You don’t need a Kentucky personal injury attorney to file a claim. Still, complex laws and a limited statute of limitations are prohibitive. Insurance companies might negate your claim. Having an attorney in your corner may help you navigate the confusing web of the claim process.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Kentucky
It makes perfect sense to file a personal injury claim on your own in some situations. Even without experience in the legal field, you can confidently represent yourself. If the designation of fault is clear, your case might be simple and easy to navigate.
With severe injuries or where the fault is not apparent, it might be better to seek a legal representative to assist you. Questions that may help you determine if you need a personal injury attorney:
- How badly am I hurt?
- Is fault obvious?
- Do I have witnesses?
If your injuries are minor and there are witnesses, it may be simple to represent yourself.
Take These Steps After an Accident or Injury
Whether you self-file or decide to retain an attorney, the steps you take immediately after an accident or injury can be crucial. Some tips to make your claim more solid:
- Take pictures of everything. This includes the scene, the damage to property, your injuries, and anything that might serve as potential evidence.
- Obtain a notarized copy of the police report. There might be a delay in the availability of the final report.
- Seek medical assistance for any injuries you have.
- Obtain copies of bills and expenses regarding your injuries and property damage.
- Do not talk to a representative from the plaintiff’s insurance agency.
You will also need a basic understanding of the statute of limitations in Kentucky and other statutes that may limit your compensation. Once you have organized your evidence, it is time to begin your demand letter.
What Is a Demand Letter?
When representing yourself, the demand letter is a necessary step. A demand letter should detail the following information:
- The severity of your injuries
- Medical costs
- The medical outcome of your treatment
- Financial losses resulting from your injuries
- Pain and suffering
A demand letter is a demand for compensation. You must ensure that your letter includes essential elements to successfully pursue your case without an attorney.
Composing Your Demand Letter
In the first paragraph, include information about the accident and all parties involved. If there is a police report, include the case number. The second part states all the damages suffered due to the accident. Do not be overly detailed, but be complete. Include the damages to your vehicle, your injuries, and list expenses that directly resulted from the accident.
End the letter with the amount of compensation you are demanding. Be sure to include a date that you expect a response or a notice of receipt. It may take a while to receive a settlement for your injuries. If your accident was complicated, it might benefit you to pursue a personal injury attorney to assist you with your claim.
Includes copies of your documentation with your demand letter (never send originals). Sending your letter via certified or first class mail with tracking acts as a documented receipt.
Resources for Filing Your Claim
The personal injury laws in Kentucky can be confusing. There are many law libraries within the state where you can access information about the process and laws about personal injury. The librarian can be a wealth of knowledge, so don’t hesitate to ask questions.
- Eastern Kentucky University: George T. Ross Law Library
- Jefferson County Public Law Library
- Kentucky Court of Justice: State Law Library
- Northern Kentucky University: Chase Law Library
- University of Kentucky: Law Library
- University of Louisville: Louis D. Brandeis School of Law Library
There are also online search engine resources available through Westlaw and LexisNexis.
Understanding the Kentucky Statute of Limitations
In Kentucky, the statute of limitations is very restrictive. If you are recovering from extensive injuries, it may benefit you to retain a personal injury attorney who can work on your claim while healing.
One year is the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Kentucky under Ky. Rev. Stat. § 413.140, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. In auto accident cases, you have two years to file your lawsuit under Ky. Rev. Stat. § 304.39-230(6). Property damage claims range from two to five years under Ky. Rev. Stat § 413.120.
What Are Damage Caps?
Damage caps limit the amount of compensation a claimant may receive from a lawsuit. In Kentucky, there are no damage caps on personal injury cases.
Damages are placed into two categories. The first concerns money spent or owed, such as medical bills, lost wages and earning capacity, and property damage. The category concerns things like pain and suffering, anxiety, disfigurement, and emotional distress.
How Long Will My Personal Injury Claim Take?
It is very difficult to set a timeline on a personal injury claim. In some cases, you may receive a settlement within several months. It can take longer, though. Once you have submitted your demand letter, it is up to the defendant to verify your claim and make restitution.
Is a Claim Quicker With an Attorney?
Unfortunately, no. The defendant will likely take the same amount of time to respond with payment. The benefit of having an attorney is that you won’t need to worry about follow-up calls and letters. Your attorney will handle communications and negotiation with the defendant or their representative.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?
In some cases, with complex injuries and multiple defendants, it can be beneficial to have a personal injury attorney. Only you can determine whether hiring one is important in your situation.
You do not legally need to retain one to take action after an accident. You can represent yourself. However, you might find that you do not have enough time to devote to your case or that legal jargon confuses you too much.
Benefits of Having a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
Among the many benefits of having a personal injury attorney, the most significant is stress-free healing from your injuries while someone else does the legwork for you. Establishing a legal case can be time-consuming. Knowing that your Kentucky case is moving forward can be a tremendous emotional boost when trying to heal from injuries.
Our Team Can Serve as Your Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
Ben Crump Law, PLLC, is familiar with personal injury laws in Kentucky. We will fight for compensation with a track record while you recuperate from your injuries. Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC, at (800) 730-1331 for a free consultation.