Frequently Asked Questions
Whenever a serious injury occurs because of another person’s reckless or negligent actions, it can leave injury victims with a wide range of questions about their legal rights and options. For this reason, the Lexington legal team at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC has compiled the following list of frequently asked questions from injury victims, along with their relevant answers. We hope this information can answer some of the questions you have right now, and can help you feel more informed about your current situation. If your question isn’t here, or if you would like to discuss your case directly with a qualified attorney, please contact us today at 859-788-7600.
What questions should I ask a lawyer before hiring them?
If you are in need of legal representation, there are many factors to consider before hiring an attorney to represent you. The following questions might help you find the lawyer best suited for your case:
- How many cases like mine have you argued? Have you won them?
- What will you charge me? Will you still charge me if we lose?
- How can I get in touch with you during the case? Are you too busy?
- What can you do about enforcement if the defendant refuses to pay me?
These questions can give you a better idea of an attorney’s ability to represent you. In many cases, asking broad questions can lead to more specific questions pertaining to your legal situation.
Can I sue for more compensation?
Even if you do not receive the amount of compensation you want after your case, you will not be able to sue the same person for the same issue in order to receive additional compensation. It is important to establish how much money you want to pursue in the beginning stages of the litigation process. Your attorney can help you with estimating the total cost you are eligible to pursue, which should be based on damages sustained, or bills associated with your case.
How long will it take to get my compensation?
If you win your case, the time it takes to receive compensation can vary individually; there is no set time limit. Depending on how long your case takes, it could be weeks, months, even years before you receive compensation. Generally, though, after you win your case, you should be able to collect your payment within a few months, if it’s a lump sum payment. On the other hand, the payments may be paid in installments over a period of time. An attorney can help you better understand compensation awards for personal injury claims.
How long will my case last?
It is difficult to know exactly how long a particular personal injury case will last. This is because every personal injury case is different, and numerous factors can result in expedition or delay. Delays are caused by many factors which, among many other issues, can include the collection of evidence and claim disputes. Your legal representative can most likely give you the best estimate of your case’s particular time frame.
What exactly is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a broad legal term that refers to any action, or inaction, by a medical practitioner that leads to negative side effects in a patient. A practitioner might be a nurse, doctor, surgeon, pharmacist, hospital, or other related medical entity. The results of medical malpractice are wide-ranging, but they are often physically and financially traumatic for the victims involved. Medical malpractice attorneys pursue damage compensation on behalf of victims who have faced serious consequences because of a practitioner’s carelessness.
Is my child’s school injury covered by personal injury law?
Personal injury law is meant to apply to any person who has been victimized by the negligent or unsafe actions of another person. If your child was injured at school and another person is to blame for the injury, then you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim. For example, if a teacher failed to supervise children at play, and one of the children sustained an injury as a result of this lack of supervision, the family of the injured child may have grounds to file a personal injury claim. Additionally, if the school policies provide insufficient safety measures, the school could face legal action. Before taking action, it’s important to talk with a legal representative about your options.
If I am partially at fault for causing an accident, can I still recover damages for my injuries?
Injury victims whose damages occurred because of another person’s negligent or reckless actions are entitled to seek compensation for their injuries, but in situations in which the victim was partially at fault, the picture can be more complicated. Nevertheless, under Kentucky law, those who have been the victims of an accident caused by someone else, even if they were also partially at fault, can still recover compensation, though the amount they may be awarded will be lowered in relation to their degree of fault for the accident.
What are the different types of product liability?
Consumers may file a product liability claim for a number of different reasons, but in general, product liability claims can be sorted into three main categories. These categories are design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Design defects involve problems with a product’s design, making it inherently dangerous to consumers. Manufacturing defects involve problems in the production process that render an otherwise safe product dangerous. Marketing defects involve a failure on the part of manufacturers or marketers to warn consumers of known safety issues.
Who is entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim?
When a person is killed because of recklessness or negligence on the part of others, it is often possible for the deceased’s loved ones to take legal action in order to recover compensation for the tragic loss they have suffered. However, not everyone is entitled by law to pursue a claim for wrongful death. In Kentucky, a wrongful death claim may be brought only by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. A qualified legal professional can help determine whether you may qualify.
