’t worry. Dog bite cases can definitely be complicated, but with the right attorney on your side, you can ensure that, as a victim of a dog attack, you get the help you need to recover. A skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney will do everything they can to fight for your rights and gather the evidence you need to secure your lawsuit.

Todd W. Burris, Lexington, KY bodily injury claim lawyer, is ready to assist you if you’ve been injured by a dog on someone else’s property. Under Kentucky law, you will generally have a period of one year from the time of a dog bite injury to file a lawsuit against the guilty party. This period is referred to as a statute of limitations. Contact our office to learn more or receive a free consultation.

Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster After an Accident?

Published on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:17 am in Car Accident.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster After an Accident?

During the aftermath of a serious car, truck, or motorcycle accident, one of the things that may surprise you is how quickly the other driver’s insurance adjusters or claim adjustors contact you. You might still be in the hospital. You might just be getting home when your phone rings off the hook. You may even receive a surprise knock at your door. Depending on the other driver’s insurance company and their plan of action, you may find yourself unnecessarily frustrated by how aggressive these adjusters can be.

What do they want from you? In most cases, that answer is simple. Even if the adjusters act respectful and concerned regarding your injuries, their goal is to you get you to settle the claim as quickly as possible in order to avoid paying you a fair and reasonable settlement amount. This goal benefits the insurance company’s own financial interests, of course, without taking your own wellbeing into consideration.

Case in point: A recent client of ours was offered $4,000 by an insurance adjuster shortly after his accident and before he hired our office to handle his claim. The insurance adjuster represented the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident and his injuries. Fortunately, the client realized he should talk with an attorney first. We took his case and ended up settling his claim for around $70,000!

Don’t be fooled by the intentions of insurance adjusters—their goal is to pay the least amount possible. The adjuster doesn’t care about you or your injuries. By aggressively attempting to get you to sign off early, they hope you won’t know any better and settle before you know your rights.

But you’re reading this. You know better. If you settle early, you may not receive the financial compensation you need to recover from your injuries and provide for your loved ones during your time of recovery. You need someone who’s looking out for you. If you’re forced to face an aggressive insurance adjuster who’s representing the other driver, you need help from an experienced Lexington, KY car accident lawyer.

Knowing How to Deal with Insurance Adjusters

If you decide to hire an attorney, your lawyer will speak to any insurance claims adjusters on your behalf, giving you the time you need to recover from the accident. Before you make that step, however, you may be forced to speak to the adjuster one or more times, depending on how aggressive they are. Watching what you say and how you say things during these conversations is essential. If you say the wrong things or agree to settle early, you could forfeit your chance at filing a lawsuit entirely.

Insurance adjusters know how to construe things you say in their favor. If you’re not sure what to say, it’s best to keep any conversations light and simple. Remain calm and respectful, but don’t talk about the details of the accident whatsoever. Don’t mention fault. Don’t talk about your injuries in any detail. If you’re pressured for details, tell them that you’re not ready to settle or talk about the case and that you will get in contact when you are ready. This gives you time to speak to an attorney.

When asked regarding any accident details, tell the adjuster to check the police report. If asked for a copy of your medical records, politely decline. If asked to give a recorded statement, decline the request. Even if the adjuster tries to tell you differently, remember that you’re not required by law to issue a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance provider. Insurance adjusters make this claim in hopes of getting a victim to say something they shouldn’t while they might be nervous about being recorded.

You can also, of course, politely decline to speak to any adjusters entirely. You are under no obligation to speak to them at any time. You can settle your claim with the help of a lawyer or through your own insurance provider. Ignoring aggressive adjusters may cause them to continue to hound you, however. Sometimes it’s best to simply exchange a few words and let them know that you have things handled. If you do have an attorney, give them your attorney’s contact information right away and all contact between you and the adjuster should cease.

Contacting an attorney is always your best course of action after being involved in a serious accident that may jeopardize your family’s finances. If the accident was caused by negligence, carelessness, reckless driving, or you feel the settlement is going to end unfairly, you have a legal right to file a lawsuit against the wrongful party. Todd W. Burris, Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer, is experienced in handling serious accident cases of all types and will do everything he can to help you get back on your feet again. Contact our Lexington office to learn more.

How Do Kentucky Statutes of Limitations Work After an Accident?

Published on Jul 28, 2016 at 6:00 am in General.
How Do Kentucky Statutes of Limitations Work After an Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a serious car or truck accident in the Lexington, Kentucky area, you likely have a dozen questions running through your mind regarding what you should do and what, if any, legal actions you should take. Making the decision to hire a Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer may not be an easy one, but if you feel the other driver’s insurance adjusters are asking you to settle unfairly or the case seems overwhelmingly complicated, it’s in your best interest to find out your legal options.

