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Timeline Of A Car Accident Lawsuit In Kentucky

April 22, 2024

If you or somebody you care about has been injured or sustained property damage in a vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you will likely be able to recover compensation for your losses. In some cases, this recovery will come through settlements with an insurance carrier, but it may be necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit with a Lexington car accident attorney against the at-fault driver. Here, we want to review a general timeline for vehicle accident lawsuits, but we want to provide some caution – no two cases are exactly alike, and the time frame for your particular situation may vary.

Timeline of a Kentucky car accident claim

Working With the Insurance Carriers

The first general step after most car accidents is filing an insurance claim. Kentucky is one of a few states that offer both no-fault insurance as well as full tort insurance. Most individuals have no-fault insurance, meaning they will turn to their insurance carrier to recover compensation after an accident. This usually means they can recover compensation for their medical bills and property damage relatively soon after the incident, regardless of who caused the incident.

If individuals have full tort insurance, then they will file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, and the time frame for settling these types of claims could be anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year, depending on several variables. Some of these variables include whether liability for the incident is clear, the types of compensation being requested, how much compensation is being requested, and more.

Be Aware of Insurance Carrier Tactics

Even though most claims do get resolved through insurance carrier settlements, there are various tactics that these carriers will use to either limit how much compensation they pay or deny the claim altogether.

  • Watch out for the first settlement. One of the most common tactics insurance carriers use to limit how much compensation they pay is to offer a settlement fairly soon after the incident occurs. Sometimes, a set of an offer gets made before individuals even have an idea of how much their medical bills will be or even property damage estimates. If an insurance carrier knows that they will have to pay out something, they may try and put together a quick settlement in an effort to convince the victim to settle the claim quickly, thereby ending the claim and preventing any future payouts.
  • Be wary of any casual conversation. Insurance claims adjusters may seem very friendly. They may even try to strike up small talk. However, these are all tactics. Insurance claims adjusters try to get you comfortable so you feel free to just talk. “Just talking” To an insurance claims adjuster is never a good idea. You may not even realize if you say something that could jeopardize your claim, but even a statement as innocuous as “I just went to the grocery store” could be enough to derail or seriously jeopardize your injury claim.
  • Be careful with social media. It can be tempting to post about the injury incident and the recovery process on social media. This is not a good idea. Anything you say about the injury incident and the aftermath could be used against you. This is true even if you post about something that you think is completely unrelated to the injury. For example, if you post a picture of you taking your kids to the beach or your dog to the park, this could hurt your injury claim if you have stated the injuries prevent you from carrying out day-to-day activities.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit

Individuals can file a lawsuit against a negligent driver in a few different ways. Individuals who have no-fault insurance will have a harder time filing a lawsuit unless certain injury or dollar value thresholds are met, but it is certainly possible. Individuals who have full tort insurance can file a civil personal injury lawsuit against another driver at any time. If an individual needs to file a personal injury lawsuit, they must do so within two years from the date the accident occurs or two years from the date a person last received no-fault insurance payments.

The Discovery Process

The first step in a lawsuit is the discovery process, which is when attorneys for both sides will exchange evidence and information related to the case. An investigation may continue at this point, and it may be necessary to obtain depositions under oath from any individuals involved and witnesses who may be called at trial.

Possible Mediation and Settlement

As the case moves forward through the discovery process, a judge may order mediation, which is when both sides will sit down with a neutral third-party mediator to try and resolve the case before a trial becomes necessary. Mediation does not typically happen in a courtroom. The results of the mediation if an agreement is not reached are private and cannot be used inside the courtroom. If a settlement is reached, the case is over, and there will be no need to go forth with a trial.

Going to Trial

If a trial does become necessary, it may not happen until a year or more (often many years) after the accident occurs. The discovery process, mediation, and settlement negotiations can take quite some time. Once the trial does happen, it will usually occur relatively quickly, over a few days. A jury will determine whether or not the at-fault party should be held liable and how much compensation they should pay the car accident victim.

Types of Compensation That May Be Available

There may be various types of compensation available to car accident injury victims in Kentucky. In general, a no-fault insurance claim will help individuals receive compensation for their medical expenses, a portion of their lost wages, and help with other out-of-pocket losses caused by the incident.

However, no-fault insurance may not provide enough compensation for an individual’s losses. In some circumstances, situations where individuals sustain serious injuries, crash victims may be able to go outside of the no-fault insurance system and file a civil personal injury claim against the at-fault party. This could open the door to receiving additional types of compensation, including non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering damages, emotional and psychological distress damages, as well as compensation for any loss of quality of life caused by the incident.

There is no set amount of compensation paid to personal injury victims after a vehicle accident occurs. The overall success of the claim and the final compensation payout will depend on several factors, including the overall injury severity, the level of pain and suffering endured, how long it takes a person to recover, and more.

Reach out to an injury lawyer in Lexington to learn more today!