How can an attorney help me if I have been injured?
When a person suffers a serious injury, they may have to deal with a wide range of costs such as medical expenses and lost income, costs that they may not be able to afford. For this reason, the law allows those who have been injured by someone else, whether because of simple carelessness or conscious intent, to seek compensation for their resulting losses. An attorney experienced in personal injury law can help a victim understand the full range of legal options that are available to them, and can help them bring a strong case against the party responsible for their pain and suffering.
I was injured in an automobile accident. How can I get my medical expenses paid?
After a car accident, it is not uncommon for victims to have to cope with costly medical expenses to treat their injuries. Many people assume that the individual responsible for causing the accident, through their insurance company, will be the one responsible for paying the victim’s expenses. However, under Kentucky law, injury victims are actually required to rely, at least initially, on the No-Fault coverage for their vehicle which they are typically required to carry. If you have questions about filing an application for No-Fault benefits, or any other questions regarding securing compensation after an automobile accident, the legal team at Wilson & McQueen, PLLC would be happy to help.
What about my lost wages?
No-fault insurance coverage covers lost wages as well as medical expenses for car accident victims. Lost wages are compensated through these insurance policies at a rate of 85% of actual income losses, with a maximum total weekly benefit of $200. Generally speaking, these benefits are not subject to tax liability, though it is best to discuss any tax-related concerns you have with an accountant or other tax professional. It should also be noted that, under Kentucky law, those who suffer a work-related automotive accident are eligible to draw both workers’ compensation and No Fault benefits at the same time, though workers’ compensation benefits are intended to be the primary means of compensation. At Wilson & McQueen, PLLC, we can help you better understand the full legal rights and options that are available to you after an automobile accident, so contact us today with any questions you may have.
What other losses will No Fault compensate me for?
No-fault insurance coverage generally provides compensation for economic losses only. For most accident victims, this will usually mean the costs of their medical expenses and lost wages. However, no-fault coverage may also provide compensation for what is known as replacement service loss. Therefore, if an accident victim is required to hire a maid on a limited basis to do routine housework that the individual otherwise would have done on their own, the cost of that service may be reimbursable through the injury victim’s no-fault coverage. In cases in which an individual is killed in a car accident, their no-fault coverage may be used to help family members pay for funeral costs, with a maximum of $1000 in benefits under most no-fault coverage plans, as well as other financial losses.
What can I do about my medical expenses and lost wages after my no-fault coverage has been exhausted?
The $10,000 limit on coverage that most basic no-fault plans provide can quickly become exhausted after an individual has suffered serious injuries in a car accident. Injury victims do have the right to direct their no-fault provider, in writing, to direct their payments to a specific allocation between medical and lost wage benefits, which can lengthen the amount of time lost wage benefits may be drawn. Once an individual’s no-fault coverage has been exhausted for medical expenses, the injured party’s insurer is typically expected to assume coverage of medical costs. If you don’t have insurance, you may be able to qualify for Kentucky Medicaid. Otherwise, you are responsible for the costs of your medical treatment at this point. Similarly, unless you are covered by a disability insurance plan, once your no-fault coverage benefits run out, there is no additional fund in place to help accident victims substitute lost wages.
Since my insurance company has paid all my medical costs and lost wages through my no-fault coverage, what can I recover from the driver who caused the accident?
In order to be able to recover any amount of compensation from the person responsible for the accident, a car accident victim must first satisfy at least one of the threshold requirements for an accident claim. These requirements include incurring medical expenses in excess of $1000, a fracture to a bone, loss of a body member, a showing of permanent injury, permanent loss of bodily function or death, or permanent disfigurement. If at least one of these threshold requirements is met, injury victims can pursue compensation for all losses not covered by their no-fault plan. This may include non-economic losses, such as physical and emotional pain and suffering; future losses, such as future medical expenses or permanent loss of earning ability; and, in some cases, the injured party’s spouse can pursue a claim for loss of consortium or damage to the marital relationship.
How long do I have to file the suit against the responsible driver?
