How Does Fault Affect a Car Accident Claim in Kentucky?

How Does Fault Affect a Car Accident Claim in Kentucky?Fault plays a crucial role in a Kentucky car accident claim because it determines who is responsible for the accident and, therefore, who may be liable for damages. The driver at fault for an accident is typically determined by analyzing the circumstances surrounding the crash. This can include evaluating police reports, eyewitness testimonies, and evidence such as photos or videos from the scene.

Is Kentucky a no-fault state for car crashes?

Kentucky is a “choice” no-fault state, one of only three in the country. Different jurisdictions have different systems for determining fault:

  • Fault states: In these states, the person who is found to be at fault for the accident is financially responsible for the damages. The other party can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
  • No-fault states: In these states, each party files a claim through their own insurance, regardless of who is at fault.
  • Choice no-fault states: In these three states (PA and NJ are the other two), drivers can opt out of the system. This allows them to sue other drivers for negligence, but it also opens them up to liability if they cause injuries or harm.

How does insurance work in a no-fault state?

Under Kentucky law, drivers must carry the following minimum insurance coverage:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Drivers must carry at least $10,000 in PIP, also known as no-fault coverage, unless they reject it in writing.
  • Bodily injury liability coverage: At least $25,000 per person up to a total of $50,000 per accident of additional coverage for those injured if the policy holder causes an accident.
  • Property damage liability: At least $10,000 in coverage for any property damage the insured person causes.

Kentucky drivers must be offered a no-fault insurance policy with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. If they opt to reject PIP coverage, they gain the right to sue an at-fault driver for damages. However, if they cause an accident, the other driver can also sue them without restriction.

In addition, drivers who have PIP coverage in the state can still file a liability claim against another driver if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have a minimum of $1,000 in accident-related medical bills
  • Fractured a weight-bearing bone
  • Sustained a compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
  • Suffered a permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or permanent loss of a body function.

This threshold means that nearly any serious accident that results in injuries will qualify, as the average cost of an emergency room visit in Kentucky is over $1,000.

Are there any other insurance coverages that might apply in an accident claim?

Those who can afford to do so may purchase more than the state’s minimum coverage for PIP, injury liability, property damage, and might want to consider other supplemental options, such as:

  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): When you purchase this type of coverage as part of your own insurance policy, it will protect you in the event you’ve used up your no-fault benefits and the liable driver is either uninsured or doesn’t have adequate coverage to pay all of your damages. UM/UIM coverage is not mandatory in Kentucky, but it must be rejected in writing.
  • Medical payments coverage (MedPay): Medical payments coverage will cover a specific amount of your medical expenses as well as your passengers’ and any other person named on your policy. However, it will not pay wage loss benefits as PIP does. MedPay coverage is also optional, but since it costs an average of under $10 per month and can be used to pay medical bills, deductibles and co-pays, many drivers consider it a wise investment.
  • Collision coverage: This is optional coverage for your vehicle. It applies whether you’re hit by another car, in a single-vehicle rollover, or sustain damage in any type of crash. Like PIP and MedPay, collision covers you no matter who is at-fault for the car accident.

Fault and negligence in Kentucky car accidents

If you opt out of Kentucky’s no-fault system, or if your injuries and losses fulfilled the criteria for filing a claim against another driver, then you must prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. Our lawyers prove the other driver was at fault by showing that:

  • They owed a duty of care to another driver;
  • They breached their duty; and
  • As a result of their breach, you sustained damages.

Kentucky follows a pure comparative negligence system for fault-based claims, meaning that a driver can only recover a percentage of damages equal to their relative level of fault for an accident. Here are some examples:

  • If one driver was 100 percent at fault for a collision, an injured party can recover 100 percent of their damages in a liability claim.
  • If the driver was 70 percent at fault for the accident and the other party was 30 percent at fault, they can recover 70 percent of their damages.
  • If an injured person was 90 percent at fault for an accident, they are still eligible to recover 10 percent of their damages.

Can one of your Kentucky car accident lawyers help me?

If you sustained serious injuries in a crash because of someone else’s negligence, and/or if you were deemed to be at-fault for the wreck, we can help. Our Kentucky car accident lawyers can build a case on your behalf. We will:

  • Review the determination: Obtain and review the police report and any other evidence used in the fault determination to understand how the decision was made. If we believe the fault determination is incorrect, we may be able to file an appeal with the insurance company by following the proper process for appeals.
  • Gather additional evidence: Collect any additional evidence that supports your version of events, such as photos of the accident scene, witness statements, or any other relevant information.
  • Communicate with the insurance company: We will contact your insurer or the at-fault party’s insurance company to provide any additional evidence collected and explain your side of the story. We also negotiate directly with the insurance companies to see if we can reach a fair and just resolution.
  • File a lawsuit: If we are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution, you may consider filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Our team prepares every case we take for this possibility and will proudly represent you in court.

If you or someone you love was injured in an automobile accident in Kentucky, Wilt Injury Lawyers will give you an honest assessment of your case and help you determine whether a lawsuit is the best option for you. We serve the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky, including Louisville and Lexington. Please call or fill out our contact form to set up a free initial consultation today.