A pile-up wreck which involved two semi-trucks and a large tow truck left two Kentucky State Police troopers hurt and one man dead.
The troopers were investigating an earlier accident on Interstate 65 near Exit 58 in Hart County. As officials worked to clear the wreck, the tow truck collided with an oncoming Volvo, which was driven by a 23-year-old man from Richmond. It’s unclear whether the Richmond man slowed down property.
The Richmond man died at the scene, and the two injured officers were transported to local hospitals.
Building a Car Wreck Claim
Victim/plaintiffs have the burden of proof in Kentucky negligence claims. They must establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. A combination of the victim’s testimony, medical bills, and the police accident report usually provide the evidence necessary.
However, these sources are not always reliable or even available. The victim’s testimony is a good example. Everyone knows that victims are only telling one side of the story. But rather than disregard their testimony, jurors usually just take it with a grain of salt.
There could be other problems. Some victims are not good witnesses. They get very emotional, especially during cross-examinations, and emotion overrules reason. Furthermore, if the victim died or sustained a catastrophic injury, like a head injury, the victim’s testimony might be unavailable.
Electronic evidence often fills in the gaps. A video camera, such as a security camera or red-light camera, covers most intersections in Lexington. So, this electronic evidence is usually available. Furthermore, most Fayette County courtrooms have large, high-definition television screens. So, a Lexington personal injury attorney can effectively present this evidence. Attorneys often partner with private investigators to locate and secure this evidence.
On a related note, most cameras no longer record grainy, black-and-white footage. Instead, they record sharp images which are easy to see.
Once an attorney gathers sufficient evidence, filing a court case is usually the next step. The evidence must be strong enough to not only establish negligence, but also to withstand some common insurance company defenses, like contributory negligence.
A few cases settle before the victim becomes a victim/plaintiff and files a legal action. If liability is crystal clear, the insurance company has a legal duty to resolve the claim within a few weeks and without going to court. But there are almost always some liability questions.
High-speed highway collisions often involve venue issues. Typically, the victim resided in one county and the accident happened in another county. Legally, an attorney could file an action in either place.
In the above story, the victim lived in Madison County and the wreck occurred in Hart County. These two places are worlds apart in many ways. Madison County is adjacent to Fayette County, so it is almost a Lexington suburb. Hart County is located near the Tennessee border. It’s sparsely populated and it’s one of the only dry counties in the South.
Jurors in larger, urban counties are usually more progressive than jurors in smaller, rural counties. Progressive jurors often, but do not always, side with insurance companies in car crash disputes. So, it might be better to file a claim in Hart County, even though that would be more inconvenient for the victim’s family.
Furthermore, all the physical evidence is in Hart County, since that’s where the wreck happened. This is another reason to file a claim there.
Resolving Negligence Matters
Venue, or the case’s location, affects a claim’s settlement value. In our example, a claim in Hart County might have a higher settlement value than a Madison County claim.
The settlement value is a starting point for settlement negotiations. Determining this value is partly science and partly art. Economic losses, mostly vehicle repair or replacement, lost wages, and medical expenses, are relatively easy to determine. To calculate noneconomic damages, like emotional distress, most attorneys multiply the economic damages by two, three, or four. A number of factors, including the aforementioned venue issues, affect this multiplier.
Most claims go to court, but most claims do not go to trial. Mediation resolves many of them. A third-party mediator, who is typically an unaffiliated Lexington personal injury lawyer, meets with both sides and tries to facilitate a settlement.
In general, out-of-court settlements are better than trials, for both sides. These resolutions reduce costs and waiting time. Furthermore, they give the parties more control over the outcome. A judge does not dictate terms.
During mediation, both sides have a duty to negotiate in good faith. They must compromise and try to reach an agreement. For this reason, mediation is generally successful.
A lot of work goes into a successful car crash claim. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers