If involved in an automobile accident in Kentucky, here are a few things to consider in minor collisions. These suggestions and issues are not applicable in all situations, including major collisions involving serious injury or death.
Moving your vehicle once the accident has occurred, prior to the police arriving, is not recommended, even if you are impeding the flow of traffic. The reason for such is if you desire to have a police report taken related to the accident, the road and weather conditions, and assessment of fault, the police will likely not take one if the vehicles have been moved. If the vehicles have been moved prior to the police arriving, the police will likely only issue you and the other driver a civil report to fill out. Stories may differ after an accident, and it may be beneficial later to have a police report to substantiate your version of the events. Usually, if traffic is impeded, the police will arrive, take a look at the position of the vehicles, and then instruct the drivers to move the vehicles to allow for traffic to continue as normal. This will allow the police to be in a position to thoroughly complete a report.
CALL THE POLICE TO THE SCENE
If involved in an auto accident in Kentucky, one thing to consider is whether or not to have a police report taken. Many times when people are involved in minor auto accidents, one party will suggest that the parties just exchange information (including insurance information) and go on their ways. Either suggesting that they will work with their insurance companies to resolve the damages, or suggesting that they skip reporting the matters to their insurance companies and just pay for the damages out of their own pockets. This may not be a safe way to handle the situation and protect your interests. The reason being is that the other party:
(i) may not have current and up to date coverage, and thus be uncollectable from. If the police take a report, and the other driver fails to have insurance or gives the police false information, such will be documents and be beneficial to you later when trying to resolve the matter with that driver or your own insurance company.
(ii) may change their story about what really occurred, the extent of the injuries involved, or the extent of the damage involved. If the other party is going to lie, its better that they are forced to attempt to do it immediately and to the police (lying to a police office, who is taking an official report, can be a crime). Additionally if stories are going to vary about what occurred, its better to have a police office take a report and potentially be a witness later to substantiate what he or she witnessed at the time of arriving upon the scene of the accident.
TAKE PHOTOS OF THE SCENE
Today, most all of us carry a cell phone, which usually has a camera on it. Take photos of the scene of the accident, the extent of the damage (including the damaged areas of the vehicles and undamaged areas), the surrounding area around the scene (intersections, vehicle positions, road conditions, and weather), and the other driver and passengers of the other vehicle. The reasons for these photos, is that if stories about what happened later change, you have documented proof of what the scene looked like, what damage occurred, and who was there (possible what condition they were in).
IF AN INJURY IS SUSPECTED SEEK TREATMENT
Many times after a minor accident, drivers and passengers are in minor shock or have excessive adrenaline flowing. Such conditions can conceal the extent of an injuries suffered. Soreness and pain later can become much worse once the shock or adrenaline wears off. Additionally some drivers may recognize the pain and soreness, but believe that it will go away with a day or two of rest and some Tylenol. This is the wrong mindset to be in. If you are hurting or sore, even just a little, you should seek medical treatment. Our health is too important to take chances with and therefore you should seek medical treatment from your doctor, an immediate care facility, or the hospital ER if you even suspect an injury. Some serious injury may be lurking and you don’t even know it. Additionally, for those individuals who have pre-existing injuries, they may be worsened and the symptoms haven’t shown just yet. For instance you have hit your head and have a head bleed, but are only experiencing a minor headache, or you have torn your rotator cuff, but are only experiencing soreness, stiffness, and minor pain in your shoulder. Seek medical attention to make sure you are all right. Auto accidents are blunt trauma to the body, even minor collisions. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
CONTACT AN ATTORNEY TO KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
In most auto accidents in Kentucky, the insurance companies have trained professionals who job it is to protect the interests and money of the insurance company. They will call you and try to take statements from you about the accident. They are not doing this for your benefit, instead they are doing it for their company’s benefit. Insurance adjusters are working from the time they are notified about an accident to protect the legal interests and money of their company. It’s important that you too have a trained professional looking out for your interests. If you have been involved in an auto accident, contact an attorney to discuss what happened, what your rights are, and what you should expect from the situation. If you are contacted by the insurance company before you have had a chance to speak with your lawyer about the accident, just tell the insurance company that you want to speak with your lawyer first, and after that you or your lawyer will speak with them.
For more information on the legal rights of persons who are involved in Kentucky automobile accidents, injured in motor vehicle wrecks, or are killed in crashes, contact Kentucky personal injury attorney Brent T. Ackerson, by emailing Brent (by clicking here) or calling Brent directly at (502) 882-5176.