Matthew Minner | June 21, 2021 | Car Accident
In most cases, you cannot sue for a car accident unless you sustained injuries and damages. In Kentucky, personal injury laws are designed to compensate individuals for losses and damages caused by negligence or wrongdoing. If an accident does not result in damages or injuries, there is nothing for the accident victim to claim in a lawsuit.
However, most car accidents result in some type of injury. Even a minor injury can result in several thousands of dollars in doctors’ bills and lost time from work. Kentucky has a loose threshold for suing an at-fault driver under its no-fault insurance laws; you could have a claim against the other driver with as little as $1,000 in medical expenses.
Required Insurance for Kentucky Drivers
Kentucky is a choice no-fault insurance state. That means that drivers may “opt out” of the no-fault insurance coverage.
However, drivers must purchase minimum liability insurance coverage in the following amounts:
- $25,000 for claims of bodily injury to one person
- $50,000 per accident for claims of bodily injury to two or more people
- $25,000 for damages to property
You may purchase higher coverage amounts to protect yourself if you ever cause a car accident. A vehicle owner or driver who fails to have the required car insurance coverage can receive fines and spend up to 90 days in jail. The state will also revoke the vehicle registration for failure to maintain mandatory insurance coverage.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance in the amount of $10,000 is included in car insurance policies. However, you can waive no-fault insurance coverage by signing the required form.
If you have PIP insurance in Kentucky, this policy will pay for your loss of income and medical expenses after a car wreck, regardless of who caused the accident. However, PIP insurance does not compensate you for pain and suffering damages. Moreover, you cannot sue the other driver for damages unless you meet certain thresholds.
If you have no-fault insurance, you cannot sue the at-fault driver unless:
- You have $1,000 or more in medical expenses
- You sustained a broken bone because of the car crash
- Your car accident injuries resulted in permanent impairment or disfigurement
- The car wreck resulted in the death of a family member (wrongful death claim)
The thresholds for suing another driver are very low. Visiting the emergency room after a traffic accident usually results in more than $1,000 in medical bills. Also, if you waive PIP coverage, you do not need to meet any of the above thresholds to sue for a car accident.
What Happens When I Sue For a Car Accident?
If the other driver was responsible for causing the car crash, you could file an insurance claim seeking compensation for damages. The other driver’s insurance company will review and investigate the claim.
If the company accepts liability, you could receive compensation for your:
- Medical expenses and bills
- Loss of income and benefits
- Decrease in future earning potential
- Disabilities, permanent impairments, and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering from physical injuries, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life or decrease in your quality of life
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the car accident and your injuries
The value of your car accident claim depends on the facts of your case, including your financial damages and the severity of your injury.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
The insurance company may dispute liability for the accident. It might allege that you caused the crash or were at least partly responsible for it. In that case, you might need to sue the at-fault driver.
You will initiate your lawsuit against the other driver, but the insurance company will generally hire an attorney to defend the lawsuit. Your lawyer and the attorney for the insurance company will exchange evidence and information. They will also attempt to negotiate a settlement of the lawsuit before the matter goes to trial.
If the parties do not settle, the case goes before a jury. Each party presents their evidence, and the jury decides the case. The jury may decide in favor of the defendant, in which case you lose and receive no money for your claim. The jury may decide in your favor and award you an amount for damages.
It is best to explore all options for recovering compensation with an experienced car accident lawyer before proceeding with a lawsuit after a car accident.
Your Time to Sue After a Car Accident in Kentucky Is Limited
Keep in mind that Kentucky’s statute of limitations limits your time to file a lawsuit. In most cases, you have just one year after a motor vehicle accident to file a lawsuit.
The deadline is very short, especially in cases involving serious injuries that might require months of recovery. Contacting a lawyer to discuss your car accident case as soon as possible is generally in your best interest.