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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.

What Type of Doctor Should I See After a Car Accident?

Published on Jan 21, 2016 at 10:51 am in General.

Being involved in any type of accident that may potentially cause injury is stressful, chaotic, and can be downright frightening for even the strongest of human beings. Among all types of accidents, car accidents can be the most terrifying. After an accident occurs, a dozen questions will run through the minds of those involved: “What happened?” “Am I okay?” “Is everyone else okay?” “How will I pay for this?” “Was I at fault?”

All of these questions are important, of course, but your priority after any type of automobile accident should always be to ensure that you and any loved ones are safe and receive medical aid if necessary. But what happens if you aren’t sure what type of medical care is necessary? What type of doctors are best to visit after a car accident? How do you know what your insurance claim will cover and what it won’t? Knowing the answers to these questions can clear up some of the distress and anxiety felt immediately following an accident.

If serious medical aid is deemed necessary, our first instinct is to usually call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. This is the correct course of action. Accident injuries need to be treated as quickly as possible, especially if they’re serious. Lives may be at stake. All emergency room hospitals also bill insurance providers in agreeance with personal injury protection (PIP) policies. This means that you’ll have no complications later on when it comes time to figuring out how to settle the bill with your auto insurance provider. It also means that there will likely be no legal ramifications as long as you go to the emergency room immediately following the accident.

Do I Need Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Insurance?

Published on Nov 16, 2015 at 11:12 am in General.
Do I Need Uninsured and Underinsured Auto Insurance?

It is estimated that 1 in 8 drivers are UNinsured in the United States–and that doesn’t even count UNDERinsured drivers. Everyone is required to carry insurance coverage in order to register their vehicle with the state, but unfortunately, many drivers let their policies lapse or only carry the bare minimum. What happens if one of those drivers hits you? It would be too late to ask, “Do I need uninsured and underinsured auto insurance?” but you can certainly weigh the risks and reduce your vulnerability now.

Risk Assessment

If you’re hit by a driver with minimum coverage ($25,000 in Kentucky) and your injuries cost more than $25,000, you’d need an underinsured insurance policy on your own auto insurance plan to kick in once the liable party’s limit is met.  Then your underinsured insurance would pay your remaining bills, lost wages, future medical, etc.  This is a really big deal. Imagine having a horrible accident in which your car is totaled and you break a bone and need surgery, rehab, physical therapy, time off work, and pharmacy purchases. $25,000 could be exhausted after the ambulance service and a thorough hospital workup of CT scans, X-rays, and an MRI, let alone the surgery and after-care. Many of those items would be out-of-pocket expenses unless you carry an underinsured auto insurance policy to help with the balance.

The same goes for uninsured auto insurance coverage: If you get hit by someone with no auto insurance at all–especially someone with no personal assets to pursue in litigation–then you’d use your uninsured insurance coverage to pay your bills.

Uninsured Driver Stat1

There are two types of uninsured and underinsured auto coverage to consider:

  1. Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI):

This can cover medical expenses, lost wages, and injury-related expenses for you or any drivers or passengers your allow in your vehicle. It can also cover you for hit-and-run accidents.

  1. Uninsured and underinsured property damage coverage (UMPD):

This can cover your car’s damage but doesn’t protect against hit-and-run collision damage.

Adding uninsured and underinsured auto insurance coverage to your auto policy usually costs less than 10% of your current rate. It’s completely doable and could save you and your family from being hung out to dry. Check your policy today and add uninsured underinsured coverage if it’s not already there.

The Law Office of Todd W. Burris can answer your questions today at 859-252-2222.

Buckle Up for Safety

Published on Oct 7, 2015 at 5:33 pm in General.
Buckle Up for Safety

Seat belts have been appearing in cars since the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 2006 that Kentucky law mandated that all drivers and passengers wear seat belts, imposing a fine should you fail to do so. You’ve heard that wearing a seat belt is important, but you might not realize how big a difference it makes between life and death when you’re in an accident. Read on for some facts about seat belt use.

  1. Seat belts can make the difference between whether you live or die.

Seat belts are the single most effective way to save lives in car accidents. Seat belts will reduce your risk of serious injury in a crash by 50% and reduce your risk of death by 45%. If you’re in a light truck, your risk of serious injury is reduced by up to 60%. Not wearing a seat belt increases your chances of being thrown from the vehicle, which multiplies your chances of being killed by 25 times. While air bags provide additional safety from injury, they are not a substitute for seat belt use and cannot on their own prevent as many injuries as can a belt and airbag together.

  1. Contrary to a pervasive myth, seat belts almost never make you less safe.

Everyone has one stubborn friend who asserts that, if you’re in a car accident while wearing a seat belt, you might end up being more badly injured than if you weren’t, since the belt could prevent you from escaping a wreck. However, the percentage of crashes that involve a car being submerged in water, or otherwise involving a type of accident where a seat belt could be a liability, is less than one half of 1%.

  1. Wearing a seat belt will also keep your passengers safe.

Not only will you be saved from being thrown from the vehicle, your passengers will be saved from injury by you wearing a seatbelt. In a crash, a body that’s moving freely through the vehicle can cause serious injuries to other passengers.

  1. If you or any of your passengers fail to wear a seat belt while you’re driving, you could be pulled over.

Kentucky has a “primary enforcement” law regarding seat belt use. This means that cops can pull you over solely for failing to wear a seat belt, and impose a fine of $25 for failing to wear one. If you have not secured a child under 7 in a car seat, or under 57” tall in a booster seat, you may be fined up to $50.

If you’ve been injured in a crash as a result of the careless or reckless behavior of another driver and want to ensure your injuries are compensated fully, contact the experienced Lexington personal injury attorney Todd W. Burris at 859-252-2222.

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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