Final numbers for 2016 are not yet available, but in 2015 more than 161,000 traffic collisions were reported in Kentucky. Approximately two-thirds of these crashes involved collisions between two or more moving vehicles. If you were hurt in this type of accident—or in any crash that was caused by someone else’s negligence—then you need to know how to protect your right to a fair recovery.
Build a Strong Case Begins Before You File a Case in Court
Before you pursue a recovery for your injuries, it is important to know whether you have the legal right to recover damages for those injuries. Specifically, it is important to know:
- What negligence is and how to prove it. Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty of care to someone else, when that duty is breached, when the breach of the duty of care causes injury, and when the person bringing the case has the right to seek damages. Evidence is necessary to prove whether negligence occurred. That evidence could include witness statements, photos, accident reconstruction, and other things.
- Whether you have legal standing to pursue a claim. If you were the one who was hurt, if you are the personal representative of the estate of someone who died in the crash, or if you are the legal guardian of someone who was hurt in the crash, then you likely have standing to bring a claim.
- Whether you have time to pursue a claim. The Kentucky Statute of Limitations is short. In most cases you have just one year to file a car crash lawsuit in Kentucky.
If you believe that someone else’s negligence caused your car crash injuries, then the next step is to talk to an experienced lawyer about protecting your rights by filing a formal complaint in court.
What Happens Once Your Case Is Filed in Court
Your court case officially begins when you file a complaint in a Kentucky court. If you are seeking $5,000 or less in damages, then your complaint should be filed in a Kentucky district court. If you are seeking more than $5,000 in damages, then your complaint should be filed in a Kentucky circuit court. Your complaint must detail the type of claim you are filing, why you are filing, and what damages you are seeking. It is important that the complaint meets all of the court’s requirements.
After the complaint has been filed, the defendant will have the opportunity to file his answer to your complaint. This will provide you with more information about what parts of your case are in dispute.
The next stage of a court case is known as discovery. It is during discovery that you will learn more about your case and continue to gather potential evidence that may be helpful to your case. During discovery, both parties may request interrogatories, depositions, the production of documents, and other forms of potential evidence.
The End of Your Case
Once you begin a car crash claim it can end in different ways, including:
- In a negotiated settlement. The parties may decide to settle their case at any time before a verdict is reached.
- In a motion to the court that resolves the case before trial. Some motions, such as motions for summary judgment or motions to dismiss, attempt to resolve the case before trial.
- By a judge or jury at trial. If necessary, the final stage of a car crash case is to go to trial. A decision will be made and, depending on the outcome, you may be awarded damages. If you went to trial and weren’t satisfied with the outcome then you may be able to appeal the decision in some circumstances.
The evidence that you have to prove your claim of negligence and any evidence of your own negligence, known as comparative negligence, will be relevant in determining the outcome of your case. However, it isn’t just evidence that is important. Persuasive arguments and a thorough knowledge of the law are just as important.
An experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the law, who knows how to gather and present evidence, and who is a skilled persuader can help you with each of these resolutions. If you’ve been hurt in a Kentucky crash then it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible so that you can protect your rights. Our legal team would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation. Please contact us via this website or by phone any time to set up a meeting.