As with any accident, the best measures to take are the preventative ones. To make sure their legal rights are protected in the event of an accident, a driver should keep their driver identification, a notepad, writing utensil, and a camera on them whenever operating a vehicle.
Why all this preparation? For starters, let’s…
Deal with the Immediate Problems
Immediately following an accident, the people involved should first assess the health and safety of themselves and everyone involved in the accident. The drivers should contact the police, exchange contact and insurance information, and move their vehicles away from traffic if they can. Following that, the drivers can begin protecting their legal rights by documenting everything they can about the scene. Contact the police and take notes about the accident scene, including which vehicles were involved and any variables that might have come into play (road work, pedestrian involvement, traffic situations, etc.). The drivers should also take photographs of any injuries or damages due to the accident.
These actions should be taken as steps to ensure legal protection during any subsequent investigations of the accident. The notes and photographs will help ensure the parties at fault assume responsibility for the accident and help the victims by providing accurate records that can be used in law enforcement and health/vehicle insurance investigations.
After an accident, the victim can consider filing a claim against the parties at fault for causing the accident. However, the state of Kentucky follows a “no-fault” system regarding car insurance/accident settlements. That means the driver’s insurance company agrees to pay their claim up to a specified limit. It also means drivers surrender the right to sue or be sued unless the accidents results in $1,000-plus in legal expenses, broken bones, permanent disfigurement and/or injury, and death. However, a driver in Kentucky also has the option of opting out of the no-fault system by working with the Department of Insurance.
Victims also have to keep their action time frame after an accident. Starting at the time of the accident, a victim has one year to file a lawsuit for personal injury and two years for property damage. Failing to take action during these time periods will result in case rejection by the courts. And if legal action remains an option, the drivers should consider car accident lawyers with detailed profiles on their websites.
While Kentucky employs the no-fault system when considering accidents, drivers will find themselves subject to a pure comparative negligence jurisdiction. This means that, should an accident case go to trial, the parties involved have the ability for their respective faults in the accident to be calculated on a percentage basis. For example, if one driver suffers $10,000 in damages but a judge or jury finds that driver to be 90 percent at fault for the accident, the court can move to reduce that driver’s recovery payment by $1,000, or 10 percent of the damages.
Even with these tips, a driver can best protect themselves by practicing safe driving techniques and being alert when behind the wheel. And should an accident occur, the steps taken to prepare can help everyone get through whatever happens next.