Hurt in a car crash and out of work? Watching medical bills pile up while your bank account shrinks? Still trying to come to terms with the physical and emotional pain the crash has left you with? Receiving a settlement offer from the insurance company might seem like the lifeline you need, but accepting the first offer that comes your way could mean that you’re missing out on vital compensation.
Dealing with Lexington insurance companies after a car accident is a complicated matter. If you’re not familiar with all the tricks and tactics these big companies use to limit your right to compensation, you could be left without enough money to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and other related damages.
Peterson Law Office doesn’t let that happen. Let’s take a closer look at Kentucky auto insurance laws and our top tips for handling interactions with insurance companies.
No-Fault Insurance Laws in Kentucky
Kentucky is what is known as a choice no-fault insurance state. Under this system, motorists purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage through their own insurers, which covers their accident-related injuries and damages regardless of fault. This coverage is in addition to current liability coverage requirements. Minimum PIP covers up to $10,000 for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Related out-of-pocket costs
Individual motorists also have the option of purchasing additional PIP coverage with higher benefits. While this system can expedite the insurance claims process following a wreck, it also places limitations on a victim’s right to sue a driver who caused them harm.
Opting Out of No-Fault Insurance
Drivers have the choice of opting out of no-fault insurance. Should an individual choose to reject no-fault insurance coverage, they will retain their right to sue an at-fault driver for all their related economic (financial) and non-economic (non-financial) damages.
However, this means that they will not be entitled to receive any no-fault benefits in the event of an accident, leaving them vulnerable to being sued if they were the party at fault.
When Can You Sue Under No-Fault Coverage?
Although no-fault laws limit your ability to sue after an accident, these limitations are relatively low. Even with PIP coverage, the threshold for suing a driver who caused an accident is:
- $1,000 in medical expenses
- Permanent injury
- Permanent disfigurement
- Permanent loss of bodily function
- Fracture of weight-bearing bone
- Displaced or compound fracture
It is also important to note that PIP insurance only covers your losses related to bodily injuries, such as medical bills or missed paychecks if you can’t work. You may still bring legal action against an at-fault driver for property damage regardless of whether the above thresholds are met.
5 Tips for Dealing With the Insurance Company After a Car Accident
Don’t assume that your own auto insurer is your friend. Big insurance companies are for-profit businesses that operate by minimizing payouts to maximize their own bottom lines. Here are Peterson Law Office’s top 5 tips for dealing with the insurance company after an accident.
1. Report the Accident Quickly
Every insurance company maintains its own rules for reporting accidents, although most require you to inform them within a few days of a wreck. Some have reporting requirements as short as 24 hours. For guidance on the exact amount of time you have to report a crash, refer to your policy.
In general, it is best to report the accident to your insurance immediately, even if you are not required to do so. Failing to report the crash in a timely manner can have a negative impact on your ability to recover compensation.
2. Don’t Give a Recorded Statement
You may be asked to provide a recorded statement by either your or the other driver’s insurer. Unless your legal representation has specifically given you the go-ahead to do so, giving a recorded statement to an insurance company is a bad idea.
Recorded statements are notoriously imprecise. It is easy to misspeak or say something you don’t mean in the moment. You may become flustered or confused by an insurance adjuster’s purposely misleading tactics. You can’t go back and amend a recorded statement, and the insurance company can use it as evidence against you if you say something different later on.
Instead, craft a written statement under the guidance of your attorney. This will help you provide a much more accurate representation of what happened.
3. Don’t Accept the First Settlement Offer
The first settlement offer rarely reflects a fair assessment of your damages and losses. Be wary of any fast or initial offers from the insurance company, as you won’t have the opportunity to go back and ask for more money later.
Take the time to fully evaluate any offer from the insurance company. Compare the offer to your calculated losses and damages, including future anticipated medical costs and any lost earning capacity. If the offer is too low, you have the right to reject it.
4. Maintain Careful Records of Everything
The more proof you have, the better your claim will be supported. When seeking compensation after a car accident, we recommend maintaining careful records of all:
- Medical bills
- Missed days of work
- Auto repair bills
- Out-of-pocket expenses
You should also keep a record of every time that you speak with someone from the insurance company. Note down the date, time, who you spoke with, and what you discussed.
5. Speak With an Experienced Attorney
The insurance company will do everything in its power to pay you the lowest amount it can get away with. An accident lawyer won’t let that happen.
At Peterson Law Office, we have built our legal careers on the premise of standing up for the rights of accident and injury victims. Insurance companies are rarely—if ever—forthright about the compensation that people are really entitled to. We work to carefully and accurately calculate the total worth of a claim, and then we push for full and fair compensation on behalf of those we represent.
Life After a Lexington Car Accident
So how do you move forward after a serious or life-altering car wreck? You need money to address your accident-related losses—and we’re the law firm that will fight for what you are owed.
For help dealing with a Lexington insurance company after a car accident or to learn more about your right to compensation, contact our law office by phone or our convenient online form. We’ll schedule you for a completely free consultation at a time that works best for you.