Who Pays Compensation For Kentucky Auto Accidents?
You can trust our law firm to help you through the claims process
The total cost of an auto accident can be staggering. Between medical bills, lost income, repairs to your vehicle and many other expenses, you may be struggling under a massive financial weight as you try to rebuild your life.
When someone else causes your crash, you shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes. But even when you didn't do anything wrong, getting the compensation you deserve can be difficult, especially in a state like Kentucky that has a complicated insurance system.
That's why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. That's why you need The Whaley Law Firm. Attorney Aaron Whaley and his tough, legal team have extensive experience helping people injured in auto accidents move forward. Here's what you need to know about the claims process.
Kentucky uses a "choice no-fault" car insurance system
Kentucky is one of three states nationwide - the other two being Pennsylvania and New Jersey - that allows motorists to choose between "fault" and "no-fault" insurance options. All insurance carriers in Kentucky offer personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays up to $10,000 per person, per accident for injury-related expenses regardless of fault for the accident. You may choose to pay for additional coverage.
However, holding this no-fault coverage means you cannot sue to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering or other injury-related costs from the at-fault driver, unless one of the following exceptions applies:
- Your medical costs exceed $1,000.
- You sustained a broken bone.
- You have a permanent injury or disfigurement.
The personal representative of the estate of a person killed in a fatal auto accident can also sue for damages.
Alternatively, you can choose to reject the limitations on your right to sue by completing a no-fault rejection form and submitting it to the Department of Insurance. If you reject those limitations, you will not receive your no-fault PIP benefits, but you are entitled to seek compensation from the at-fault driver after being injured in any accident.
Note that the choice no-fault system only applies to injury-related expenses. You can seek compensation for property damage, including damage to your vehicle, on a fault basis regardless of whether you have chosen to accept or reject your no-fault coverage.
Filing a first-party claim with your own insurance company
If you have chosen to accept your no-fault coverage, your first step after an accident is to file a claim for your PIP benefits with your own insurance company. Your no-fault benefits should cover all your expenses related to the accident, including medical expenses and wage loss, up to the policy limit. However, PIP coverage will not provide you with compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
If you carry collision coverage - an optional type of insurance in Kentucky - you can also file a claim with your insurance company to repair damage to your vehicle, or replace your vehicle if it is deemed a total loss. You may or may not be responsible for a deductible.
If you file a claim with your own insurance company and later pursue additional compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company, you may be responsible for reimbursing your insurance carrier if there is overlap between the compensation.
For instance, if your no-fault benefits pay for $10,000 in medical expenses and then you recover $25,000 for medical bills from the at-fault driver, $10,000 of your recovery may go to your insurance company. This is called "subrogation," and in some cases, it can reduce the amount of compensation you actually receive.
That's one reason why it's so important to contact our law firm and retain an experienced attorney. We understand the subrogation process and can sometimes negotiate with your insurance company to help you keep more of the compensation you deserve.
Pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver
If you've opted out of the no-fault system, or if you have injuries exceeding the threshold under Kentucky law, you are free to take legal action against the at-fault driver. An injury lawsuit can help you recover compensation for nearly any loss that can be directly linked to the accident, including:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Pain and suffering
- Modifications to your home or vehicle
- Lost earning potential
- Emotional distress
In addition, you can seek compensation for damage to your vehicle or other personal property on a fault basis regardless of whether you've opted out of no-fault insurance. But actually recovering that compensation can be challenging.
If you haven't opted out of your no-fault benefits, an insurance company may dispute whether your injuries are serious enough to cross the legal threshold and enable you to sue. And in any case, they may dispute the extent of your injuries or argue that you were actually at fault for your accident. That's why it's critical to have an experienced attorney fighting for all of the compensation you need.
What if the other driver doesn't have insurance, or doesn't have enough?
Kentucky requires all motorists to carry liability insurance, but not all motorists follow the law. And even if the motorist responsible for your accident does have liability coverage, it may not be enough. The minimum liability coverage in Kentucky is 25/50/10 insurance:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to a single person
- $50,000 total for bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 for property damage
Many accidents cause injuries in excess of those figures. If the other driver doesn't have insurance, or doesn't have enough, and you have uninsured or underinsured motorist protection (UM or UIM), you can file a claim with your own insurance company. These types of coverage will stand in for the other motorist's liability coverage and provide you with compensation for your injuries, up to the policy limit.
UM and UIM insurance coverage is not required in Kentucky, but we do recommend carrying them - especially if you've opted out of your no-fault benefits. Otherwise, your only option may be to seek to compensation from the at-fault driver's personal assets, which is very challenging - and often impossible, as most uninsured motorists don't have significant assets.
Protect your rights with an experienced attorney
If you've been injured in an accident, you'll need full and fair compensation to rebuild your life. That's why it's so important to get a free consultation with an experienced lawyer. We can break down your legal options and help you identify the best course of action to get the compensation you need. Call 866-703-7575 and find out how we can help you.