Traffic Crash Victims | Personal Injury Cases

Updated: Apr 30, 2020

Kentucky and Florida Car Accident and Personal Injury Attorney, Maggie Jo Hilliard
If you are injured due to another driver's bad behavior, get a lawyer as soon as possible, and don't talk to insurance companies without your lawyer.

Maggie Jo proudly represents Florida and Kentucky residents in personal injury and wrongful death cases stemming from motor vehicle collisions, trucking accidents, motorcycle and biking crashes and other traffic matters. She assists seriously injured clients and families experiencing metal injuries, physical injuries and deformities and traumatic loss due to another individual's negligence, carelessness or harmful behavior. The goal is to reduce the worry, inconvenience and stress of injured persons at the Law Office of Maggie Jo Hilliard, while seeking just compensation for bereaved and injured people.

Schedule a Free Consultation Call with a licensed attorney to discuss your case at a time of your choice by visiting; or complete an in-depth consultation form at to upload images, bills, photographs and input information for attorney review during your initial consultation. The Law Office of Maggie Jo Hilliard can assist you in determining your case value, weighing the facts and circumstances of your case, evaluating the severity of your injuries and reviewing insurance policies and coverage.

Maggie Jo is an experienced transactions, trial and appellate attorney, licensed in Kentucky & Florida with offices in Louisville, KY & Trinity, FL. Maggie Jo has been first and second-chair trial counsel in state and federal courts since 2006. As a former Assistant State Attorney (Florida 2006) and Assistant Appellate Public Defender (Florida 2013), she has worked on both sides of the courtroom to find justice in criminal courts. Maggie Jo has owned and operated a solo legal practice since 2008 where she represents private clients, individuals, families, businesses and public officials in administrative proceedings, family matters, civil lawsuits, criminal defense and other legal situations in state and federal court venues.

For personal injury clients at the The Law Office of Maggie Jo Hilliard, there are no legal fees or costs unless your case is successfully settled out-of-court, or successfully litigated in a court of law. Contingency fee percentages may vary based on the stage of litigation, legal forum or location of the injury occurrence.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published their estimated car accident statistics in 2017, finding:

  • Someone dies in a car accident every 14 minutes.

  • One person is injured in a vehicle crash every 13 minutes.

  • A property damage crash every seven (7) seconds; and

  • A law-enforcement-reported crash every five (5) seconds. in Kentucky for 20 minutes = $10,000.

If you are involved in a traffic crash or witness a crash, there are laws that apply in the moments after the incident in Kentucky and Florida, such as Quick Clearance Laws and Move Over Laws.

According to Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (or FLDHSMV or HSMV): "...the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) urges all motorists to move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped along the roadway. Preliminarily in 2017, there were 212 crashes and almost 17,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over. FLHSMV and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – The Auto Club Group to ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers and Road Rangers are safe in 2018. “The Move Over Law protects those who work on the side of the roadway each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is imperative that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave professionals so that they can do their job and Arrive Alive... To learn more about FLHSMV and the services offered, visit"

Kentucky has a Quick Clearance Law, K.R.S. 189.580 that requires, if you are in a crash, that you 1) move your vehicles to a shoulder or away from an interstate/parkway if no one is visibly injured, 2) call police and 3) exchange information with the other driver. If you have a disabled vehicle after a Kentucky car accident, law requires that you move the vehicle away from the roadway and stay in the vehicle with your emergency flashers on. Law also requires that you tie white/bright objects to the antenna or window, or raise the hood, in order to show that you need help. If you cannot move a vehicle from the roadway, stand away from the vehicle to stay safe and wait for assistance.

Florida has a very specified Move Over Law requiring multi-lane roadway drivers to vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, Road Ranger or wrecker and always signal the intention to change lanes. Let drivers into your lane if they are merging to vacate the lane closest to the statutory vehicles. (Don't be a jerk.) If a driver cannot move over safely, and must remain in the lane closest the statutory vehicles, that driver must reduce their speed to at least 20 miles-per-hour below the posted speed limit. On a Florida two-Lane roadway, drivers must slow down to a speed of 20 MPH below the posted speed limit and/or travel at 5 mph if the speed limit is 20 miles-per-hour or less.

