My name is Jim Desmond, and I have been practicing law since 1993. I am an experienced personal injury attorney that has done everything from defend insurance companies and recover money for health plans to handling only car wreck cases. I started my own legal practice in 2005 that concentrates solely on car wrecks and motorcycle accidents.
Unlike the television lawyers, I don’t have a catchy nickname. Rather, since 2005 I have pushed one simple concept which is you can reach me on my cell phone so you can get immediate legal advice from an experienced professional. I don’t believe in second hand information so I don’t use paralegals, case managers and secretaries. If you have a legal problem, you need to hear what your lawyer advises you to do personally!
I have represented family members and friends so, I get it! Car wrecks are never planned for and they result in injuries and property damage that you were not expecting. No one expects to be involved in a car crash they leave their house; and now you are dealing with medical expenses and time off from work that you did not plan for. As a personal injury lawyer that focuses on automobile accidents, I deal with these issues every day. Unfortunately, I think the law regarding personal injury claims is pretty much stacked against the victims. So even if you choose another lawyer to talk to, remember this! Talk to a lawyer that concentrates his or her practice on the area of car wrecks. It can be a lucrative area so a lot of attorneys will dabble in it and handle the occasional case. However, you want a legal professional that is handling these kinds of claims daily and that is accessible for your questions.
I enjoy trying to level the playing field in an area of the law that is stacked against the average motorist. So if you want immediate legal advice, call me on my cell phone (502) 609-7657 or toll free at 855-REACHMYCELL. However, let me also provide you with some more tips, listed below, to assist you in recovering from a car wreck.
THE FIRST STEP AFTER A CAR WRECK: GO TO A HOSPITAL OR YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR!
The first and most important thing is to get checked out by a hospital or a family doctor. No one is saying you have to make a personal injury claim. However, the most important thing when dealing with a car wreck is to know the extent of your injuries and only a licensed medical professional can answer that question. Let me explain why this is so important.
First, if you decide to make a personal injury claim, the injury claim lives and dies on the information contained in your medical records. If you don’t go to a doctor for 30 days after a car wreck, it looks like you were not hurting for the past 30 days. In Kentucky, you generally need $1,000 in medical expenses to make a personal injury and the insurance company for the vehicle you were riding in, is responsible for the first $10,000 of your medical expenses. This is what we mean when we call Kentucky a no-fault state. It means that the vehicle you are riding in, or the vehicle that hits you if you are a pedestrian, is the no-fault carrier, a.k.a. personal injury protection, and has to pay the first $10,000 of your medical bills and lost wages. See this state brochure on the subject, http://insurance.ky.gov/documents/nofaultbrochure051310.pdf or the no-fault section on this page of the website, http://www.attorneydesmond.com/resource-library/accident-guide/
Second, even if you don’t want to make a personal injury claim, you want to know the extent of your injuries. Chances are sooner or later the other guy’s insurance company will approach you about settling your personal injury claim for a small amount. When you settle a personal injury claim, you sign a personal injury release. The essence of that release is that no matter how severe your injuries are or when they are discovered, your personal injury claim is over and done with. You effectively have made a contract with the insurance company wherein you have signed away your personal injury for a small amount and they, the insurance company for the at-fault driver, have been relieved of all future liability for the injuries you sustained in the car wreck. In other words, make sure you understand everything you can about your injuries, including the length of treatment, before you sign a personal injury release. I did a previous blog that talked about some of the risks of signing a personal injury release, http://www.attorneydesmond.com/settle-personal-injury-claim-immediately-car-wreck/.
Further,, the forces involved in a car accident are quite strong, and your body can be lurched forward and backward, or from side to side. This is especially true if a tractor trailer or commercial truck was involved, or if you were on a motorcycle. You may think its only bumps and bruises, but a few weeks from now you’ll be hurting in back, neck and torso in ways you can’t imagine today.
The Statute of Limitations for a car wreck in Indiana or Kentucky.
