Five Things You Need to Know After a Car Wreck
by Mandy Hicks
By Kyle Roby, Partner
If you follow ELPO Law on social media (facebook.com/ELPOLaw; @ELPOLaw) or subscribe to our ELPO eNewsletter (click here to subscribe), you are familiar with articles with tips on how to protect your family with car insurance or what happens if you are involved in an accident involving an Uber driver. For most people who are involved in a car wreck, however, it is either their first accident or they have no idea on what happens next. Here are five things that you need to know after being involved in a car wreck:
- Your insurance will pay the first $10,000.00 in medical expenses. Kentucky is known as a no-fault state, which means the first $10,000.00 of medical expenses, lost wages and other damages that fall under the Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) statute will be paid by your insurance. PIP can be confusing and complicated, but these benefits are explained in a previous blog post: Courts Rule PIP Payments Must Be Made By Insurers. Don’t worry, your insurance company should recover the monies they have paid from the at-fault driver’s insurance company through intra-company arbitration.
- Police reports do not determine fault. Many times, police reports are used by one side to argue that the other party was at-fault. However, most police reports are based on what the parties said and what the officer can observe from the scene. Police reports will list human factors such as inattention or disregarding a traffic control device as contributing factors or contributing causes of a wreck. Unfortunately, police officers have limited information when they draft these reports. I have litigated several cases where the police report listed my client as the cause of the wreck. However, after pulling surveillance videos, downloading Engine Control Modules (ECM), and reconstructing accidents with the assistance of experts such as accident reconstructions, we were able to demonstrate to the officer who drafted the report that the other party was the actual cause of the wreck.
- You have at least two years from the date of the wreck to file a lawsuit. In Kentucky, there is a time limit to file a lawsuit. This time limitation is called statute of limitations. You have two years from the date of the wreck or the date the last PIP payment was made to file a lawsuit from your car wreck, whichever occurs later. For example, if your wreck was August 1, 2020 and the last PIP payment was made on December 31, 2020, you have until December 30, 2022 to file a lawsuit.
- More drivers are uninsured or underinsured than you might think. Kentucky requires all drivers to carry insurance. All too often, I have clients who were hit by someone who didn’t have insurance or their insurance wasn’t enough. Countrywide, about one in eight drivers on the road were uninsured according to a news report from the Insurance Research Council (“IRC”). Moreover, the minimum limits for liability coverage in Kentucky is $25,000.00. If you are wanting to know if you have enough coverage for your family, talk with your insurance agent about what coverage you have and ask them about our prior blog: Car Insurance: Is My Family Really Protected?
- Collision Coverage is not full coverage. There are two types of coverage for property damage to your car: Collision Coverage and Comprehensive Coverage. Collision Coverage typically covers damage to your vehicle in the event of a “covered accident” involving a collision with another vehicle. However, what if I swerved to miss the vehicle and there was no contact and I wrecked my car in the process? Some insurance companies would not consider this a “covered accident” because there was no contact. Comprehensive coverage provides a safety net for damage to your vehicle that would not be a “covered accident” or other things such as theft, vandalism or other events that are not collision related.
When to call an attorney:
Following an accident, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. If you or another party’s insurance company approaches you and asks you to sign paperwork, you should not do so without consulting with an attorney. You want to be sure that all of your expenses are covered, and an experienced attorney can help ensure that you receive all of the compensation that you deserve. Contact me, attorney Kyle Roby, at (270) 781-6500 or firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help you. I provide a free consultation, and there are no fees unless you win. I am available to travel to you as needed.