Below are some of the car accident, injury claims that I handled over the years. Hopefully, each example demonstrates how the value of the personal injury claim can be severely affected by one or two facts AND contrary to the popular misconceptions, pursuing a personal injury claim is not something everyone has the knowledge to do.
- Advantage of UIM Coverage – Client returned to my office for a second car wreck. Because she followed my legal advice previously and purchased underinsured motorist coverage, we recovered an additional $40,000, over and above what the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier offered us.
- Motorcyclist was badly injured –The at-fault driver was only insured for $25,000. We had to search multiple motorcycle insurance policies as the family had several motorcycles insured with different companies. Ultimately, we found some underinsured motorist coverage that would apply.
- Motorcyclist had over $100,000 in medical expenses. – We were able to use her health insurance to cover her medical bills and then, we paid the health insurance subrogation claim from the personal injury settlement. The advantage was that the health insurance carrier’s lien was only about 25% of the total medical expenses. In other words, less money had to come out of my client’s personal injury settlement to satisfy her medical bills, related to her motorcycle accident.
- Hit by a Drunk Driver – Client was hit by a drunk driver, but she did not have her car properly insured at the time of the car wreck. Nevertheless, because the other driver was drunk, we were able to recover about four times what the case was actually worth.
- Client was told by big television advertising lawyer that she did not have a personal injury claim worth pursuing because she was uninsured. Wrong! We recovered $30,000 for that client. The lack of insurance, per Kentucky law, meant that she could not recover the first $10,000 of her medical bills and lost wages. However, her personal injury claim was worth a substantial amount anyway. In other words, the big law firm gave her bad legal advice and walked away from a significant attorney’s fee because they did not look at all the angles for recovering on the personal injury claim
- Last Minute Lawsuit – Client came to me just shy of two years after the date of the car wreck. The Kentucky Statute of Limitations for a car accident is two years from the date of the car wreck. This means the lawsuit must be filed with the proper Court or the claim is barred (as if it never existed). We were able to get a medical bill paid by my client’s car insurance, the no-fault carrier, and this payment, per the Kentucky statutes, extended the Statute of Limitations thereby giving us additional time to resolve her personal injury claim without litigation.
- Importance of Seeking Medical Care – A couple was injured in a car wreck. We recovered a much higher amount on the wife’s claim than the husband’s claim. The difference being that the wife went to the Emergency Room by E.M.S. from the accident scene. The husband, unfortunately, decided not to go to the hospital for his injuries.
- Maximizing the Available Coverages – Client’s medical bills far exceeded the applicable insurance coverage on the at-fault driver. We were able to reserve the no-fault coverage and allow the client’s health insurance to pay her medical bills. We then addressed the health insurance’s lien. The health insurance reduced these charges, per the contract they have with the medical providers, to an amount that was less than the $10,000 in no-fault coverage. We were able to get the health insurance lien paid under my client’s no-fault benefits rather than having the amount of that lien deducted from my client’s personal injury settlement. This maximization is often extremely important in car accident cases.
- Totaling a Car – I was fired from a case because the insurance company wanted to total out the client’s car and the client wanted me to force them to repair the vehicle instead. Per Kentucky statutes, the insurance company must total out a vehicle if the repair costs are 75% or more of the fair market value of the car.
- Motorcycle PIP Coverage – For a motorcycle wreck, the client has significant scarring. We hired a plastic surgeon to give us his analysis as to the future surgeries, and medical costs, to correct this scarring. Since, Kentucky statutes prevent a motorcycle rider from recovering the first $10,000 in medical bills unless they purchased optional no-fault coverage, the future medical bills, listed by the plastic surgeon, will help us minimize that $10,000 penalty specific to motorcycle riders under the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act.
- Uber Collision – We had one of our first cases involving Uber and a Kentucky car wreck. Uber provided no-fault benefits to my client, who was a passenger in their car, and after the medical bills were paid, we proceeded to make a pain and suffering claim against the at-fault driver.
- Fighting Denied Coverage – Because of some new case law, we were able to recover money, including past due interest, for medical bills that were previously denied on a closed case. Even though the case was a closed case, we were able to forward the client some additional money from this recovery and get the remaining medical bills paid in full.
- Out of State Wreck – There seems to be an influx of cases wherein my clients reside in Kentucky but they were injured in car wrecks in another state. In most of these car accident cases, I hired co-counsel to assist with the litigation in the state where the car wreck happened, while I was able to concentrate on obtaining my clients’ no-fault benefits, collecting their medical records and getting them the treatment they need from Kentucky doctors and hospitals.
- Loss of use claim – Client went to another attorney first and then I took on the case. The at-fault insurance carrier did not accept liability for the car wreck until 120 days after the wreck. They argued that they only owed 30 days for loss of use of my client’s vehicle. I pointed out to them that the loss of use statute allows for recovery for a “reasonable” loss of use. You can’t argue that the 120 days to decide liability was reasonable under the Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act and then try to argue it was not reasonable under the Kentucky loss of use statute. We recovered three months on the loss of use claim and my Firm did not charge an attorney’s fee off of that recovery.
The benefit of my legal experience is that I’ve worked with hundreds of clients involved in car accidents. I have worked directly with them. They have not worked with case managers or paralegals. I use my experience, limited to injury claims stemming from motorcycle and car accidents, to look for additional ways to benefit each client. Knowledge is power. The best way to get knowledge is to gain experience handling a wide variety of automobile accidents. When you handle the case personally, you learn much more that if a case manager or paralegal were to handle it for you. There’s an old saying that’s very relevant to my career as a Louisville personal injury attorney, “I learn something new every day.”