What Happens If I’m in an Accident on a Kentucky Bridge?

What Happens If I’m in an Accident on a Kentucky Bridge?Car accidents can cause various problems, including injuries and financial challenges. Accidents on bridges, however, add an extra level of trouble. First, there are special considerations that must be taken when driving on a bridge, as they can be dangerous in the event of an accident. Cars can tumble into the river below or be pushed off the overpass into oncoming traffic. Second, bridges tend to be narrow with no shoulder, leading to accidents.

There are also jurisdictional concerns when a crash occurs on an interstate bridge. For example, Louisville, Kentucky boasts a number of bridges crossing the Ohio River into Indiana, including:

  • Abraham Lincoln (I-65): The Abraham Lincoln Bridge carries Interstate 65 northbound over the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky and New Albany, Indiana.
  • George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge: Known locally as the Second Street Bridge, this historic truss bridge carries Route 31 over the Ohio River into New Albany, Indiana.
  • Sherman Minton (I-64 and US 150): This bridge carries traffic over the Ohio River from Louisville into New Albany, Indiana.
  • Lewis and Clark Bridge: Known locally as the East End Bridge, the Lewis & Clark Bridge crosses the Ohio River northeast of downtown Louisville.

In Northern Kentucky, we also have multiple bridges that connect Kentucky to Ohio – three just from Covington into Cincinnati – including:

Because of its location, Kentucky has a great variety of bridges and overpasses. You should take care when driving over any of these bridges, as they can be dangerous for drivers.

Who is responsible if I’m in an accident on a bridge?

Bridge accidents are handled like other car accidents, with fault assigned based on the specific circumstances of the crash. Determining liability in a car accident on a bridge follows similar principles to accidents that occur on regular roads. Liability typically depends on several factors such as negligence, road conditions, traffic signals, and adherence to traffic laws.

A little history lesson about jurisdiction

Jurisdictional issues can complicate accidents on bridges and leave you with a very important question – what side of the bridge were you on? It’s not always easy to tell exactly which state you were in when the crash occurred.

The boundary between Ohio and Kentucky, for example, has had a murky history. Back in 1966, the State of Ohio filed a lawsuit against the State of Kentucky regarding that boundary. Kentucky had claimed that the river – and all revenue stemming from it – belonged entirely to Kentucky, whereas Ohio said the boundary line established in 1792 (the year Kentucky joined the union) should be the cut-off point.

The case, Ohio v. Kentucky, was argued before the Supreme Court on December 3, 1979 and decided on January 21, 1980. The court ruled that the boundary is the low-water mark on the north side of the Ohio River. The problem, of course, is that rivers change course over time, which means that the low water mark today is not where it was in 1792. So, the precise location of the accident relative to the low-water mark from 1792 will control the jurisdiction of the accident. Luckily, Wilt Injury Lawyers has experienced attorneys licensed in both Ohio and Kentucky who are able to handle claims on both sides of the river.

How can I find out if my car accident happened in Kentucky?

You can find out what side of the bridge your accident happened on from the police report for the incident. This is why it’s important to call law enforcement if you are involved in an accident on any bridge in Kentucky or Ohio. Obtaining a police report is important to help your Kentucky injury lawyer support your claims against a negligent driver.

There are several ways to get your police report in Louisville:

  • Electronically: Accident Report (There is a $10 fee for each report)
  • In-person: You can pick up reports in person at: 701 West Ormsby Avenue, Suite 001, Louisville, KY 40202
  • Call: 502-574-6857

To get a police report in New Albany, Indiana:

  • Electronically: Make an online request through a third-party company called buycrash.com at
  • In-person: You can pick up reports in person at the Police Department, 311 Hauss Square, #131
  • Call: 812-948-5304

What are the special considerations for driving on bridges?

A variety of factors can affect your vehicle’s stability and safety on a bridge. Here are some key considerations:

  • Wind: Bridges are often exposed to stronger wind forces than regular roads, especially those spanning large bodies of water. Crosswinds can affect the stability of your vehicle, particularly if you're driving a high-profile vehicle like a truck or an RV. You should be prepared for sudden gusts of wind and maintain a firm grip on the steering wheel.
  • Surface conditions: Bridge surfaces may be different from regular roads. They can be made of concrete, steel, or other materials, which may have different friction levels and traction characteristics compared to asphalt. Additionally, bridges can become slippery when wet, so exercise caution, especially during rain or snow.
  • Expansion joints: Bridges have expansion joints to accommodate temperature changes and prevent structural damage. These joints can create bumps or uneven surfaces, which may affect vehicle handling. Be prepared for slight jolts or vibrations as you drive over these joints.
  • Narrow lanes: Some bridges may have narrower lanes compared to regular roads. Stay in your lane and avoid drifting, especially if driving a larger vehicle.
  • Height restrictions: Be aware of height restrictions if you're driving a tall vehicle, such as a commercial truck or an RV. Low-clearance bridges can cause serious damage or accidents if your vehicle is too tall to pass safely.
  • Traffic flow: Bridges often have higher traffic volumes, particularly during peak times or in urban areas. Stay aware of surrounding traffic and maintain a safe following distance to avoid collisions.
  • Emergency procedures: Familiarize yourself with emergency procedures specific to bridges, such as what to do in case of a breakdown or accident. Knowing the nearest emergency exits or call boxes can be vital in case of an emergency.
  • Weight restrictions: Some bridges have weight restrictions due to structural limitations. Pay attention to posted signs indicating weight limits, especially if you're driving a heavy vehicle.
  • Obey signs and signals: Follow all posted signs and signals on the bridge, including speed limits, lane markings, and any special instructions. These signs are in place to help ensure the safety of all drivers.

These tips can help you safely navigate bridges and minimize the risks associated with driving in these unique conditions.

If you’ve been in an accident on any Kentucky bridge, the attorneys at Wilt Injury Lawyers are here to help. We understand the complexities of these types of accidents and stand ready to assist you through the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation and we will work to hold the negligent party responsible, as well as secure compensation for your injuries and losses.

Wilt Injury Lawyers maintains offices in Louisville and Lexington and serves clients throughout Kentucky. Please call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a Kentucky car accident lawyer today.