Kentucky's Move Over Law (KRS 189.930) requires: "When an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road: • Move to the next lane. • Slow down if changing lanes is not possible. • Use caution and watch for workers and/or emergency personnel. • Stay alert and minimize distractions. Emergency vehicles display yellow, red, red and white, red and blue, or blue lights. This includes police, fire, and EMS, as well as construction vehicles, tow trucks and other public safety vehicles. Secondary crashes, which occur as a result of a previous crash, account for 20 percent of all crashes. With vehicles traveling at highway speeds coming to an abrupt stop, not only is safety a concern at the scene, but also traffic back-up."

Kentucky's Highway Safety Department has cited the following statistics in its publications:

  • Traffic incidents cause 25 percent of congestion, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

  • Blocking one lane of a three-lane freeway reduces capacity by almost 50 percent.

  • Five minutes of stopped traffic will cause a 15-minute delay in travel time. Source: Incident Management Response Plan-Hampton Roads Area, Virginia The cost of delays due to highway crashes is more significant than most people realize. Cost figures account for reduced productivity, increased cost of goods and services, and increased fuel consumption.

  • Cost associated with a closure of one lane of a Kentucky interstate 20 minutes = $10,000.

Resources are available in most states by Googling [your state] + "department of highway safety". Below are sample resources and publications provided by the Florida and Kentucky governments' highway safety departments. Many resources are also available online from federal government departments, such as the U.S. Dept. of Transportation and NHTSA (National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration).

According to the CDC, there are about 39,000 motor vehicle traffic deaths per 100,000 people each year (11.9% of annual deaths). Unintentional Accidents are the third leading cause of death in the United States. From 2010 to 2011 the CDC National Center for Health Statistics estimated that there are 3.9 million annual emergency room visits for motor vehicle traffic injuries (129 per 10,000 persons. See also: National Vital Statistics Reports.

NHTSA also publishes data-based infographics to encourage safe and efficient driving nationwide:

In Kentucky and Florida, drivers are required to have insurance, including PIP, or "Personal Injury Protection" to help drivers receive money after a crash regardless of fault. explains PIP and the nuances of various states' laws nationwide for consumers' reference.

Generally, PIP insurance can provide up to $10,000 for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses caused by the accident. However, PIP may not be enough to cover all damages. Drivers with PIP insurance accept limitations in auto policies on their right to sue the other driver. However, if one's injuries meet a certain threshold, they can sue the offending driver without violating any rules. The injury threshold is usually $1000 in total medical expenses, broken bone medical assistance, permanent disfigurement or injury, and death. Thus, if injuries qualify, a client may be legally allowed to sue the insurance company of the driver that hit them after exhausting the "personal injury protection" coverage limits.

If you are injured or experience the loss of a loved one, due to another driver's bad conduct, it is wise to seek the assistance of a licensed attorney to help you collect evidence, identify the defendants, document your injuries, negotiate with insurers, mind the applicable statutes of limitations and, if necessary, take your case to trial.

Most personal injury cases are settled without a trial. You can read more about the advantages of settlement versus going to trial here. The particular facts and circumstances of an accident, injury severity and insurance coverage limits, among other things, impact the "value" of a personal injury case. Damages may include: past and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity loss of consortium and/or pain and suffering. Maggie Jo can assess your medical records, police records, witness statements, and other evidence to establish the progression or regression of your physical and mental state after an accident. Maggie Jo's online forms make it easy to submit documents for attorney review before your free initial consultation call.

Maggie Jo seeks compensation for her clients so they do not have to undertake the financial and time burdens stemming from another's negligence. There are several different types of damages available - economic and non-economic - that may be available (depending on the location of your accident) if your case is successful:

  • Medical Expenses: Injury clients may need medical attention, test, treatments, inpatient or outpatient care on an emergency or ongoing basis, especially if the client suffers serious or permanent injury. Attorneys will seek redress of all medical expenses via settlement or trial.

  • Lost Wages: If an injury caused the victim to miss work for an hour, days or months while tending to their healthcare needs or if a victim can no longer work, Attorneys will seek compensation for lost wages.

  • Pain and Suffering: Depending on the extent of a client's injuries and the suffering they endured, pain and suffering damages may be available. This type of recovery requires a great deal of medical and other types of evidence; thus, attorneys will encourage clients to be proactive about their treatment and communicate physicians in a comprehensive manner. Other evidence can also be helpful, such as photographs and videos of injuries and improvements. Generally, an attorney cannot estimate damages for pain and suffering until your case has been thoroughly examined. A jury may award compensation based n subjective factors, such as credibility of a witness or their likability. Having records and related evidence can help bolster a case for pain and suffering compensation in the presence of these subjective factors.

