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More Essential Things to Know About Personal Injury Insurance Claims in Kentucky

Published on Apr 7, 2015 at 1:46 pm in General.
More Essential Things to Know About Personal Injury Insurance Claims in Kentucky

Last month we took a look at five things everyone should know about dealing with insurance companies following a car accident or other personal injury. This may or may not surprise you, but it turns out there are still more important things you should know before attempting to settle your claim with an insurance company or take them to court. Let’s take a look:

When Insurance Companies “Lowball” You, They’re Breaking the Law

Insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith, and if they employ certain bad faith negotiation tactics, such as unreasonably delaying a settlement or ignoring your attempts to contact them, then they may be liable for a claim of bad faith. Kentucky courts have found that insurers who make an unreasonably low initial offer to settle your claim may be in violation of the law.

Your Recovery Will Be Reduced by the Amount to Which You Were Deemed at Fault

Kentucky tort law employs a “comparative fault” theory of liability. This means that, if a court could find that you were partially to blame for an accident, then you will be responsible for the percentage of your damages for which you’ve been deemed at fault. During claim negotiations, an insurer could try to convince you that you were responsible to a greater degree than may be accurate, in order to reduce their own responsibility. Having an attorney investigate your claim and make a determination of fault could ensure that you don’t settle your insurance claim under the misguided belief that you bore a greater responsibility for your damages than you really did.

If your Insurance company refuses to settle when their liability is basically clear, they’re acting contrary to the law

Kentucky insurers are obligated to attempt to reach a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of claims when liability is reasonably clear. If an insurer continues to try to litigate claims after this stage, then they are violating the law by acting in bad faith.

You May Need to File a First Party Claim or a Third Party Claim For Your Injuries

When you’re at fault for an accident, you would normally file a first party claim with your own insurer for your injuries, depending on your insurance policy. When another person or business is at fault for your injuries, say after you slip and fall in a store, you would file a third party claim with the store’s insurer. The determination of fault is a legal decision that you may not be qualified to make on your own, and taking the word of the insurance company may not be the best choice either.

Obtaining all Your Medical Bills is an Expensive, Time Consuming Process

You may assume it’s safe to allow your insurance company to obtain medical bills on your behalf, and to trust their statement as to what the records say and what the sum of your bills is. However, this gives up  a great deal of control to the insurers. Obtaining your own bills might involve contacting numerous doctors’ offices, hospitals, and ambulance companies, as well as paying fees to each company for the cost of duplicating the records. Getting help from a Kentucky personal injury attorney can eliminate this hassle and up-front expense.

We could go on with more things you need to know, but all you really need to know is, Don’t try to negotiate your claims alone; contact the knowledgeable and compassionate Lexington attorneys at Todd W. Burris, PSC, for a no-cost consultation to make sure your rights are protected. Our attorneys can help you obtain your best possible recovery for claims against insurers in Frankfort, Shelbyville, Louisville, Lawrenceburg, and throughout Fayette County.

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Personal Injury Insurance Claims

Published on Mar 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm in General.
Five Things You Didn’t Know About Personal Injury Insurance Claims

Insurance companies, whether your own insurer or the insurer of a third party, want to settle your personal injury claim for as little money as possible. If you’re filing a personal injury claim with an insurer in Kentucky, make sure you understand what you’re in for—and consider hiring a lawyer to help you avoid common pitfalls.

Below are five important things to know before you set off navigating the insurance claims process:

Giving a recorded statement to an insurer could impact your ultimate recovery negatively

Appearing without an experienced Kentucky attorney to give a recorded statement means you’re bound to the statements you make—including statements you may think are innocuous but actually sound like admissions of liability. Exercise caution when giving a recorded statement to an insurer, and, if possible, speak with a lawyer before speaking to an insurer.

Not conducting your own investigation leaves you at the mercy of the insurance company’s factual findings

It can be difficult to contest a bad set of facts as presented by an insurance company either during negotiations or at trial if you can’t present equally convincing facts that support your own arguments. If only one party in a two-sided negotiation has conducted a factual investigation, and it isn’t you, you could be at a serious disadvantage.

Demanding too little or too much can affect your final recovery negatively

If you make too small a demand when first negotiating with an insurance company, you could get stuck with a paltry recovery. If you demand too much, you might be showing the insurers that you are inexperienced, as you don’t understand how to value your claims. Either way, improper valuation of claims can lead to a smaller settlement.

Settling a claim without knowing the full extent of your injuries can bar you from recovering in the future on those injuries

Once you’ve signed a settlement agreement with an insurer, it’s probable that the agreement will include a release of future claims based on that accident. Don’t release your right to sue in the future without making certain that you’re being compensated for all of your injuries related to that event, as physical injuries and complications can often surface many months after the initial injury.

Without Having it in Writing, Don’t Rely on an Admission of Liability

When starting the negotiation process with your insurer, the adjuster might try to get you to let down your guard by assuring you that the party that the insurer represents is liable for your damages. However, unless the insurer goes on the record, either by putting the admission of liability in writing or in a recording, do not rely on this admission. Continue preparing your case and gathering facts to support your side.

Don’t Go It Alone

Insurance companies are staffed with experienced adjusters who do nothing but investigate accidents and settle claims all day long. Pitting yourself against these professionals puts you at an immediate disadvantage from the very start. Instead, get a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney on your side who won’t let you get taken advantage of in the insurance claims process. In Lexington and Fayette County, call Todd W. Burris at (859) 252-2222 for a free consultation.

 

NEXT MONTH: But that’s not all! More Essential Things to Know About Personal Injury Insurance Claims in Kentucky

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