Kentucky Injury Lawyers

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.

A Deadly Crash Results in Greater Monitoring of the Safety Requirements for Stretch Limousine Vehicles

Published on Nov 18, 2015 at 11:12 am in Auto Accident, Auto Product Liability.

A recent deadly crash in Long Island of a limousine carrying eight women has brought attention to the modifications of “stretch” limousine vehicles and their inability to provide protection for passengers in side impact crashes.  Federal officials have agreed to investigate limousine accidents and evaluate the safety requirements currently in place to regulate how these vehicles are modified in aftermarket facilities.

The modification requirements for stretch limousine and bus vehicles currently are not specific, leaving great variation in the way these vehicles are transformed once they leave a manufacturer.  For example, some vehicles have three steel reinforcement bars in the side panels, but others, in order to save time and cost, may have only one.  Many vehicles lack basic safety protections, including not enough side impact air bags, rollover bars, and appropriate exits.  Often times the changes made are for superficial reasons, leaving little concern for the safety cost of the change, such as removing a side exit to lengthen the seating area of a vehicle.  When a limo or bus leaves the manufacturing floor it has passed all of the required federal tests necessary to protect drivers and passengers.  However, these same limos are often taken to aftermarket shops where they are stretched, modified, or changed, leaving safety standards at risk and both drivers and passengers in danger.

Since the deadly crash in Long Island, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer has been very outspoken about the need for greater safety standards for stretch limousines.  The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has heeded his call and agreed to investigate future limousine accidents as they occur on a case-by-case basis.  This agreement is critical as it lays the groundwork for the NTSB to formally issue safety recommendations for altered stretch limousines.  Combined with already available data, these recommendations can be used to place additional requirements and safeguard on altered stretch limousines.

Stretch limousines are most often used by passengers on monumental occasions, such as weddings, proms, birthdays, and anniversaries.  Many passengers are completely unaware of the risk of traveling in one of these vehicles and what little protection it would actually provide in a crash.  1 in 4 accidents involving stretch limos are side-impacting.  Despite this fact, side airbags and other protections are requirements left absent during the secondary alteration of limousines.  The deadly crash in Long Island was caused by a pick up truck crashing into the side of a stretch limo traveling to Wine Country, killing four women and severely injuring the other four.  Had their vehicle had side airbags, rollover bars, or more bolstering in the doors, the women might have survived.

Passengers of stretch limousine and other special event vehicles should be free to enjoy their exciting life moments without having to worry about the unregulated safety of their transportation.  If you want to learn more about the changes the NTSB is making to increase passenger protection, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.

Drugs and Alcohol Involved in Driving Fatalities

Published on Jul 14, 2015 at 10:55 am in Auto Accident, Personal Injury.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drugs and alcohol continue to be a major cause of Kentucky car accidents. The data shows that, nationally, drugs and alcohol were involved in fatal accidents, claiming 267,598 lives from 1995 and 2013, according to drugtreatment.com. Drugs or alcohol involvement accounted for 26 percent of all fatal car accidents over that time period.

South Dakota had the most fatal car accidents involving a legally drunk driver, 22.44 per every 100,000 residents. The next nine states in order were; Wyoming (19.02), Arkansas (18.68), Nebraska (18.54), Montana (16.85), Mississippi (16.42), Maine (15.12), Kentucky (14.98), Louisiana (14.63, and West Virginia (14.05).

North Dakota had the most fatal car accidents where the driver was under the influence of drugs, 8.03 for every 100,000 residents. The next nine states in order were: Wyoming (7.53), Montana (7.33), West Virginia (6.09), Kentucky (5.89), Arkansas (5.23), Vermont (4.56), South Dakota (4.20), South Carolina (4.07), and Alabama (4.05).

Deadly Accidents Show Dangers of Teen Driving

Published on Oct 27, 2014 at 8:06 am in Auto Accident.

Two horrible car accidents in Southern California claimed the lives of a total of ten people last weekend. Teenaged drivers were behind the wheel in both cases.

In Orange County, at about 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning, a 16-year-old boy who did not have a license was driving five other teenagers home from the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park. In October, the park converts to a Halloween theme as the popular “Knott’s Scary Farm.”

The BMW Sedan drove off the road going southbound on the Santa Ana Freeway in Irvine, crashing and catching fire. All five of the passengers, two girls and three boys aged 14-15 were killed – most burned beyond recognition. The driver was listed in serious but stable condition. Orange County Fire Authority confirmed that the car was flattened on top and showed burn marks as it was towed away from the scene.