Hurt? One Time You MIGHT NOT Need a Personal Injury Lawyer:
1) You have a POLICY LIMITS OFFER from the liability insurance company for the at-fault driver, there are NO OTHER APPLICABLE POLICIES (UIM, Home Insurance, UM, Umbrella Insurance, etc.), and you have conducted an ASSET SEARCH on the at-fault driver.
a) Liability Insurance: Be careful! Make certain you have the liability insurance company’s declarations page for the vehicle involved and the driver’s vehicle if not driving their own vehicle. Did you know that both policies may apply?
b) UIM: Under-Insured Motorist coverage is an applicable policy you, your parents, a relative living with you, or the owner of the vehicle you were driving purchases that covers damages from a car accident that are not covered by the liability insurance policy or policies. You will need to read K.R.S. 304.39-320 which codifies the procedure first established in Coots v. Allstate Insurance Company, Ky., 853 S.W. 2d 895 (1993) to understand what you need to do BEFORE you cash the check from, and sign the release for, the liability insurance company or you may lose your UIM claim altogether, regardless of its merit. Did you know that a UIM policy that is purchased for a vehicle not involved in the wreck may apply to your car wreck? This can be the difference between living in pain and being able to afford a necessary surgery.
c) Home Insurance: This will almost never apply to your car accident, unless offered as additional coverage by your home insurance (I have not yet seen this but it’s possible). Home insurance may apply to an ATV injury or for other vehicles not intended to be driven on the roads and highways (unless separate policies have been purchased for these vehicles–not required by law so often not purchased). I have noticed that home insurance claims for these reasons are very often contested by the insurance companies, regardless of the merit of the claim.
d) UM: Uninsured Motorist coverage is purchased by folks in case they are in a bad accident with someone who is driving an uninsured vehicle (illegally). In that instance, your UM policy (which every should purchase).
e) Umbrella Insurance: This is a policy purchased by an at-fault driver, or their parents if under 18, to pay for damages caused to others that are not covered by other insurance policies (a safety net). These policies only become relevant when you have been in a bad accident (often when semi trucks are involved). You must know when to look for this coverage and whether or not it makes sense to file a lawsuit (hot tip: it doesn’t always make fiscal sense to file).
f) Asset Search: If the at-fault driver only has minimum policy limits ($25,000) but your medical bills are over $50,000.00 then you may want to consider whether or not the at-fault driver owns a corvette they could sell to cover the rest of your medical bills. Perhaps they own 50 rental properties in Richmond and they are able to cover your medical expenses that they caused. You won’t know this unless you conduct a quality search of assets that are registered in their name.
It is best to check with a straight-talking personal injury professional who focuses only on Kentucky injury insurance claims. I offer 100% risk-free claim evaluations for those who have been hurt in Kentucky to determine whether or not our representation is a good fit. Good luck and be well!