Lastly, every personal injury case has what is known as a Statute of Limitations. The Statute of Limitations means that your personal injury claim must be filed with the proper Court of Law before it expires or the injury claim is barred. It is absolute and it does not matter how severe your injuries are. In Kentucky and Indiana, for a motor vehicle accident, it is two years from the date of the car wreck. The Kentucky statute is KRS 304.39-230. And yes, in Kentucky, the Statute of Limitations for a car wreck can be extended under the right circumstances. However, I don’t discuss this with my clients as this needs to be our last resort, instead of a primary, plan. Why? Because if we blow the Statute of Limitations, the personal injury claim is barred like it never existed no matter how serious of a claim it might be. If a lawyer blows a Statute of Limitations, it is legal malpractice and typically one year from the date of the legal malpractice that claim must be filed with the proper court. In Indiana, the Statute of Limitations is two years from the date of the car wreck and it can not be extended. The Indiana Statute of Limitations is found at Ind. Code Ann. Sec. 34-11-2-4 and this link contains the Statute of Limitations for most other states, http://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/time-limits-to-bring-a-case-the-statute-of-limitations.html.
My point being you have time to evaluate the injuries you suffered in this car wreck. Do not let an insurance company rush you to hasty decision that you may regret later on.
Everything involving a personal injury claim from a car wreck is your choice. A personal injury attorney can advise you but, ultimately it is your decision if you want to make a claim against your friend, seek medical treatment or use your own car insurance. However, the decisions you make in regard to these issues, increase or decrease the likelihood we can successfully prosecute your personal injury claim.
Very simply, when people really hurt, they seek medical advice from a hospital, their family doctor or a chiropractor. Therefore, if there are not medical records documenting your injuries, it looks like you were not hurting. Please do not misunderstand me. I am NOT one of those lawyers who will tell you that you have to treat with certain doctors or that you should seek treatment if you don’t need it. However, I do want you to get checked out, by a licensed medical professional, and this medical visit alone, will buy us some time to evaluate the length and nature of your injuries. In other words, when my clients are hurting, I want them to be seen by a medical professional at least every two to three weeks. Why? Because if they go longer than that, it looks like that were not hurting and this is why they did not seek medical treatment.
This is also why it is so important to contact the Desmond Law Office to understand your rights and protect your interests. Every injury claim is different. This is why I offer a free phone call to my cell phone,(502) 609-7657 or toll-free at (855-REACHMYCELL), so you can make smart, informed legal decisions immediately following a car wreck.
Recently, I enlisted the help of a nurse to write some blogs on the injuries you may sustain in a car accident. I would encourage to click on this link,http://www.attorneydesmond.com/head-injury-from-a-car-wreck/ or visit the blog section of my website. Also, most of my blogs can be found on my Facebook page as well, https://www.facebook.com/DesmondLawOfiice/posts/1695019447199096?notif_t=like¬if_id=1505008759787689.
The power of an impact transfers into your body. In most accidents, the injuries that result can be everything from damage to tendons and ligaments in your back and neck to injured, damaged or herniated discs. Your head moved a lot more during the accident than you may remember, and many people suffer a concussion or more severe head trauma. Injuries to the head and brain may take months to be evident to you and those around you. Changes in your personality show up over time, and tasks that used to be easy for you may later become unmanageable. In some cases a simple trip to the grocery store or multi-tasking at work results in confusion or anger.
Broken bones, fractures and more serious wounds will require extensive medical care, and ultimately physical and occupational therapy. Significant head trauma can result in Traumatic Brain Injury often called TBI or closed-head injuries. Who will pay the medical bills? Who will reimburse you for all the work you’ll have to miss? The insurance company of the person(s) responsible for your car accident will try to offer you a quick settlement. In many cases they may try to hand you a check. It is in your best interest not to accept it or sign anything. Call me on my cell phone for a free consultation at 502-609-7657.
