Matthew Minner | June 30, 2021 | Car Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, the cause of the crash becomes very important. If you did not cause the car accident, you might receive compensation from the at-fault driver for your injuries and damages. However, if you are the driver who caused the collision, you could be financially responsible for damages caused by the wreck.
Liability Car Insurance and Car Accident Claims
Kentucky requires drivers to purchase minimum liability coverage for motor vehicle accidents. You must have a minimum of $25,000 in liability insurance for injury to one person ($50,000 per accident). Drivers must also have a minimum of $25,000 for all property damage. Alternatively, drivers may have a single limit policy of at least $60,000.
When a driver causes an automobile accident, liability insurance compensates the victims for their injuries and damages.
Damages in a car accident may include:
- Medical bills
- Cost of personal care
- Loss of benefits and income
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The value of a personal injury claim depends on the facts of the case. However, your insurance company is only liable for damages up to your policy limits. You can purchase additional insurance coverage thatmight help protect your personal assets if a catastrophic car crash is your fault.
What Happens if the Insurance Company Refuses to Pay a Claim?
Your insurance company may refuse to pay a car accident claim if it believes that you were not responsible for causing the collision. It may also deny a claim if the victim asks for more than the claim is worth. You cannot force your insurance provider to settle the claim.
If the insurance company does not settle the claim with the accident victim, the accident victim may sue you for damages. The victim files a personal injury lawsuit against you seeking compensation for damages. The lawsuit is served on you.
If you receive a lawsuit for a car accident, notify your insurance provider immediately. Your insurance provider will likely hire a lawyer to handle the lawsuit. You are also entitled to seek legal advice from an attorney you choose, but you would be responsible for paying those legal fees.
The attorney handles the lawsuit, including responding to the initial complaint, engaging in discovery, and participating in settlement negotiations. The attorney and insurance company may decide to settle the case before the matter goes to trial. If so, the insurance company pays the victims, and the case is dismissed.
What Happens if My Case Goes to Trial?
Your case could go to trial if your insurance company refuses to settle. If so, you are required to attend the trial, and you may be required to testify. After both sides present their evidence, the jury decides whether you were at fault for the motor vehicle accident. If the jury finds that you were at fault, it will decide how much to award the victim for damages.
The insurance company may pay the award, or it could appeal the award. If the award by the jury is more than the coverage limits for your insurance policy, the insurance company may choose to pay an amount equal to your policy limits. You would then be responsible for the remaining amount owed to the victim.
If the jury rules in the victim’s favor, the result is a personal judgment against you. The accident victim may pursue several legal avenues to collect that money from you.
Defenses to Allegations of Fault
If you are sued for causing a car accident, the attorney hired by the insurance company investigates the cause of the car wreck. There could be one or more defenses to the allegations of fault.
Comparative fault is one defense the attorney may pursue. Comparative fault laws divide liability and damages when multiple people are at fault for an accident.
Kentucky uses pure comparative fault for personal injury cases. A person could be 99 percent to blame for causing a traffic accident and still receive compensation for 1 percent of their damages.
The attorney handling the lawsuit may allege that the victim was partially to blame for causing the collision. If the jury finds the victim is partially responsible, the victim’s damages are decreased by their percentage of fault.
What Should You Do After a Car Accident?
Seek medical treatment immediately. If you were not at fault, you need to document your injuries and damages for a personal injury claim. Next, seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer to understand your legal rights and your options for recovering compensation for your damages.