When a person is injured in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, they have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for their related losses, like medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
In the event the injured person is incapacitated because of their injuries or another reason, having a legal power of attorney in place can ensure filing a claim and receiving compensation are still options. Let’s take a look at power of attorney information for filing a personal injury claim in Kentucky.
What Is Power of Attorney
A power of attorney is a document that allows a person to appoint someone else to manage their affairs in the event they are unable to do so. The person who files the power of attorney is referred to as the principal. The person who is given power by the principal is called the agent.
A power of attorney typically grants the agent rights to handle financial or healthcare matters for the principal in the event they are incapacitated. This includes ensuring bills are paid, making investments, consenting to medical treatment, and taking legal action.
Power of Attorney Laws in Kentucky
In 2018, the power of attorney laws in Kentucky underwent massive changes. Prior to the update, the laws were very old, provided no guidance for those with legal powers, and were no longer appropriate—especially given today’s extended life expectancy.
The new legislation provides specific definitions and information about the procedures needed to ensure the power of attorney’s validity. This is particularly important when a personal injury case involves a plaintiff who has become incapacitated as a result of their injuries.
Some of the changes that took place in July 2018 includes the following:
- A power of attorney must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. It’s also recommended that the document is signed before a notary public.
- A power of attorney is durable unless the document specifically states otherwise. Additionally, the principal can nominate an agent to serve as their guardian or conservator, if necessary.
- If a principal assigns two or more people to act on their behalf, either agent has the right to act independently—unless otherwise specified.
- By default, the agent listed on the power of attorney is entitled to reasonable compensation. This means that the principal does not need to specifically wish the agent to receive compensation. A demand needs to be made if the principal does not want the agent to receive compensation.
- The agent must act in good faith, within the scope of the authority that’s been granted to them, and in accordance with the principal’s best interests and reasonable expectations.
If you’ve been assigned the agent to a family member’s power of attorney and you are now handling a personal injury case on their behalf, it’s important to understand your legal rights and obligations. When you work with an experienced lawyer, they will make the process easier for you.
Personal Injury Claims and Power of Attorney
If you are acting as an agent based on a family member’s power of attorney, you have the ability to file suit and be granted financial powers. For example, let’s say your loved one resides in a nursing home and experiences a slip and fall accident where they sustain a head injury that renders them in a coma. If you believe negligence contributed to their injury, you can file a personal injury claim on their behalf to seek compensation for the medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
When you work with an attorney, they’ll ensure you have the best chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your loved one’s injuries. As the agent on a power of attorney document, you have the authority to manage that compensation. This means you can pay off medical bills resulting from the accident and ensure your loved one has the best chances of recovering.
Contact the Law Office of Todd W. Burris
If you’re acting as an agent on behalf of a loved one and you need to file a personal injury claim on their behalf, it’s understandable if you’re feeling overwhelmed. In order to ensure the proper steps are taken to achieve compensation, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options as an agent and how your actions could impact the principal’s future. To learn more about personal injury claims and power of attorney information, contact the Law Office of Todd W. Burris today.