We all know someone who has been injured in a car accident. When you’re that someone, however, determining what steps to take next can be confusing. If you’ve suffered injuries and financial losses as a result of a crash you believe never should have happened, a Richmond car accident lawyer from Golden Law Office can help you decide if filing a personal injury claim is right for your situation.
Car accidents happen every single day. While the majority only result in property damage, injuries, both minor and fatal, are a real possibility. With injuries often comes time away from work and extensive medical bills. Filing a car accident claim with the help of an attorney can put you on the path to receiving the compensation you need to recover.
An experienced lawyer has the ability to build a case for a client that proves the other driver involved in an auto collision was responsible for what happened. Building a claim is a complex process and it often starts with determining how and why the wreck happened in the first place.
Car Accidents in Richmond: How and Why They Happen
With I-75 traveling through Richmond, it’s not uncommon for serious accidents to occur on the highway. Crashes, however, are just as likely to occur on local roads, especially those with large intersections, blind turns, or sharp curves. No matter the location of your accident, it’s important to understand why it happened.
Speeding, distractions, and intoxication contribute to a significant number of accidents. While drivers are supposed to obey the posted speed limit signs, there are those that choose to go considerably faster. When a driver goes faster than safe for roadway or weather conditions, they’re at a higher risk of losing control of their vehicle.
One of the main distractions drivers face is their cellphones. Regardless of whether they’re changing their music, checking their navigation app, or trying to answer the phone, they’re putting themselves and others at risk of injury. A distraction like a cellphone takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off the task of driving.
It’s no secret that drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous and, at a certain point, illegal. When intoxicated, a driver’s ability to understand their surroundings and make decisions is significantly impaired. That’s why it’s so easy to get into an accident. Often times, they won’t even realize they’re about to cause a crash.
No matter how or why your accident happened, your attorneys will fight to prove negligence on behalf of the other driver and help you get the compensation you need to recover. Part of determining the compensation involves looking at how you’ve been affected by the wreck.
Understanding the Potential Consequences of a Crash
It’s not uncommon for shock to set in after an accident. This can mask physical injuries and your emotional response to what has happened. Once you’ve been evaluated by medical professionals, you can begin to take stock of what you’ve been through and what you’ll have to deal with as a result. Often times, the consequences of car collisions are multifaceted and affect victims in a number of ways. Most commonly, you’ll be left to deal with physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial losses.
The injuries you sustain in a crash will depend on a number of factors including how fast the cars involved were traveling at the time of the crash, how and where the cars collided, whether you were wearing a seatbelt, and your physical health status prior to the event.
In a minor accident, victims may walk away with only bruising and minor lacerations. It’s normal to be sore for a few days or weeks, but recovery is typically easy. With more severe accidents, however, the resulting injuries may require weeks or months of treatment. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, burns, internal organ trauma, and whiplash are among the most common injuries we see. Depending on how bad the injury is, surgery or physical therapy may be needed.
When injuries are so severe they affect a person’s ability to work, they’re considered catastrophic. Amputations, spinal cord injuries, and some traumatic brain injuries are labeled catastrophic when they completely upend a person’s life. The patient will likely need to adapt to a new way of living and will be unable to return to their previous position of employment.
Once your physical injuries have been addressed, you may come to realize you’re suffering emotionally from the car accident. It’s not uncommon for crash victims to experience depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, mood swings, fatigue, and loss of appetite. It’s important to speak with your doctor about your symptoms so you can find a way to address them.
When a wreck results in catastrophic injuries or death, it’s more likely for a person to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They might find themselves reliving the event through nightmares or flashbacks. Symptoms of PTSD are similar to the ones discussed above, but they’re heightened. It’s not uncommon for PTSD to become debilitating. As a result, therapy or medication may be needed to help a person cope and feel better.
The first financial loss you’ll run into after a crash is property damage. It’s likely your vehicle sustained damage. Depending on its condition, you’ll need to decide if the car can be repaired or if it’s totaled. The insurance company often makes that determination after an adjuster reviews the damage.
Medical bills also have the potential to add up quickly after a crash. One ER bill can cost thousands of dollars – especially if a number of tests are conducted or surgery is required. There’s also the possibility of needing additional medical care in the future if your injuries are catastrophic.
In addition to the property damage costs and medical bills, you may be looking at taking unpaid time off work to recover. If your injuries prevent you from working, you may need to use up your paid time off and take additional time until you’re in a position where your doctor clears you to return to work. Not receiving even one paycheck can put you significantly behind when trying to cover your regular bills and the cost of medical care.
