Kentucky Injury Lawyers

Understanding Comparative Fault

Published on Jun 30, 2016 at 12:47 pm in Auto Accident.

Car accident lawyers are often asked, “What does comparative fault mean?” To answer generally, comparative fault is partial legal defense that can limit the amount of recoverable damages a plaintiff can seek in a claim, based on the degree to which the plaintiff’s acted negligently, contributing to cause the injury.

How a Smartphone Can Save Your Life During a Car Accident

Published on May 3, 2016 at 10:05 pm in Auto Accident.

Whether you have an Android or iPhone, there’s no denying the fact that smartphones make our lives infinitely easier while on the go. Help is only a quick key press away during any emergency, and GPS tracking makes it possible for family members and emergency response vehicles to locate their loved ones during a crisis. A mobile phone can mean the difference between life and death at times.

Top 10 Mistakes Made After a Car Accident

Published on Apr 26, 2016 at 10:10 pm in Auto Accident.

Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience that only becomes increasingly stressful if legal concerns are raised at any time. Whether you decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver or file a countersuit, there’s one undeniable fact—filing a lawsuit is complicated. Sometimes the smallest oversight or mistake can completely ruin a case, and the only way to avoid these mistakes is to be aware of them in the first place.

At Thomas Law Offices we’ve seen our share of mistakes made during personal injury lawsuits of all types, but what about mistakes made specifically during a car accident case?

We decided to come up with a list. Here are the top 10 mistakes made when filing a car accident lawsuit:

 

  1. Not going to the hospital right away

During the chaos of an accident, it’s easy to assume you’re not injured—especially once adrenaline kicks in. It’s never a good idea to wait to seek medical aid after a car accident, however. You never know when an injury is worse than it looks or feels, and some injury symptoms like whiplash take hours or days to fully present themselves.

Furthermore, waiting to seek medical aid can look extremely negative on any insurance claim or legal form. Waiting implies your injuries aren’t very serious. This is the exact opposite impression you want to give if you’re seeking legal or financial compensation.

What Should I Do Right After a Car Accident?

Published on Apr 21, 2016 at 10:25 pm in Auto Accident.

The first few minutes after being involved in a car accident can feel like some of the most frightening and stressful moments in your life. You’ll likely have a billion thoughts cascading through your mind, but as with most of life’s emergencies, keeping a level head and sticking to a basic plan of action can turn an immensely stressful situation into one that’s manageable. Remember the basics. Prioritize the health and safety of your loved ones as well as your own.

Moving one step beyond that, here’s a suggested crisis plan—listed in order of priority—of what you should do immediately following an automobile accident:

 

  1. Get to a Safe Area

The first thing you should think about during a crisis is your safety as well as the safety of any loved ones and/or passengers. If you’re able to drive the vehicle still and are currently blocking traffic, pull over to the side of the road and make sure the engine is turned off. If the accident is more severe and you cannot move the car, simply turn off the engine and turn on your hazard lights. Flares can also be placed around the vehicle if visibility is compromised.

Never, ever, drive away from the scene of an accident right after it occurs—even if the inflicted damages are minor.

 

  1. Assess Injuries and Get Help

Are you or anyone else in the vehicle injured in any way? If so, call 911. If you’re unsure how serious the injuries are or if the accident was fairly major, you will want to call 911 regardless. It’s better to let the police determine whether a police report needs to be filed or not. If anyone is severely injured, do not attempt to move them.

If it’s safe to do so, you may want to reach out to the other driver and passengers that were involved in the accident at this time. Assess any additional injuries, call 911 if you haven’t already done so, and let everyone involved know that help is on the way.

 

  1. Obtain Contact Information

When it’s safe to do so, you’ll also want to reach out to the other involved party and obtain the driver’s contact and insurance info. The police may take care of this as part of their investigation. Do not—under any conditions—speak to the other party regarding who’s at fault for the accident. It’s best to leave the matter of fault up to the police reports and insurance claims. If you say anything on the scene then later change your statement, this could impact your insurance claim as well as your chances of succeeding in trial.

 

  1. Take Photographs

If you’re able to do so before you leave the scene, it’s a good idea to take pictures of your damaged vehicle as well as of the location. Snap a few photos, but don’t interfere with any ongoing police investigations. Take pictures of the damage from multiple angles as well as pictures of the street, any visible debris that may have contributed to the accident, and any skid marks on the road. Photographs of the other vehicle’s license plate can also be helpful.

It may also be a good idea to take pictures of the area surrounding the accident as well as any identifying landmarks. This can help you remember exactly where the accident occurred and how it happened. Finally, if you end up with severe injuries or have to stay in the hospital for an extended amount of time, it can be a good idea to take photographs of the injuries themselves. The healing process can take time. Having evidence of the severity of your injuries can be useful in court.

 

  1. Consider Getting Witness Contacts

Are there any witnesses who may be willing to speak to you before you leave the scene of the accident? Whether or not you end up needing a witness, it’s a good idea to have one to fall back on if one is ever requested. Ask any witnesses if they’re comfortable giving you their contact information. If there’s time, you may even ask them to quickly write down an account of what they saw happen.

