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Dos and Don’ts After an Injury

Wilson & McQueen, PLLC May 30, 2024

Suffering an injury can often be a life-altering event, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, confused, and uncertain about the next steps. Whether you've been in a car accident, experienced a slip and fall, or suffered any other type of injury, knowing the right actions to take—and those to avoid—can significantly impact both your recovery and any potential legal claims.  

With more than 90 years of combined experience advocating for injured and disabled people, our team at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC is dedicated to helping you understand the do's and don'ts after an injury to help you protect your rights and maintain your personal and legal well-being. 

What You Should Do After an Injury 

After suffering an injury, it's essential to prioritize your health and well-being. Here are some crucial things you should do in the days and weeks following an injury. 

  • Seek medical attention immediately: Your health should be your top priority. Even if you don't feel immediate pain or think your injuries are minor, it’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms right away but could worsen over time. Prompt medical evaluation ensures that you receive the necessary treatment and creates a record of your injuries, which can be essential for any legal claims.

  • Call the relevant authorities: If your injury occurred as a result of an accident, such as a car accident or slip and fall, call the police or relevant authorities to document the incident. This documentation can be crucial in any legal proceedings or in cases where it's challenging to determine liability. 

  • Thoroughly document the incident: While the details are fresh in your mind, write down everything you can remember about the events leading up to the injury and what happened afterward. Include the date, time, and location of the incident, descriptions of your injuries and how they occurred, the names and contact information of witnesses, a copy of the official police report, and any conversations you had at the scene.

  • Consult with a personal injury attorney: Consider hiring an attorney who has successfully represented clients in similar claims. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through the claims process, provide knowledgeable counsel, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.

  • Keep track of your medical treatments and expenses: Maintain a calendar with all your doctor’s appointments and visits to other healthcare providers, such as physical therapists. Obtain copies of all your medical bills, even if your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage paid for them. These records are crucial for demonstrating the extent of your injuries and the associated costs. 

  • Maintain an impact journal: Keep a journal documenting how the accident and your injuries are affecting your daily life. This can include your physical health, emotional and mental well-being, financial status, personal relationships, and employment. Regular entries can provide compelling evidence when pursuing compensation.  

What You Should NOT Do After an Injury 

While it's essential to know what you should do after an injury, it's equally important to understand the things you shouldn't do. Here are some common mistakes that can negatively impact your recovery and potential legal claims. 

  • Don't ignore your injuries: Even if your injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to seek medical care and document them properly. Follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan meticulously, even if you exhaust your PIP coverage and lack health insurance. Failing to do so can result in delayed or inadequate treatment, leading to complications and prolonged recovery time.

  • Don’t leave the scene of the accident too early: If you can, remain at the scene until emergency personnel arrive and you have exchanged information with the other parties involved. Leaving the scene prematurely could result in accusations of fleeing the scene and complicate your legal situation. If you don't know whether you can go, ask the law enforcement officers at the scene. 

  • Don't admit fault for the accident that caused your injury: Avoid making any statements that could be interpreted as admitting fault for the accident. These statements could potentially be used against you and limit or negate the compensation you could receive for your injury. 

  • Don’t speak with the negligent party’s insurance adjuster: Before speaking with any insurance adjusters, speak with your personal injury attorney. Adjusters may try to record your statements and ask questions designed to make you divulge additional information or accept blame. Instead, let your attorney handle communication with the adjuster. 

  • Don’t discuss the accident with anyone except your lawyer: Limit discussions about the accident to your personal injury attorney. This includes friends, family, and social media. You only have strict confidentiality protections with your lawyer. Until your claim is settled, avoid posting any information about the accident, your injuries, or your personal injury claim on social media.

  • Don’t accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company: Insurance companies often offer low initial settlements, hoping you will accept before understanding the full extent of your injuries. Consult your personal injury attorney before agreeing to anything. An experienced personal injury attorney will make sure you receive fair compensation, that reflects the true value of your claim. 

Legal Considerations in Kentucky 

If you've suffered an injury in Kentucky, it's essential to understand the state’s legal considerations and limitations. Here are some key points to keep in mind. 

Statute of Limitations 

In Kentucky, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is typically one year from the date of the accident or injury. Car accident claims against negligent drivers extend to two years. If you do not file a claim within these time frames, you may lose your right to pursue compensation. 

Comparative Fault 

Kentucky follows a "pure comparative fault" rule, meaning that if you are found partially at fault for the accident or injury, you may still be able to recover compensation. However, the amount you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident and receive a $10,000 settlement, your compensation will be reduced by $2,000. 

No-Fault Insurance 

Kentucky is a no-fault state for car accidents, meaning that each driver’s insurance policy covers their own injuries and damages regardless of who's at fault. Although this can limit your ability to file a personal injury claim against the other driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for severe injuries or expenses that exceed your PIP coverage. 

Liability for Dog Injuries 

Kentucky imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their dogs, regardless of the dog's history. This law makes sure victims receive compensation without needing to prove the dog has or had dangerous tendencies. 

Damage Caps for Personal Injuries 

While there is no cap for damages in personal injury cases under Kentucky law, claims against the state are limited to $250,000 for single claims and $400,000 for all claims from a single act of negligence. 

Seek Experienced Legal Counsel 

The steps you take immediately following an injury can profoundly impact your recovery and any legal claims you might pursue. By understanding what you should and shouldn't do following an injury, you'll be better positioned to protect your rights and secure the compensation you deserve.  

At Wilson & McQueen, PLLC, we are dedicated to providing personalized, results-driven legal representation to injury victims in Lexington, Kentucky, and the surrounding areas, including London, Georgetown, Richmond, and Nicholasville. If you've recently experienced an injury and need legal advice, contact us today for a consultation.