  • Emotional Distress: An injured person’s mental and emotional state following an accident may give rise to potential payment for "emotional distress" damages. A personal injury case victim may suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), depression, anxiety or other "invisible" injuries. Severe injuries can be internal depending on the nature of an accident. Acquiring recovery for emotional distress damages will typically require a client to have comprehensive and accurate records from therapists, psychologists, or psychiatrists, as well as a diagnoses of specific psychiatric conditions.

  • Wrongful Death: Wrongful death claims arise when an injury victim has passed away, and survivors sue the individual(s) responsible for the decedent's injuries. Survivors may be awarded compensation for the loss of the support, love, affection and income of the deceased. An award of damages for wrongful death can help ease financial burdens associated with a lost loved one. Compensation may include the lost income, open bills, and funeral expenses incurred because of the death. Damages of this kind are designed to compensate for the hard-to-quantify aspects of a wrongful death, like the sudden and unnecessary loss of a spouse or parent. For example, laws generally refer to this as “lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance” for surviving children .

  • Loss of Consortium: If an accident causes a victim to be unable to have a complete and fulfilling spousal or partnership, the victim or their partner/spouse may be compensated for "loss of consortium," or "lost companionship".

  • Punitive Damages: In some states, a tort victim may be injured in a manner to justify the "punishment" of the defendant for injurious actions or egregious behavior. Damages which "make an example of a defendant" are punitive damages, and very different from other (above) forms of compensation (which are designed to make the injured plaintiff "whole again"). Punitive damages are sometimes referred to as ‘exemplary damages’ to denote that the award is meant to be a statement that society (the jury) will not tolerate a defendant's outrageous behavior. Punitive damages punish the defendant, and may also serve as a deterrent (to prevent or dissuade other parties and companies from engaging in similar activity). In order to receive a court award for punitive damages, the defendant's actions must often be "intentional or the result of wanton and willful misconduct". A defendant insurance company that acts in bad faith or a medical professional that commits malpractice may also be subject to punitive damages. However, state laws vary regarding punitive damages awards and awards may be capped at a certain amount. In Kentucky, there are no limits/"caps", and a jury determines punitive/exemplary damages considering the following guidelines: 1) The likelihood that the defendant knew at the time of the accident that their action(s)/inaction(s) would cause ‘serious harm’ to the plaintiff; 2) The degree of the defendant’s awareness of that likelihood; 3) How much the defendant profited from their misconduct; 4) The duration of the misconduct and any concealment of it by the defendant; and 5) Any actions the defendant took to remedy the misconduct once it became known to the defendant. In Florida, there is a a limit on punitive damages. Subject to certain statutory exceptions, an award of punitive damages may not exceed 1) three times the amount of compensatory damages to each claimant entitled to punitive damages; or 2) the sum of $500,000.00 – whichever is higher. But, where the jury finds 1) that the defendant’s wrongful conduct was motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain; and 2) that the unreasonably dangerous nature of the conduct when combined with the high likelihood of injury caused by the conduct was actually known by the managing agent, director, officer, or other person responsible for making policy decisions for the defendant, the jury may award punitive damages not to exceed the greater of 1) four times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to each claimant entitled to punitive damages; or 2) $2,000,000.00. If the jury finds that, at the time of injury, the defendant had a specific intent to harm the plaintiff and the defendant’s conduct did in fact harm the plaintiff, there is no cap on punitive damages in Florida.

In no case may an attorney collect a percentage fee that is forbidden by a state bar association. Maggie Jo is licensed in two states, and will happily advise clients on fees and legal standards that may apply in their individual case. Maggie Jo cannot and will not advise any client regarding any case occurring outside Florida or Kentucky. However, Maggie Jo can provide referral and research assistance in locating a qualified attorney in your area.

Cases may require the assistance of co-counsel or the referral to another lawyer/firm in order to best serve clients' needs. Maggie Jo enjoys working with respected and experienced co-counsel and referral sources to assure clients' best interests are accommodated. When submitting a consultation form for review, potential clients will be asked for consent to discuss the case in a confidential and privileged manner with potential co-counsel or referral sources, if necessary. If you wish to discuss your case with only Maggie Jo, your wishes will be honored.


FLORIDA OFFICE: 2049 Welbilt Boulevard, Trinity, Florida 34655

KENTUCKY OFFICE: 312 South Fourth Street, Suite 700, Louisville, Kentucky 40202

Mail: Post Office Box 8001, Louisville, Kentucky 40257 | Call/Text: 813.540.7171​ | Email: