Car accidents are expensive, especially if you have severe injuries. The damage to your vehicle, medical expenses, missed time from work, an inability to pay your bills – a serious car crash can empty your bank account in an instant. When someone else’s negligence caused your accident and injuries, you should not be responsible for these expenses.
Motorists in Kentucky must carry auto insurance, as required by law. After an accident, our injury lawyers can help you make sense of the insurance process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and work to ensure you secure a full and fair settlement. When the insurance company refuses to negotiate with you in good faith, our experienced team of litigators will go to trial to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
What are the different types of car insurance coverage?
Here in Kentucky, drivers have a variety of car insurance coverage available. Some of this coverage is required and some is optional. These include:
- Personal injury protection (PIP)
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM)
- Collision (for property damage only)
Each one of these provides a different type for coverage for different circumstances. While our Kentucky car accident lawyers only handle claims involving bodily injury, we can explain more about your specific situation in a personal consultation.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
PIP insurance is mandatory here in Kentucky, and pays for medical bills and lost wages after a car accident, no matter who is responsible for the collision, as we are a no-fault state. You can make a claim on your own policy to cover your expenses, up to policy limits only. Typically this limit is $10,000, but drivers can choose to purchase higher coverage. If your injuries and other costs exceed this amount, you have the right to take action against the at-fault driver to recoup the remainder of your expenses.
Note that PIP coverage is optional for motorcyclists. Drivers can also reject PIP.
Rejection of the limitation on one’s tort rights
Each individual may reject the limitations on his/her tort rights. The rejection must be in writing on a special form and must be filed with the Department of Insurance before it is effective. The rejection will remain in effect until the department is notified in writing of any change KRS 304.39-060.
If all members of a household reject the limitations on their rights to sue and be sued, guest PIP coverage must be included on their insurance policy to provide basic PIP benefits to guest passengers and pedestrians. Liability premiums may be higher due to no-fault rejection, since others will have the same right to sue the rejector for injuries which do not reach the thresholds KRS 304.39-060(8).
If a no-fault rejection form is on file, that individual is not entitled to receive basic PIP benefits. Individuals who have rejected can “buy-back” the basic PIP coverage KRS 304.39-140(5).
If you opt out of PIP, you will have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for compensation. However, per the Kentucky Department of Insurance, you must meet a certain threshold for filing a lawsuit: “The thresholds are $1,000 in medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or death.” You may also have a PIP deductible to reach (usually $1,000) before that benefit kicks in.
Liability insurance covers the losses an at-fault driver causes in a motor vehicle accident, whether to other drivers or bicyclists or pedestrians. This provides compensation for property damage, bodily injury, and expenses in the event of wrongful death. Liability coverage can also provide compensation for pain and suffering.
Per Kentucky law, motorists must carry:
- $25,000 per person of personal injury liability insurance
- $50,000 per accident of personal injury liability insurance
- $25,000 per accident of property damage liability insurance
Again, your injuries and expenses may exceed these limits, especially if you have suffered a catastrophic injury. Before speaking with the insurance company or an insurance adjuster, it is important to consult with your attorney first to negotiate a proper settlement.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) protection
There may be cases where you are involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, or with a driver who has little or no insurance. When the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover your losses, you can turn to the UM/UIM portion of your policy. All Kentucky insurers must offer UM/UIM protection to their policyholders.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance is not mandatory, but it is highly advised for everyone. As of 2019, nearly 14% of drivers in Kentucky were uninsured.
However, even with UM/UIM coverage, you will still need to negotiate with your own insurance company for a fair payout of your claim. This is not always easy, and you may find the insurance company is not always your friend. An experienced attorney can take over these negotiations for you, working to ensure you secure fair and proper compensation for your losses.
This is optional coverage drivers can add to their policy. Note that if you lease your vehicle, or have a loan on it, you may be required to add collision coverage. Collision covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. This includes whether you collide with another vehicle or a fixed object, like a tree or guardrail, and covers you regardless of fault.
Again, you will need to negotiate your compensation with your insurance company, and for the best chance at fair payout, it is best to work with a lawyer who can provide informed guidance for your claim.
How a Kentucky attorney can help after a crash
As you can see, Kentucky drivers have a variety of different insurance coverages available to cover their losses in the event of a car accident. It can be difficult to understand which portion of your policy applies, when your losses exceed policy limits, when you need to take action against the at-fault driver, and how to negotiate with the insurance companies.
The attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers understand all of this and more. We know how to take an aggressive stand against insurance companies when they refuse to pay the coverage you are entitled to for your losses. You should never have to pay out of pocket for expenses incurred for an accident that was not your fault, and we want to help. To talk to a member of our team, call our offices or fill out our contact form today. We serve clients and families in Louisville and Lexington, and throughout the state.