Steps to Take After a Traffic Collision in Richmond
It can be challenging to reign in your emotions after a car accident, but there are certain steps you need to take to protect yourself and your future. No matter what type of crash you’re in, stop, pull over, and assess the situation. If you notice anyone is injured, including yourself, call 911 immediately. Emergency medical responders and police will arrive on scene as soon as possible.
Seeking medical attention after a crash is incredibly important. Even if you feel okay, there’s the potential for injuries you cannot see. If you are not evaluated, diagnosed, and treated, you won’t know the extent of your injuries and your lawyer won’t have an accurate account of how the accident harmed you.
While you wait for the officers and responder to arrive, do what you can to document the scene. Take photographs of the damage to the vehicles, your initial injuries, and the surrounding area. If possible, collect contact information from witnesses. Your lawyer can contact them for information at a later date.
It’s also important to exchange information with the others involved in the accident. You’ll want to collect the other driver’s name, phone number, driver’s license number, and insurance details. While it’s likely the reporting officer will collect this information, it’s useful for your lawyer if you have the information upfront.
Once the police arrive, you’ll need to provide them with an honest account of what happened. Avoid guessing or speculating. If you do not remember, tell them that. What you say will have an impact later when you seek compensation for your losses. Never apologize, as it could seem like you’re admitting blame. It’s also a good idea to avoid talking specifically about injuries because it’s unlikely you’re entirely aware of the extent or what your recovery will look like.
Kentucky’s Car Accident Laws
When it comes time to build and file your claim, your Richmond car accident attorney will utilize state laws to prove the other driver acted negligently and caused your accident. It’s important to note, however, that because of the no-fault car insurance laws in Kentucky, car accident victims typically have to turn to their personal injury protection coverage to get compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses regardless of fault.
When a car accident victim can seek compensation from the at-fault party, the state’s pure comparative fault law comes into effect. This means that the amount of recoverable damages is reduced by fault percentage. If, for example, you’re in an accident where you’re deemed responsible for 10% for a claim valued at $100,000, you’ll only be eligible for $90,000.
Insurance greatly affects how and if you can file a personal injury claim for a car accident. Your attorney will have a comprehensive understanding of the laws and how they apply to your specific situation.
Another important law to keep in mind with a car accident case is the statute of limitations. While the time limit does not affect your car insurance claim, it does apply to any potential car accident lawsuits.
If you’re unable to reach a settlement and decide to proceed with a lawsuit, Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(a) gives you one year to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for losses. The deadline is extended to two years when personal property damage is involved. If you fail to file a lawsuit with the required timeframe, you’ll be ineligible for any amount of compensation.
Financial Recoveries for Accident Related Losses
There are a number of factors that affect the compensation you seek for a traffic accident. In general, compensation is broken down into economic and noneconomic categories. Your attorney will estimate what you’re owed and fight to make sure that’s what you receive. When we determine what you’re owed, we’ll not only take into consideration what you’ve lost, but we’ll look to see if there’s potential for loss in the future because of the accident.
Economic damages are easier to calculate because they’re based on real numbers like your medical bills, lost wages, out-of-pocket expenses, lost earning capacity, future cost-of-care, and more. Noneconomic damages, however, are harder to calculate because they’re based on subjective losses like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and loss of consortium.
Golden Law Office: Representing Richmond’s Crash Victims
Depending on the severity of your injuries, the time you need to take off work to recover, how you’re handling the accident emotionally, and the financial losses you’re trying to cope with, it can seem overwhelming or even impossible to even consider filing a car accident. As Richmond car accident lawyers, we firmly believe the filing a claim is the only way to receive full and fair compensation for the crash.
As you can see from the information about, claims are often complex. While we may be able to get you the monetary award you deserve through negotiations, it’s important to understand that there’s a chance you’ll need to proceed with a lawsuit to get everything you’re owed. While going in front of a judge and jury can seem stressful, our attorneys have extensive experience handling trials and we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.
No matter what direction your case takes, you must consider your financial future. We’ll fight to ensure the negligent driver is held accountable and you receive the compensation you need to recover as fully as possible. Working with a Richmond lawyer gives you the opportunity to rest and heal, while we handle the paperwork and conversations.
If you’re ready to get back on your feet after a car accident, contact our law firm today. We’ll begin with a free, no-obligation case evaluation where we discuss what you’ve been through and the merits of your potential case.