Under Kentucky’s no-fault law, a lawsuit for injuries arising from the use, operation, or maintenance of an automobile must be filed within two years of injury or death, or within two years of the last payment of a no-fault insurance benefit, whichever occurs later. However, a spousal claim for loss of consortium must be brought within one year of the accident’s occurrence.
I have experienced terrible complications from recent medical treatment. Should I sue my doctor or hospital?
In this type of situation, it may be possible for a person who suffers injuries as a result of a doctor or medical professional’s errors to pursue an action for medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that these types of actions are often extraordinarily difficult and complicated to litigate. Between finding an expert witness to testify on your behalf, deposing witnesses for the other side, and other issues, it can take as much as $100,000 just to bring the case to trial, and for victims with minor or moderate injuries, the cost may simply not be feasible in comparison to the potential compensation they could receive. Nevertheless, if you have been the victim of medical negligence, you are welcome to contact us today to discuss the details of your case and let us help evaluate whether legal action may be the right course of action for you to take.
I was injured as a result of a slip and fall accident at the local department store. They are responsible for my injuries, right?
Not necessarily. As in all personal injury cases, it is the burden of the plaintiff to show that their injuries occurred because of negligence on the part of the defendant. Just because you may have suffered injuries on another person or business’s property does not mean that they are necessarily liable for your damages. However, businesses are expected to exercise a reasonable amount of care in maintaining their premises so that they do not pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of customers, and in many cases, slip-and-fall accidents are the result of negligence that may render a store liable for damages.
Another thing to consider is that many property owners carry insurance policies that are somewhat similar to the no-fault coverage that comes into play in car accidents. If you have suffered a minor injury on another property owner’s premises but believe litigation may be too costly, you may still be able to receive some compensation through their medical expense payments insurance coverage.
What rights do I have if I was injured by a defective product?
Those who suffer injuries as a result of the use of a defective or dangerous product may be entitled to seek compensation for their injuries. Manufacturers have a responsibility to provide customers with reasonably safe products, and when they fail in this regard, they may be held liable for the costs of customers’ injuries through product liability claims.
Product liability claims generally arise over allegations of manufacturing or design defects. Design defect claims are both more common and more difficult to prove, as they typically require the assistance of an expert witness to show that the design was fundamentally flawed. Nevertheless, if you have suffered injuries caused by a defective product, you should consult with a qualified attorney to determine whether a product liability lawsuit may be in your interests.
Should I get an attorney? If so, when?
If you have been injured because of another person’s negligence or recklessness, you should seek the assistance of an attorney as soon as possible. By retaining counsel early on, you can help to ensure that the groundwork is set for possible future litigation. This is important not only because of the strict statute of limitations on most injury cases, but also to help ensure that important evidence, such as witness testimony and medical documentation, is retained and can be used for your benefit later on.
How long do I have to file a suit on cases other than automobile accidents?
Under Kentucky law, most non-automobile injury cases carry a one-year statute of limitations. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. In medical negligence cases and other cases involving professional negligence, injury victims are considered to have either one year after their injury occurred or one year after they reasonably should have discovered that they had been wronged or injured in order to pursue compensation for their damages. This can significantly lengthen the amount of time available in which to pursue a claim. If you have any questions about the statute of limitations for your case, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Is a trucker or trucking company responsible for my accident?
It depends on the circumstances of your accident. In many cases, individual 18-wheeler truck drivers are to blame for careless or dangerous driving that leads to an accident. However, at other times, the problem lies with the company. For instance, if a company didn’t hire qualified people, didn’t train drivers, didn’t maintain its vehicles, or required drivers to work too many hours, then the company may be at fault. Your attorney can help you determine who is to blame for your accident.
Should I just pay for my costs myself if I can?
Some people are fortunate enough to be able to take on the costs of their medical expenses and other financial obligations after they are injured by another person. However, personal injury law exists so that you do not have to do this. If another person has endangered you, injured you, or cost you money because of his or her unsafe actions, then you can hold that person financially responsible.
When is a property owner responsible for injuries and costs?
Premises liability indicates that a property owner assumes responsibility for the safety of his or her property. So in circumstances in which a person is injured, and it is found to have been on unsafe property, then the property owner could be held accountable for the injuries and costs incurred by the victim. Because premises liability can be widely applied, it’s best to talk with an attorney about your options.