When making a decision to file a claim, you should be aware that time does matter. Every state has a separate set of deadlines, or statutes of limitations, that are in place when it comes to filing civil cases such as all types of personal injury and car accident lawsuits. You must file a lawsuit within this time frame for the court to accept it.

In the state of Kentucky, most personal injury lawsuits have a one-year statute of limitations governed by KRS 413.140. However, the statute of limitations for injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident is generally two years from the date of the accident or two years from the date the last basic reparation benefits (also known as personal injury protection coverage or “PIP”) were issued by an insurer to the injured party under KRS 304.39-230.

You must be careful, however, because a wrongful death action arising out of a motor vehicle accident can have as little as a one-year statute of limitations under KRS 413.140)1)(a) and KRS 413.180. Personal injury cases such as slip and fall accidents, dog bites, and nursing home neglect generally fall under the one-year statute. A medical malpractice claim also falls under a one-year statute of limitations, but the statute may not begin to run until the injury is actually discovered.

Additionally, for accidents which involve property such as claims that attempt to award compensation for damage to a vehicle, for example, Kentucky residents have two years to file a lawsuit before the statute is considered expired under KRS 413.125.

The exact time for the statute of limitations can be fact specific in many cases so it is very important to talk to an attorney as quickly as possible after an accident because if you do not file your claim before the statute of limitations expires, then your claim is permanently barred. The best way to know for sure how long you have to file a claim is to speak to an experienced Kentucky attorney. The Kentucky court system is rather strict about statutes of limitations and will not make any special considerations in most cases.

The Effects of Kentucky Statutes of Limitations

Most personal injury lawsuits take a considerable amount of time to reach settlement. Depending on your case, the available evidence, and any opposing claims that are opened, you may want to file your claim well before the statute of limitations approaches. In most cases, it’s highly recommended that you file your case as quickly as possible after the accident, in fact. This gives your attorney time to locate timely evidence on the road, etc., that may become erased over time. Timely evidence is often crucial.

Filing a case within a short amount of time also gives you and your lawyer a chance to contact any witnesses who may be willing to testify on your behalf. When you wait too long after the accident, it can be easy for witnesses to forget about the accident or its details. Minor details can easily make or break a case, especially during testimony.

Finally, and often most importantly, when you reach out to a personal injury lawyer like Todd W. Burris during the aftermath following a life-changing accident, you gain peace of mind. During the time that an experienced Kentucky car accident lawyer is working on your case, you can rest easy knowing that insurance adjusters will no longer hound you or expect you to settle right away. You have the knowledge that someone is out there fighting on your behalf, giving you the time you need to recover.

For more information or a zero-obligation case consultation that’s 100% free, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Lexington office today. Todd W. Burris is here for you.

Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident: What to Know

Published on Jul 15, 2016 at 9:00 am in General.

Thousands of people every year are injured in accidents caused by slipping, stumbling, or tripping and consequently falling as a result. In the legal world, these types of accidents are consolidated into one category and typically referred to as “slip and fall” accidents. Injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents can vary significantly, as one would expect, and can range from minor to extremely serious in nature.

If you were seriously injured in a slip and fall accident that took place on property that wasn’t your own, you might be wondering if there’s any legal recourse you can take. You absolutely have options and should speak to a Lexington, KY slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as you’re able to do so. Here’s what you need to know about your options first:

Slip and Fall Accidents Can Be Difficult to Prove

The first thing you’ll need to ask yourself is if your injuries were severe enough to potentially sue over. The second thing you’ll need to ask yourself is whether the property owner where the accident occurred was responsible for the accident. Could they have prevented the accident in any way? If so, they may be legally responsible.

There’s a fine line in Kentucky courtrooms regarding slip and fall responsibility, however. If a leaking roof, for example, caused a slippery condition that allowed you to slip, the property owner may not be responsible if they had a drainage grate in place. In this particular case, the owner is seen as trying to prevent any accidents. If there was no drainage grate, on the other hand, they may be held responsible.

The Word “Reasonable” Becomes Important

When filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit, you’ll notice that these cases aren’t necessarily cut and dry. The word “reasonable” comes up a lot due to the complicated nature of these lawsuits. In the example noted above, the property owner took reasonable preventive measures by installing a grate instead of fixing the roof immediately. Property owners can’t be expected to fix major issues like leaking roofs right away. Some sort of time-based limitations and leniencies have to be in place.

Other reasonable preventive measures tend to include things like posted warning signs, caution tape, areas that are properly closed off/blocked, and other types of temporary fixes. In the end, it’s up to the court and jury to decide what’s reasonable to expect of property owners and what isn’t.

The Property Owner Isn’t the Only Person Responsible for Your Fall

The court and jury will also look at every other aspect of your accident when determining who was really responsible. They’ll ask whether you had a legitimate reason for being on the property. They’ll ask if you had a reasonable amount of time and/or warning to avoid the accident entirely. If there were signs posted, were they clearly able to be seen? Was there adequate lighting, etc.?

