What Should I Do Immediately After a Car Accident in Kentucky?
Just getting rear ended can startle you and your passengers, and result in bruises and soreness. More serious collisions can cause confusion, anger and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. If you or your passengers are injured, the effect is multiplied.
It’s hard to think clearly under these circumstances, let alone take the proper steps to address all of your issues. Here is a look at the necessary actions you should take immediately after a car accident in Kentucky.
Make It Safe
If you are involved in an accident, don’t leave the scene. If you leave the scene of an accident it is considered hit and run, and this could lead to very serious trouble. Stay on the scene and wait for the police.
The first thing you should do is check your condition and the condition of your passengers. See if the driver and passengers of the other car are ok and make sure pedestrians are in good shape. Immediately call for an ambulance if there is an injury.
Get your car out of the roadway, if at all possible. Pull off to the side of the road or to a safe place to park close to the site of the accident. If your car remains in the roadway, there is always the danger of a secondary accident as cars approach the accident scene.
If you can’t move your vehicle, make it visible. Turn on hazard lights and set off emergency flares. Put out cones and markers.
Document the Accident
It is essential to get the facts of the accident recorded as quickly as possible. Call the police, a requirement if there is an injury or damage over $500 to a vehicle or property. The officer will investigate and file an official report.
Get the contact information for the other driver (or drivers) including name, address, phone number, car license and driver’s license. Find out the name of his insurance company. Give your information to the other drivers.
Talk to witnesses and get their contact information, including names, addresses and phone numbers. You will need this if there is any question about who is at fault for the car accident in Kentucky.
Photograph the accident scene and damage to your vehicle and that of the other driver.
See Your Doctor
Just because you don’t see blood or don’t feel as if you are injured, don’t assume everyone is ok. Many conditions manifest themselves later, including whiplash and brain injury.
If you have any doubts about injuries at the scene of the accident, call an ambulance. Err on the side of safety. At the very least, get checked out at a hospital emergency room later.
Getting a medical exam will help you document your condition, providing proof of injury. This information can be critical when you seek a fair settlement.
Be sure to tell your physician about any discomfort or pain you are experiencing, however minor. Too often people in a collision try to be brave, to not cause a fuss. That is the wrong approach. Give your doctor the information they need to understand your condition and make an accurate diagnosis. Get photos taken of all your injuries.
If the doctor recommends further testing, like X-rays or an MRI, make sure you do it. This lets him make a more precise diagnosis. At the same time, it documents your injuries. Ask your doctor to share their detailed opinion of your condition and what they recommend as a treatment plan.
The more thorough your medical records, the better prepared you will be to prove the extent of your injuries. With this data in hand, you are much more likely to get a fair settlement.
Reasons to Follow Medical Advice
The accident victims in many cases choose to ignore their doctor’s advice regarding treatment plans for financial or other reasons. Doing so could not only imperil your health, but also have consequences for your legal claims arising from the accident. Here are a few critical reasons for you to strictly follow your doctor’s orders after an accident:
Your Health is the Priority
It is true that you may not want to be on prolonged medication that makes you feel worse or remain at home on an extended leave from work. But in all fairness, your doctor is the best judge of the healing and recovery process. Likely, you can further endanger your health or even face permanent disabilities if you choose to ignore the medical directives from your physician.
Doctors are Medical Experts
If you are aware of the kind of hard work, discipline, and experience it requires before someone can take the Hippocratic oath, you will choose to ignore your physician’s instructions at your own peril. Doctors responsible for your medical care in the aftermath of a serious accident are reliable experts with proficiency in diagnosis and treatment. You must remember that your best chance of timely recovery is to follow the path prescribed by your physician.
Complications Can Prove Expensive
By ignoring the orders of your doctor, you are taking chances with your health that could prove to be very costly in the long term. Your failure to follow advice can cause complications that may jeopardize not only your health but also result in unwarranted medical bills due to added treatments.
Records, documents, and physician’s notes are significant evidence of following your physician’s instructions. These documents contain vital information and records of your injuries, medical treatment, recovery plan, and other relevant data. These documents are proof of the harm caused by the accident and can be useful in proving your compensation claim in court.
Long Term Recovery
The prospects of your long-term recovery improve tremendously if you follow your doctors’ orders. While the road to recovery in each accident is different, patients who ignore their doctors’ instructions may have a different post-injury healing experience.
Your Insurance Adjuster
An insurance adjuster may attempt to sugar-coat the insurance company’s settlement offer after you file a claim for your injuries and related damages. The insurance companies, keeping their business interests in mind, want to pay you as little as they possibly can, and it is the insurance adjuster’s job to make the offer sound much better than it is.
A typical tactic in giving you a low settlement offer is to look for and exploit potential weaknesses in your compensation claim. One of the ways to do this is by arguing about and downplaying your injuries. Since they are snooping around to look for loopholes in your claim, they can surely take advantage if you do not follow your doctor’s orders.
Personal Injury Claims
If you are a victim of an accident caused by someone’s negligence or misconduct, you have the legal right to claim compensation for injuries, related damages, pain and suffering, and lost earnings. It is imperative that you should seek medical treatment and follow up on medical advice so that you can document your injuries to bolster your compensation claim.
Protect Your Rights
You need to let your insurance company know about the accident as quickly as possible. Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” insurance state. To pay medical expenses, lost wages and other damages, you will often be working with your own insurance company.
Whether payment is through your insurer or through a claim against the driver at fault, you need to protect your rights. For that reason, never apologize or admit that part or all of the accident was your fault.
In a serious car accident in Kentucky, it is common for the other driver’s insurer to want you to make an official statement. This can be an intimidating situation. Consider talking with a personal injury attorney first. They can explain how this process works and the types of questions to expect.
Get an Experienced Kentucky Injury Attorney on Your Side
The damage claim process is complex when you are involved in a car accident in Kentucky. Instead of trying to navigate the maze of forms, interviews and options by yourself, face it at the side of an experienced and aggressive Kentucky personal injury attorney with years of experience in the field.
John H. Ruby & Associates, has been helping people in the greater Louisville, Kentucky community with car accident cases for over a decade. He has the training and practical skills to help you get the settlement you deserve.
Call John H. Ruby & Associates today at (502) 895-2626 or contact the firm online to set up a consultation about your car accident in Kentucky.