When you should hire an attorney following a car accident

Though not every car accident will necessitate legal representation, you should know the situations that will demand it.

Every year, thousands of people across the state of Ohio and Kentucky are involved in car accidents. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, in 2015, there were 75,109 car wrecks that resulted in injury, and 1,029 that led to a fatality. From the Kentucky Transportation Center 2015 Traffic Collision Report, 23, 803 were involved in a nonfatal injury, and 694 were fatal. There were also incidents that resulted in only property damage, which can still be a serious issue.

It is important to understand someone's rights under Ohio or Kentucky law, especially when an accident results in losses of any kind. Under the following circumstances, an attorney should be consulted:

When significant damages occur

As the Ohio Department of Insurance points out, a driver who is at fault for an accident will be held financially responsible for damages. This is because Ohio uses the tort system to resolve car accidents, whereas Kentucky offers a "choice no-fault" car insurance system.

If there has been an accident involving serious injury, death or significant property damage, it is wise to contact an attorney. An insurance policy may fall far short of covering the expenses associated with the victim's losses, especially if the driver responsible for the incident was underinsured.

Further, a seasoned attorney will know how to assess the damages someone has suffered. For example, someone who has experienced a severe injury may have medical bills for years to come, may miss wages due to time off work and may experience emotional suffering as a result. Each of these can and should constitute compensation.

When liability is disputed

Insurance companies operate to turn a profit, which is why they often try to dispute a policyholder's liability for an accident. The provider can try to assert that the person filing the claim does not have enough evidence to prove that the policyholder did it, or they simply refuse to believe that their client was responsible.

In either case, it may be necessary to hire an attorney to battle the insurance company. Lawyers who work in personal injury know how to deal with providers under these circumstances. They can help victims or their families compile the necessary evidence and make a claim for compensation.

When underpayment occurs

Lastly, insurance companies may try to shortchange someone who has been involved in an accident. They can either refuse to pay for damages or offer a settlement that seems unfair. Again, an attorney will know what the claimant is entitled to and how to secure it.

It may be necessary to file a lawsuit in each of these situations. Under Ohio law, a plaintiff has two years from the date of the incident to file a claim. Under Kentucky law, a plaintiff has one year to file personal injury lawsuit or two years to file property damage after a car accident. That is why it is imperative to contact an attorney at the Gregory S. Young Co., LPA, as soon as possible to get the process started.