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Car Accidents

Millions of people every year are injured and killed in car accidents.  Unless you or someone you know has been directly affected by an accident, it is difficult to appreciate the impact these accidents have on people’s lives.


Do you have a claim?


There are two potential claims you may have against a party that hit you in an accident: a property damage claim and a bodily injury claim.  Property damage claims involve only the damage to your property; that is, your motor vehicle.  If you were injured by the negligence of another driver, you will have a bodily injury claim against the at-fault driver if you meet one of the statutory requirements.

Do you need a lawyer?


Not every car accident victim needs an attorney.  If you were not injured in the accident, or if you have only very minor injuries, hiring an attorney may be unnecessary.  However, you should still consult with a personal injury attorney.  Contact Zach Berry for a free consultation.


If you are injured in the accident, you need an attorney to represent your interests.  There is solid evidence that clients are awarded more money with an attorney’s help than without - even after paying attorney’s fees.


Most accident victims do not have the experience or the time to deal with the insurance companies, and the entire process can be very stressful.  Hiring a lawyer will help relieve accident victims of their worries and increase the likelihood of a fair financial recovery.  Zach Berry deals with insurance companies daily and understands the pitfalls that can arise in personal injury cases.  Zach Berry will gather and analyze your medical records, consult with doctors, negotiate with the insurance company, prepare settlement proposals and prepare your case for trial if necessary.


Remember: the insurance company is not on your side.


After an accident, many people make the mistake of talking to insurance agents/adjustors before consulting the advice of a personal injury attorney.  It is important to remember that insurance adjustors are not your friends.  They get paid to, as much as they can, limit the amount of compensation that you will receive.  They are constantly looking to devalue your claim.  This does not mean that they are bad people; they are just doing their jobs.  The insurance industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and it did not become that way by paying out on every claim that is asserted.  If you are involved in an accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss what is truly in your best interest.  Once you hire an attorney and that is communicated to the insurance company, the insurance company cannot contact you without first going through your attorney.

How do car accident claims work in Kentucky?


Kentucky has a specific statute that addresses motor vehicle accidents: KRS 304.39, better known as the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act (“MVRA”) and sometimes referred to as the “No Fault” law.  The MVRA mandates “no fault” insurance coverage for all vehicles in Kentucky unless the insured has specifically waived the coverage.  The expression “no fault” can be misleading because most car accidents are certainly caused by the fault of one of the drivers.  “No fault” means that no matter who is at fault for the motor vehicle accident, the first $10,000 worth of medical bills and lost wages will be paid by the insurance company that is insuring the car in which the person is riding.


The MVRA is not easy to read or to understand. It takes a global understanding of the scope and purpose of the MVRA as well as a specific understanding of how it is applied by Kentucky courts.  It is a good idea to consult with a Kentucky personal injury attorney who fully understands the MVRA.


How much is your claim worth?


Unfortunately, there is no formula to determine the exact amount of money that a motor vehicle accident case is worth.  A case is worth the amount of money you need to be compensated for your injuries to put you in the position you would have been in if you were not in the accident.

The value of your injuries are called “damages.”  This is the value that the accident has “damaged” an injured driver.  These damages can include: past and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of power to work and earn money, and past and future pain and suffering.  There may also be a claim for loss of consortium if an accident results in a fatality.  If you have been injured through the negligence of another, you are entitled to compensation for these damages.  If you were injured in an accident, contact Zach Berry to determine exactly what damages you may be entitled to.


Kentucky is a comparative fault state?


A major portion of a personal injury case is assessing liability; that is, who is at fault for the accident.  In some cases liability is clear, but in others it may be disputed.  In some states, if you are 1% at fault for an accident then you are completely precluded from recovering damages from the other party.  Fortunately, Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state, which means accident victims can still recover if they were partially at fault for the accident.  When evaluating a claim, it must be determined what percentage of fault may be placed upon the parties involved in the accident.  In a settlement or trial, the plaintiff’s award for damages will be reduced in proportion to their fault.


Statute of Limitations.


In Kentucky, you have two years from the date of the car accident or the last PIP payment (not to exceed four years) to resolve your claim or file a lawsuit.  If your claim is not resolved or a lawsuit filed within this time period, your claim will be barred forever.  If you have a significant injury, you should contact a Kentucky personal injury attorney as soon as possible to allow for proper investigation and the maximization of insurance benefits. Certain causes of actions have shorter statutes of limitations, so It is always best to discuss your particular statute of limitations with a personal injury lawyer.  Contact Zach Berry to determine exactly when your statute of limitations may run.


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