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How the Car Accident Settlement Process Works in Bowling Green, Kentucky

flora doing paperworkIf you were injured in a car accident in Kentucky, you should be entitled to compensation if you were not at fault.

Most cases involving car accidents are settled out of court. Settlement is a faster and more cost-effective resolution than taking a case to trial.

Whether your case is resolved via settlement or goes to trial, you need an experienced car accident attorney to help you fight for the maximum recovery.

At Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer, we are trained in the process of negotiating Kentucky car accident settlements. We have helped thousands of Kentuckians recover damages when they have been injured in a car accident with millions collected for our clients over 44 years.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Kentucky

Car accidents are stressful. It can be difficult to know what to do in the aftermath. In spite of the stress you may be feeling, it is important to act quickly. Gathering evidence from the scene of the accident, including witness statements, may be the key to getting a favorable Kentucky car accident settlement offer. If you were involved in an accident, be sure to:

  • Call 911 and the police;
  • Assess the scene for injuries;
  • Take pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved;
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with other drivers involved;
  • Exchange contact information with all witnesses to the accident;
  • Have your personal injury attorney file a claim with your insurance company and the opposing party;
  • Your attorney should maintain all records and written documents associated with the accident, and;
  • Getting immediate treatment for your injuries is vital in establishing personal injury case.  Our law firm will refer you to reputable physicians, if needed.

Hiring an experienced attorney is the best way to maximize your settlement offer. An attorney has experience negotiating with insurance companies, can help you obtain evidence, and will ensure that your claim is filed on time.

Car Insurance Laws and Requirements in Kentucky

Kentucky has a number of legal requirements relating to car accident injuries that are different from other states. It’s important to understand these laws and how they might affect your claim.

Accident Report Requirement

Pursuant to Kentucky Law, KRS 189.635, if you are involved in a collision involving a fatality, injury, or with damage to a vehicle to the extent it renders that vehicle inoperable, you must immediately notify a law enforcement officer having jurisdiction in the location where the collision occurred.

If you are involved in a collision where there is no fatality or personal injury, and your vehicle is operable, but there is property damage to your vehicle in an amount exceeding $500.00 (five hundred dollars), then you shall file a written report of the accident with the Department of Kentucky State Police within ten days of the occurrence of the collision.

Even if your collision happens in a parking lot, if you suspect you or a passenger are injured, you should immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency so that they can complete a collision report. You can complete the Civilian Traffic Collision Report form and submit it to the state. Once you complete the form, be sure to make a copy for your personal records.

You will not receive a response of any kind following your submission of the report. The state will maintain these records for up to three years so that you can access a copy if necessary. Whether the police file a report or you complete one yourself, it is imperative to report the accident in order to seek compensation.

Comparative Fault

Flora Investigating A Car WreckIn Kentucky, the amount of money an individual can expect to recover depends on their degree of fault. Kentucky’s model is known as pure comparative fault.

A person’s total recovery is reduced according to their percentage of fault. Unlike other jurisdictions, in Kentucky you can still recover damages even if you were more at fault for the accident than the other driver. For example, if you were 90% at fault, you can still recover 10% of your damages.

PIP Benefits

Under the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, every person who suffers injury as a result of a car accident in Kentucky has the right to basic reparation benefits. Under this rule, drivers are required to first seek compensation through insurance before filing a lawsuit.

Insurance companies in the state are required to offer personal injury protection (PIP) benefits with all car insurance policies. PIP benefits provide compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and replacement services. These are “no fault,” benefits, available even to an injured driver who caused the accident. However, you may not have be able to make a PIP claim if:

  • You were on the job when the accident occurred;
  • You rejected PIP coverage; or
  • You own the vehicle and it was not insured.

PIP coverage limits the right to file suit after an accident unless the medical expenses exceed $1,000 or the accident resulted in a broken bone, permanent injury, or death. You can opt out of the PIP benefits system and reject these limitations by filing a special form with the state department of insurance. Think carefully before deciding to do so, however, because opting out opens you up to suit as well.

You can raise your PIP benefits from the  $10,000.00 statutory amount up to $50,000.00 which will give you added protection in the event of a serious accident.  This can often be done with little cost on your policy.

Required Coverage

Automobile insurance is mandatory for drivers in Kentucky. Insurance plans must include the following types of coverage unless waived:

  • Uninsured motorist coverage,
  • Personal injury protection (PIP), minimum $10,000.00 which can be raised,
  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury (minimal),
  • $50,000 per accident for total bodily injury (minimal), and
  • $25,000 for property damage.

Your insurance company may allow you to purchase additional coverage. Contact your insurance company to determine the extent of your coverage.

Kentucky Car Accident Settlement Process

flora with clientsYou must report your car accident to your insurance company.

After you file a claim, your insurance company will open an investigation to determine fault and calculate damages. Possible damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and the costs of vehicle repair or replacement.

The insurance company will then extend a settlement offer. If the company denies your claim or you feel the amount offered is insufficient, you have the right to appeal. Your first appeal is with the insurance company’s claim supervisor. If necessary, you may further challenge the decision by filing a complaint with the department of insurance.

If neither of these avenues provides adequate settlement, you can file a lawsuit if the accident involved more than $1,000 in damages or resulted in injury or death.  If neither of these provide adequate settlement you can file a lawsuit if the accident involved more than $1,000.00 in medical bills, broken bones, or resulted in permanent injury or death.

Your case may resolve by settlement even if you file suit. Settlement negotiations are ongoing throughout the life of a case, with both parties often preferring to settle rather than risk the time and expense of litigation.

Consult a Kentucky Car Accident Lawyer Today

flora templeton stuart with clientIf you were injured in a car accident in Kentucky, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer has been serving the legal needs of Kentucky communities for more than 44 years.

Our team of experienced, compassionate advocates will work with you to develop your case step by step. Our goal is to help you win the maximum settlement, so you can get your life back on track. And remember, we don’t recover our fees unless you do. Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll help you get started.

Author Photo

Flora Templeton Stuart

Flora Templeton Stuart is the lead attorney and founder of the law firm Flora Templeton Stuart Accident Injury Lawyers, established in 1976. She is a nationally recognized personal injury lawyer with over 40 years of experience. Her story has been featured on Fox, The New York Times, ABC, Time, and NBC.