Car accident victims are likely to suffer physically, emotionally, and financially. It can be difficult to focus on recovery when countless questions are looming overhead. Our Lexington car accident lawyers can find answers to those questions and help victims seek compensation for the sustained losses.
If you’re trying to recover from a crash that wasn’t your fault, you may be wondering how long it will take to recover from your injuries, what will happen if you have to miss work for an extended period of time, and how you will afford your medical bills. You may also have concerns about negotiating with insurance companies. Fortunately, as a resident of Kentucky, you have legal options.
When an automobile accident is caused by another’s negligent, careless, or otherwise reckless actions or inactions, the victim may be eligible to seek representation from a lawyer and file a claim or lawsuit against the guilty party. While most car accident claims are settled outside of court, personal injury lawsuits are civil claims. Both actions can aid with the recovery process significantly and provide peace of mind when the negligent party is held accountable.
An experienced lawyer can build a successful claim or lawsuit that can open many doors for recovering victims and potentially provide financial assistance to pay for past, current, and future medical expenses related to the crash, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and liability disputes.
Additionally, filing a claim could make the negligent party stop and rethink their actions next time they’re tempted to make a careless decision on the road. Lawsuits can be powerful and oftentimes correct wrongful behaviors, thereby protecting future drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
In order to take the first steps toward filing a successful claim, you’ll benefit from understanding information about auto wrecks and Kentucky’s laws. Let’s first go over some facts about crashes in our state.
By the Numbers: Kentucky Car Accidents Statistics
Kentucky sees more fatalities on the road that are completely preventable than most residents would like to believe. According to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, 717 people in Kentucky lost their lives in traffic fatalities in our state during 2018. The numbers for 2019 are already on the rise.
In and around Lexington alone, there were 94 traffic fatalities between the period of January 2017 to March 2018. That puts Lexington as the city and surrounding area with the second-most fatalities in all of Kentucky. Coming in first place is Louisville.
Lexington is also home to some of the most dangerous intersections and interstates in our state. I-71 and I-75 are among the most dangerous highways in Kentucky; and according to a study conducted by the Kentucky State Police, most fatal car accidents in and around Lexington occur at intersections. Some of the most dangerous intersections—the ones with the most accidents during that year—include the following:
- South Broadway at West Vine Street
- Alumni Drive at Man O’ War Boulevard
- Man O’ War at Pink Pigeon
There are a number of reasons intersection are prime spots for collisions. First, negligent drivers may fail to properly look for traffic. This is especially dangerous while turning left. If a driver doesn’t stop and look, they could easily collide with another vehicle. Distractions are another major issue at intersections. Using a cellphone to text or check social media at a traffic light can put you at risk for rear-ending someone else or hitting a pedestrian. It’s crucial to always remain alert and aware at an intersection.
If you find yourself to be one of the many individuals who was wrongfully injured in an accident, our car accident lawyers can explain how the various state laws will apply to your case.
How Kentucky’s Laws Affect Car Accident Claims
Because Kentucky is aware of the dangers drivers face, there are a number of laws in place to protect accident victims. Your Lexington car accident lawyer can explain which laws apply to your case. The most common ones include the statute of limitations and the comparative negligence rule.
Abiding by the statute of limitations is crucial. Your lawyer can explain this law to you in more detail, however, it essentially establishes how long you have to take legal action. Car accident injury lawsuits are subject to the same statute of limitations as most personal injury cases. In Kentucky, you only have one year to take action for an accident you believe was someone else’s fault. This time limit begins on the date of the accident.
In some cases, your car accident lawyer may have more time to file your lawsuit. It all depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your accident. Regardless, if the time limit passes and action is taken the court can throw the case out without reviewing it. Our lawyers will work to meet all deadlines so your chances for compensation are not compromised.
If you claim goes to court and it’s decided by a jury that the other driver was at fault but you are also to blame, this will affect the total amount of compensation you are eligible for. As your lawyer will explain to you, Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state. This means that the amount of damages a victim can recover is reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if it’s decided you are responsible for 15 percent of the crash, you’ll only be eligible for 85 percent of the total compensation.
While those laws apply to the majority of car accident claims and lawsuits, there may be others that apply to your situation. Our lawyers will ensure you fully understand which laws apply to your case, so you never feel out of the loop.
Why Do Most Car Crashes Happen in Kentucky?
Why have the above statistics continued to climb year after year even though our motor vehicles are technologically safer than they’ve ever been? This is a question everyone must ask themselves when it comes to looking at auto safety as a whole, but also when thinking about any recent accidents they may have seen or been personally involved in.
Here are some of the top causes of vehicle accidents in Kentucky and nationwide:
- Drunk Driving. Hundreds of fatal crashes in Kentucky every year are a result of driving under the influence of alcohol. Considering that drinking and driving is completely preventable and illegal, these accidents should not occur at all. Alcohol severely impairs a driver’s ability to analyze what’s happening on the road and act accordingly.
- Speeding. Speeding is one of the leading causes of most car accidents nationwide. Whenever a driver speeds, it becomes more difficult for them to slow down or stop should an emergency arise.
- Failing to Follow Traffic Laws. When traffic laws or posted signs are not correctly followed, a crash can quickly result. Accidents are often caused when a driver decides that they are exempt from the rules. Common ways this occurs is when a driver follows another vehicle too closely, when right-of-way laws are not followed, and when unsafe U-turns are made.
- Distracted Driving. When a driver is distracted by an incoming text, a smartphone app, a meal they’re enjoying, or even a conversation happening inside their car, they may take their eyes off the road for just long enough to cause an accident.
- Inclement Weather. Snow and ice make the roads slippery and drivers have reduced control of their vehicle. One of the biggest threats is black ice because drivers cannot anticipate the danger and may hit the ice while traveling at high speeds.
- Tailgating. Failing to give cars space on the road can intimidate other drivers and also gives the person tailgating no time to react to sudden stops or turns.
- Aggressive Driving. It’s important to not succumb to road rage while driving. If someone is angry, they may focus on cutting the other person off or trying to find a way to get even with them. This takes away their attention from the road and they risk losing control of their vehicle.
- Ignoring Red Lights and Stop Signs. Drivers may try to “beat” traffic lights or roll through stop signs without properly checking both directions. These actions put them at risk of causing a collision.
- Driving at Night. It takes practice to get used to driving at night. Drivers can’t see as well and may fail to see another vehicle, person, or object on the road.
- Defective Auto Parts. If the car’s brakes or steering systems fail, this could be because the vehicle contains a defective product. In this situation, the manufacturer may be at fault for selling an unsafe auto part.
- New Drivers. Inexperienced drivers may not be used to sharing the road with many others at a time or have the awareness required to make swift decisions on the road.
- Driving Mistakes. When people aren’t alert, they may forget to signal turns or adjust their car mirrors so they can clearly see others around them.
- Tire Blowouts. Drivers need to be aware of their tires. If they have low pressure or worn treads, there’s a chance the tire could fail while they’re driving. Tire blowouts are difficult to control and can easily lead to a car wreck.
No matter what caused your accident, the Lexington car accident lawyers at Golden Law Office will investigate your case thoroughly. We’ll find who was at fault and how they acted in a way that caused you to unfairly sustain injuries and other damages. We’re on your side.
Common Car Accident Injuries
The human body isn’t equipped to handle the force of impact associated with an automobile collision. This is why our cars are outfitted with safety measures like seatbelts and airbags. Unfortunately, in the event of a serious accident, vehicle occupants are still likely to sustain physical injuries. Car crash consequences can vary significantly, but some of the most common resulting injuries or impairments include:
- Broken Bones. Depending on how the vehicle is struck, broken bones are a possibility. This is especially true when passengers are sitting with their feet on the dashboard or leaning their head against a window. While many bones can be set with a cast and will heal within a few months, other serious breaks require surgery.
- Neck or Head Injury. Whiplash is the most common neck injury a person is likely to sustain in the event of a car crash. This is especially true for rear-end collisions because of how the head and body are forced in different directions. If someone sustains serious head trauma, they could be at risk for brain damage—which can result in memory loss and cognition issues.
- Spinal Cord Injuries. The spine is a delicate part of the back. A car crash could result in a fractured spine. If the damage is severe, the victim could become temporarily or permanently paralyzed.
- Burn Injuries. In the event a vehicle collision results in a fire, the victims could become seriously injured. Burn injuries are among the most painful a person can experience. While less serious burns are often incredibly painful, they are likely to heal over time with minimal scarring. The most serious burns often result in no pain because of the damage to the nerve endings, but recovery can be long and difficult. Painful skin grafts may be needed.
No matter how you feel after the accident, it’s imperative that you get an evaluation from a medical professional. Your injuries may be masked by shock. Sometimes it takes injuries a few days or weeks to appear. Getting to a doctor will help you get compensation for your injuries and will help you start treating your injuries as soon as possible.
While the physical injuries related to a crash are often the most obvious, it’s important to not forget about the mental trauma associated with wrecks. Individuals may experience depression, irritability, difficulty sleeping, or altered eating habits. In the most severe cases involving PTSD, a person may refuse to drive or get into a car. While psychological trauma can take time to recover from, a mental health professional can provide options like cognitive therapy and medication.
If you’ve suffered from any of the above injuries that have seriously affected your life and/or will have lasting implications or require long-term medical care, you may find it difficult to get the compensation you need to make a full recovery. It’s in these instances when a car accident lawyer may be able to help you the most.
Dealing With a Car Accident
After an auto accident, you may be at a loss for what to do. The situation is often sudden and stressful. But your actions after the wreck can help people, and you can also take steps that will help your claim in the future.
- Check Yourself for Injuries. Following a crash, it’s important to be evaluated by a health care professional. Even if you feel okay, you could have injuries that haven’t manifested symptoms yet. Having all your injuries and treatment plans documented will help you with your case because you’ll have an accurate record of what you’ve experienced.
- Call Police. If someone has been injured or a fatality has occurred, it’s imperative to contact law enforcement. They will need to file a report that can later be used by your lawyer and insurance company to help with your case.
- Provide Help If You Can. When the police are making their report, you can provide the facts. But it’s vital that you stick to what you know. Trying to fill in gaps or guess details could lead to an inaccurate report and jeopardize your claim. Remember to never apologize. You may have the urge to just because of the situation you’re in, but saying sorry can be considered an act of admission. This could significantly reduce your chances of receiving compensation.
- Exchange Information. You need to exchange information with the other party or parties involved in the collision. You should get the contact information, insurance policies, and make and model of the cars. You will need to provide this information to your insurance company so they can process your claim.
- Call an Attorney. You’ll want to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer who will fight for your rights. Car accident claims can become complicated and it’s important to remember that there’s a chance your insurance company could offer you a settlement that’s lower than what you deserve. Golden Law Office is prepared to help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
The Importance of a Lawyer You Can Trust
When you meet with an attorney from Golden Law Office, you’ll be able to get legal advice confidentially and quickly. We offer consultations for free and do not charge you anything up front. Our Lexington car accident lawyers have the experience your claim deserves. We can help you navigate any complex insurance settlements and speak on your behalf in court if necessary, to prove that negligence occurred and that you were not at fault.
The right legal help can deliver peace of mind. If you’re questioning your legal options after being involved in an auto accident in Kentucky, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.