CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN SHEPHERDSVILLE, KENTUCKY
Since the enactment of the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act in 1975, Kentucky has become one of a dozen states with no-fault insurance coverage. This means that drivers and their passengers must file suit with the vehicle owner’s insurance company for any personal injury claims, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
Does this also mean that civil actions against the other driver in the accident are excluded? Not necessarily, but there are specific legal challenges that must be addressed.
If you reside in or around Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and you’re considering a lawsuit following a car accident, contact the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. Our experienced attorneys will listen to your story, investigate the details of your case, and help you develop a strong legal strategy that can help you pursue the best possible outcome for your case.
Is Kentucky a Choice No-Fault Insurance State?
Yes. Under Kentucky’s no-fault statute, each vehicle owner must purchase an insurance policy including a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) clause that provides at least $10,000 for medical bills, lost wages, and other "out of pocket" costs resulting from the accident.
This PIP insurance covers everyone in the vehicle at the time of the accident, as well as any pedestrians injured in the accident as well. To be safe, the policyholder can always opt for higher coverage limits if they choose to.
Kentucky is also one of three states with “choice no-fault” provisions, meaning vehicle owners can choose not to purchase PIP coverage. Choosing to opt-out will allow you to immediately sue the other driver for injuries and damages, but at the same time, can make you vulnerable to similar lawsuits from other drivers, should you cause an accident.
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
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.
CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY SERVING SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY
If you reside in Shepherdsville, or nearby in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, or Radcliff, Kentucky, our experienced personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates are ready to provide you with the reliable legal counsel and representation you need. We will provide you with both emotional and legal support as you pursue the justice that you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a case consultation.