A car accident can be one of the most stressful life events imaginable.
Physical injuries, property damage, and emotional trauma are not uncommon.
To make matters worse, the financial ramifications of a car accident can be severe.
So what do you do if you are involved in a car accident in Kentucky?
How do you recover compensation for your injuries and property damage, and who is responsible?
These are important questions that many Kentucky drivers have after an accident. Flora Templeton Stuart is here to answer these questions and more. Read on for more information about Kentucky no-fault insurance laws and what you can do to recover.
What Does It Mean If I Have an Accident in a No-Fault State?
When you hear “no-fault,” you might think it relates to responsibility for a car accident. However, this is not necessarily the case.
Rather, “no-fault” refers to the type of coverage which your insurance company must offer you if you are automobile insurance is in the state of Kentucky. No-fault coverage is also referred to as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
KRS 304.39-030 is the Kentucky statute that requires insurance companies to offer personal injury protection coverage for injuries sustained in an automobile collision. All insurance companies must offer $10,000 in PIP coverage and one can purchase more coverage for up to $50,000.00, which is very important to have if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.
Is Kentucky a No-Fault State?
Yes, Kentucky is a no-fault state. Thus, it is important to understand how Kentucky no-fault insurance laws impact you.
Under Kentucky no-fault law, drivers of all motor vehicles, with the exception of motorcycles, must carry insurance with basic PIP coverage. Regardless of whether you were at fault in causing the accident, you will have coverage up to the allowable limits. If you were not at fault in the collision the insurance company for the at fault party will repay your company the PIP benefits paid to you under most circumstances.
Basic PIP benefits will pay up to:
- $10,000 for medical expenses;
- Up to $200 per week for lost wages; and
- Replacement services and survivor’s benefits if someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident.
- Funeral expenses in the event of a death up to $1,000
- Costs of care such as housework if you are unable to perform due to your injuries up to $200 per week.
As you can see, PIP coverage can be a great benefit. However, it is also important to note that depending on the extent and severity of your injuries, your minimum basic coverage may not be sufficient to cover your expenses. Thus, it may be prudent to purchase additional PIP coverage.
Additionally, under Kentucky no-fault laws, you may opt out of coverage under the no-fault system. This allows you the option to potentially bring lawsuits against at-fault drivers. However, you would also risk being held liable for accidents that you cause.
In some cases, you may also be able to sue an at-fault driver even if you do not opt out of coverage. However, certain thresholds must be met. To bring a lawsuit, your case must meet one of the following requirements:
- You incurred medical expenses greater than $1,000;
- You suffered a broken bone,
- You suffered disfigurement or a permanent injury, or
- Death resulted.
Without meeting one of these requirements, you cannot bring a lawsuit, nor can another party bring a lawsuit against you.
Is Every Accident Covered by Kentucky No-Fault Law?
No, not all accidents will be covered under Kentucky no-fault law. Certain classes of people are not entitled to coverage under Kentucky no-fault law. Examples where Kentucky no-fault law may not apply include situations where:
- An injury occurs in a vehicle, such as a tractor, that does not fit Kentucky no-fault law’s definition of “motor vehicle”;
- Someone files a rejection of Kentucky no-fault law with the Kentucky Department of Insurance;
- A person is injured in their own car, but they failed to insure that car prior to the accident;
- A person who sustained an injury used the insured vehicle without authorization and without a good-faith belief they were entitled to do so; or
- A particular driver is excluded from the policy under the “named driver exclusion.”
Knowing whether your accident is covered under Kentucky no-fault law is important to help determine how best to move forward. If you have questions about your accident and coverage, contact an experienced attorney today.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Kentucky?
Regardless of who was at fault and whether your accident falls within coverage under Kentucky no-fault rules, it is important to know what to do next.
After an accident on Kentucky roads, make sure to take these important steps.
Step 1: Report Your Accident
Kentucky Law requires that you file a written accident report with the Kentucky State Police within 10 days of your accident if:
- Damages will exceed $500; or
- The accident resulted in the injury or death of any person.
When you contact authorities after your accident, they will respond and create an accident report, which can be a great benefit to your potential case moving forward. Thus, contacting the authorities and reporting your accident should almost always be your first step.
Step 2: Seek Prompt Medical Attention
Another important step to take immediately following your accident is to seek immediate medical attention. Your well-being should be your main priority, and prompt diagnosis and treatment is crucial to your recovery. Failure to diagnose and treat any injuries that may exist can lead to even greater harm, can lengthen your recovery process, and can have an adverse impact on your insurance coverage.
The burden will be on you to prove the injuries you suffered and how those injuries caused your losses. Failure to prove that your injuries exist could lead to denial or underpayment of your claims by your insurer. Thus, it is critical to have your injuries documented and evaluated by professionals.
Step 3: Collect Evidence at the Scene
You should generally try to collect as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. Sometimes, some of the best evidence will be available right at the scene. In fact, some evidence may no longer exist after the scene is cleared.
Examples of evidence you may be able to gather at the scene of the accident include:
- Photos of the accident scene;
- Photos of any physical injuries you or other passengers sustained;
- Contact information of any other individual involved in the car accident; and
- Contact information and statements from any people who may have witnessed your accident.
The more evidence and information you have regarding your accident, the easier it will be to prove your case. While an attorney can help you with most steps throughout the process, they can never go back in time to the scene of the accident. Thus, always try to gather as much information as you can to help with your case moving forward.
Step 4: Contact a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney
One of the most important steps you can take after a Kentucky car accident is to contact a personal injury attorney who concentrates their practice on vehicle collisions and has the experience to handle your claim and maximize the value of your case. Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Law Firm has over forty-three years of experience in personal injury law and can help you file your insurance claim, negotiate with insurers and other parties while fighting for your rights. At our law firm we provide personal representation so when you call us we are not only local, our experienced attorneys will be handling your claim. An experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can help you file your insurance claim, negotiate with insurers and other parties, and fight for your rights.
Contact Flora Templeton Stuart Today
If you have questions about Kentucky no-fault insurance laws and what you may be entitled to recover, don’t wait any longer. Contact the Flora Templeton Stuart Injury Accident Lawyer for a free case evaluation to discuss your case and see how we can help. We have won over 90% of our personal injury cases for our clients, recovering millions of dollars in valuable compensation for injury victims in need. We want to do the same for you.