They’ll also ask if it was possible that you were otherwise distracted. If, for example, you were talking on your cell phone or texting while walking when the accident happened, the court may deem the property owner only partially responsible. In this case, you may receive a reduced award amount or your case may be dropped entirely.

As you can see, slip and fall accidents can be immensely complicated. The court will ask many tough-to-answer questions. This is why having a knowledgeable attorney on your side is vital. Depending on your injuries, you may benefit most by seeking the aid of a Lexington, KY broken bone lawyer if you sustained multiple broken bones. All types of personal injury lawyers will be able to tell you if filing a slip and fall lawsuit is in your best interest, however.

Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer Todd W. Burris is experienced in winning complicated cases like slip and fall accident lawsuits and will be able to help get you the financial compensation you need to recover. Contact our offices for more information or a 100% free consultation.

6 Things Insurance Adjusters Don’t Want You to Know

Published on Jun 24, 2016 at 8:37 am in Car Accident.

After being involved in a serious car accident, there’s a good chance you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything that needs to be taken care of. You and your family’s health and wellbeing are your first priorities, but after the basic needs of your loved ones are met, you will have to decide how to handle any insurance settlements. Settling insurance claims can be stressful, and to make matters worse, you may face opposition from the other accident victim’s insurance adjuster.

Insurance claims adjusters—also typically referred to as insurance adjustors, claims adjustors, claims specialists, or claims representatives—may come to you immediately following the accident or in the days following, asking you to settle your claim. They may contact you in person or over the phone. They can be pushy or forceful in nature, and may try and get you to believe that you have to settle immediately.

These adjusters will also discourage you from contacting a personal injury lawyer. If you were a victim of a car accident in Lexington, KY, you have every right to contact a Lexington, KY personal injury lawyer regarding the accident. You also have every legal right to take your time to decide how you wish to settle. Time does matter during an auto insurance settlement, but you should always take as much time as you need to make the right decision for you and your family.

How to Handle Out-of-State Car Accidents

Published on Jun 10, 2016 at 9:57 am in Car Accident.

The last thing you want to worry about while enjoying a summer vacation is the possibility of getting into a car accident in another state. Getting the proper medical care and auto repair as well as securing the funding for both tasks can be a hassle in an unfamiliar area. There’s also the fact that accident and insurance laws can change depending on which state the accident occurred in and how that state’s laws are different from those in your home state.

Unfortunately, out-of-state and out-of-area car accidents can and do happen every day across the United States. Are you traveling through Lexington, KY this summer and are from out of state? If you and your loved ones are involved in an out-of-state accident, the best thing you can do is remain calm, ensure everyone receives the medical care they need, and follow these 5 basic steps:

  1. Call the police

No matter what state you’re in, you’ll want to call the police after a car accident. A police report must be filed even if no one is injured, and if you ever need a record of the accident later, a police report is always going to be the first document you need. Calling the police also ensures, of course, that anyone who’s injured gets the care they need immediately.

What is a Serious Injury as Defined by Kentucky Law?

Published on Mar 16, 2016 at 8:40 am in Car Accident, General.

During a personal injury case such as an automobile accident lawsuit, one of the questions you may be asked is how severe your injuries are/were and if they can be legally defined as “serious”. A doctor’s definition of a serious injury is not always the same definition followed by the U.S. court system. Therefore, it becomes essential to know exactly what constitutes as a serious injury according to the law.

Which injuries get defined as “serious” varies slightly from state to state. This is due to the fact that insurance laws differ in most states. In the state of Kentucky, a serious injury is defined as a physical injury which “creates a substantial risk of death or which causes seriously and prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health, or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ”.

8 Ways You Should Document a Car Accident

Published on Feb 4, 2016 at 5:56 am in Car Accident.

Knowing what to do after you or a loved one is involved in a car accident can be immensely stressful, but as with all of life’s emergencies, keeping a cool head and following a basic crisis plan can save your life. After a car accident, it’s crucial to make sure everyone gets the medical care they need as well as exchange insurance information. In addition to those two things, there are other facts that should be documented and accounted for.

This information will be needed later during insurance negotiations and may be needed if a legal case is filed for any reason. If you feel you weren’t at fault for the accident or that there may be issues when settling the insurance claim, it becomes even more important to document this information. A successful legal case requires the right documentation on hand. Here are eight different ways you should thoroughly document everything that happens after a car accident:

Witness Contact Information

In addition to gathering the contact and insurance information from anyone that was involved in the accident, it’s a good idea to speak to any witnesses who saw the accident and ask if they would be willing to give you their contact information. If they are willing to, also have them write down an account of what they saw happen. Having a witness on your side can be a valuable asset in any court case. Even if you end up not using that person as a witness, at least you’ll have their information available.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice. Viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Prior case results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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