 

  1. Make the Necessary Phone Calls

You’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible immediately following the accident and find out if there’s anything you need to do in order to secure payment for any medical bills. If you were injured and feel you weren’t at fault for the accident, this is also when you’ll want to consider contacting a personal injury lawyer.

A compassionate and knowledgeable attorney like Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices will be able to set up a free case consultation and tell you if you’re eligible to file a case. Filing a case will enable you to have an easier time paying your medical bills and recovering from the emotional and physical trauma of the accident. Hiring an attorney also protects your rights and any evidence should the other involved party decide to file a lawsuit.

 

  1. Keep Proper Documentation

Throughout the entire recuperation process and time spent waiting to find out about insurance claims and/or case filings, you’ll want to keep records of any and all documentation regarding the accident. Request a copy of the accident report if one was filed with the police. Document how much time you took off work as well as any travel expenses you incurred by having to travel to and from doctor’s appointments. Keep copies of all medical documents, prescriptions, doctor’s notes, and insurance information. This information may all be requested at a later date or as evidence.

It can also be a good idea to keep detailed notes throughout the entire process. Detailed medical notes, especially, can be extremely useful. Make note of how your injuries impacted your ability to perform normal day-to-day duties such as work tasks, home chores, recreational activities, driving, and walking. This is often referred to as “duties under duress”. Also keep track of how your injuries healed over time and what levels of pain you experienced during the healing process.

The more details you have, the greater your chances of success are should a legal case be opened. Well-documented accident details are also useful if they are ever requested by your insurance provider. When it comes to car accidents—as with most of life’s scariest moments—being extra prepared can only lead to a positive outcome.

What Should I Ask My Doctor After a Car Accident?

Published on Apr 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm in Auto Accident.

After being involved in a car accident, it can seem like you never have enough time to stop and catch your breath let alone relax. One thing you need to prioritize, however, is your own health and well-being. Even if your injuries appear or feel minor, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you’re able to. Common car crash injuries like whiplash may not become noticeable until days or even weeks after the accident. Even simple bruising or stiffness can point to a more serious injury.

While you’re visiting with your doctor, it’s important to ask them a few necessary questions that will help you throughout the entire process of recovering from the accident and completing your auto insurance claim and/or lawsuit. Here’s a brief summary of the topics you should bring up with your doctor:

 

Further Health Concerns

Above everything else, make sure to raise any concerns you may have regarding the injuries you have sustained or any symptoms or possible side effects you may be experiencing. Don’t be afraid to mention concerns you may have in the future. Your doctor may advise you to see a chiropractor or orthopedic specialist, for example, or set up an effective care plan to minimize the risks of long term damage.

You might also want to suggest that x-rays are performed for any areas of the body where you’re still experiencing pain and/or limited mobility. Back and neck injuries can be extremely difficult to diagnose without x-rays. Finally, remember to tell your doctor about how your pain and/or symptoms have changed since the accident occurred. Don’t leave any details out.

 

Paid Time Off

If your injuries are serious enough where you feel like you can’t perform your normal work tasks without experiencing a great deal of pain or difficulty, don’t hesitate to ask for a doctor’s note in order to receive the time off work you need to recover. Car accident injury symptoms don’t always present themselves right away, remember, so it’s extremely likely that you’ll feel worse a few days after the accident—even if your injuries are minor. If you’ve already had to take time off work, ask your doctor to add a retroactive date if possible.

Most workplaces are sympathetic about taking time off after a car accident, and in some cases it may even be possible for you to be placed on temporary disability after an especially serious accident. It’s important to give yourself the time you need to heal and get your life back in order. Don’t leave the doctor’s office without asking for time off. You’ll never know your doctor’s answer if you don’t ask.

 

Medical Documentation

If you’re in the process of settling complicated insurance claims or thinking about seeking legal aid, you will also want to make sure you receive the necessary paperwork and medical records from your doctor. Many doctors will automatically give you copies of everything you may need, but other times you may have to make a formal request to receive copies of your medical records.

To have the best chances of a successful case or claim, you’ll need the following items:

  • Proof of your injuries in the form of hospital stay/doctor visit records (including records of any x-rays or tests taken)
  • Written records regarding any long term care plans (ask for a written copy if one isn’t initially provided)
  • Proof of how long the injuries lasted in the form of records from follow-up visits
  • Copies of prescriptions and recommendations for over-the-counter medications you purchased
  • Copies of any doctor’s notes and recommendations regarding time spent off work
  • Copies of any referrals for other doctors or specialists as well as proof of you visiting those doctors

 

After the visit with your doctor is over, remember to take a moment and breath. You survived the accident and you’re doing everything you need to do in order to recuperate and take care of business. You don’t have to go through this tough time alone, either. If you’re in the Louisville, KY area and are questioning your legal options, don’t hesitate to give Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices a call today. Our staff can help you decide if filing a lawsuit is the best option for receiving much-needed assistance with paying your bills and getting back on your feet again.