What Are The Requirements
for a Car Accident Injury Lawsuit?
Kentucky’s no-fault provisions pertain solely to injuries. You’re always free to pursue a vehicle damage claim against the at-fault party after an accident.
However, there are certain requirements that must be met in order to sue the other driver for injuries. These requirements are as follows:
- The accident must have resulted in at least $1,000 in medical bills; and
- The accident must have caused permanent disfigurement; fracture of a weight-bearing bone; a compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone; permanent injury, or any permanent loss of a bodily function.
Kentucky’s Statute of Limitations
and Comparative Fault Provisions
Personal injury claims face a one-year statute of limitations in Kentucky, with the clock beginning from the date of the accident, or in the case of a resulting death, from the date of the death. Vehicular or property damage claims have a two-year window, again beginning from the date of the accident itself.
Kentucky also follows what is known as the “comparative negligence” law. This means that if you are found to liable for the accident in any way, any compensation you are awarded in your injury suit will be reduced by the level of fault that you have in the accident. For example, suppose you do file a claim against the other driver, and your claim goes to court. The jury decides in your “favor” that the other driver was to blame, but specifies that you were 20 percent at fault for the accident. Your award will then be reduced by 20 percent — meaning if you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you will only be eligible to receive $80,000 in actual compensation to account for your own liability in the accident.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Kentucky
Kentucky defines wrongful death as "the death of a person [that] results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another." To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Kentucky, these three elements must all be present:
- The death was caused by another individual’s or entity’s neglect, default, misconduct, or wrongful act.
- The deceased individual had surviving dependents or beneficiaries, such as a spouse or children.
- The surviving family members must have experienced a measurable monetary injury as a result of death.
If a vehicular accident results in the death of a driver or passenger meeting the above requirements and the lawsuit is successful, family and relatives may receive compensation. Damages are generally limited to:
- Lost earning power of the deceased
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering before death
- Medical bills before death
- Reasonable costs of pursuing the claim
Family members and relatives, however, cannot personally sue under Kentucky law. Instead, the personal representative appointed during probate proceedings must pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. After that, proceeds can accrue not only to the decedent’s estate but also to family members and relatives, as specified in descending order under Kentucky’s statute, starting with the surviving spouse and children, then the parents, and then the estate itself.
Work with an Experienced Car Accident
Attorney in Shepherdsville, Kentucky Today
Kentucky law requires that you must first file a claim with the insurance company from which you purchased your PIP coverage if you have been injured in a car accident. If you then meet the requirements for a personal injury lawsuit, you certainly should consider that option, given that the statute of limitations for filing a claim is so short. Even if the lawsuit never makes it to court, filing a claim can often lead to a financial settlement with the insurance company that can allow you to pay for any medical bills, property damage, and other financial losses. Of course, if you opted out of PIP coverage, then legal action is your only recourse, and an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can make all the difference in your case.