Heavy impacts in a car crash can cause severe injuries resulting in permanent injuries. This can include a loss in the range of motion of the hands, arms or legs, and in some cases amputation of digits or part of an arm or leg. Damage to the spinal cord can result in paralysis. The result of the car accident will require changes in daily life, as well as to the house and vehicles. Some injury victims may require ramps into their homes, modifications to doors and equipment to help them through the day. You may require changes to your car to help you drive, or a complex system to help load and unload a wheelchair.
It may not be possible for a person to go back to the work they were doing before. These cases will require a “Life Care Plan.” The Life Care Plan takes into account all of the medical needs of the patient for the foreseeable future as well as any other costs, expense or economic impact relating to the injuries received in the accident. The plan takes many factors into account such as detailed documentation of the medical care, equipment, therapy and services need for the rest of the patient’s life. The plan will include an analysis of the impact of the car accident on the patient’s ability to work and earn an income, and account for wages they would have received into the future if the accident had not occurred. After all of the factors are analyzed and costs are established we must take other issues such as future interest rates and the cost of living increases in the future and factor that into one number. This is the amount the insurance company will need to pay today to cover these things for the rest of the patient’s life.
How do I maximize my personal injury settlement?
The worst you are injured, the higher value your personal injury claim has. However, this is only true if you can prove the other driver was clearly at fault in causing the car wreck AND there is enough automobile insurance to satisfy the value of your claim. http://www.attorneydesmond.com/resource-library/uninsured-motorist-underinsured-motorist-insurance-umuim/
A claim for pain and suffering is all about documentation, primarily through medical records. Personal injury claims live and die on the content of their medical records. Your medical records are going to be scrutinized by insurance adjusters, defense lawyers, jurors and doctors hired by the insurance company.
Nevertheless, there are several steps you can take to maximize any personal injury claim and especially those dealing with automobile accidents. First, take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to your vehicle and your cuts and bruises. A picture is worth a thousand words. Second, seek medical treatment within the first three or four days, or sooner, after the accident. I am not suggesting you got a doctor if you are not in fact hurt. I am, however, telling you not to minimize your injuries or think that the pain will go without medical treatment. Get it checked out by a licensed, medical professional. Choose a family doctor or chiropractor that you trust. Make sure that doctor is familiar to you and is interested in your health rather than the car wreck. If a doctor or facility promises you incentives to come to their office, do not use them! Insurance companies know which doctors and chiropractors partake in these kind of practices; as a result, they tend to give less credibility to your complaints of pain and the diagnosis of the doctor.
Lastly, act like the accident was your fault and do what you would normally do to take care of yourself. Just make sure that you seek medical treatment wherein your complaints are documented and effectively relieved through ongoing treatment.
When you sign a personal injury release and accept a settlement from the insurance company, your pain and suffering claim is finished. You effectively entered into a contract wherein you agreed to let the insurance company off the hook and whatever may develop tomorrow in regard to your injuries, you alone will be responsible for. This is why we never rush a personal injury claim. Your claim consists of multiple items including your past and future medical expenses, your lost wages and any permanent impairment you may have suffered as a result of the car wreck. Consequently, unless it is a case wherein the insurance coverage is inadequate to satisfy all of these damages, you want to make sure that evidence is presented to the insurance carrier proving all of these elements; thereby increasing the value of your personal injury claim. When you sign a release a few days after a car wreck, you walk away from all these elements and the possibility that they may increase over time.
The insurance companies in injury cases only make one payment. You can’t go back afterward and say “I didn’t know (this) was going to happen, or (that cost) would come up.” Releases are “FULL and FINAL” contracts eliminating your personal injury claim. Make sure you are completely healed from the car wreck before you sign any such document.
This is why it is so important to contact me or call me on my cell phone at 502-609-7657.
You have friends telling you to contact their attorney, insurance companies telling you don’t need a lawyer and twenty injury attorneys on television promising you checks.