Kentucky Auto Accident Laws

If you have been in a car accident, you have important rights under Kentucky auto accident laws. In 2019, 33,686 people were injured in car accidents in Kentucky, while 732 people died due to car accidents. Getting the compensation that you deserve requires knowledge of Kentucky auto accident laws. These include navigating insurance claims processes, the court system, and complicated no-fault laws.

In this guide, we will discuss some important Kentucky auto accident laws. These laws will likely be important to your auto accident case. You may have more questions about your rights under Kentucky law. You may wonder what are the next steps to take in your car accident case. For more information, contact an experienced Kentucky auto accident lawyer today.

Kentucky Auto Accident Laws Statute of Limitations

The Kentucky statute of limitations sets the amount of time that a party has to file a lawsuit. This statute limits the time available to recover damages in a car accident case. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the set period of time, you risk forfeiting your right to recover through the court system. There are two relevant statutes to be aware of if you have been in a car accident in Kentucky.  The first, Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 413.140(1)(a) gives car accident victims one year from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit to recover damages for an injury.

The other statute, Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 413.125, gives individuals two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This specifically covers any property damage sustained as a result of the accident, including damages to your vehicle.

Kentucky statute of limitations does not apply to the insurance settlement process. In other words, there is no deadline for reaching a settlement with the insurance company. Keep in mind that you should file a complaint for your injuries within 1 year or 2 years for property damage. Otherwise, the insurance company has little incentive to reach a fair settlement. This is because you lack recourse through the courts.  

Missing the deadline set by the Kentucky statute of limitations can have consequences. Hiring an experienced Kentucky auto accident lawyer can help you protect your rights. A lawyer can help you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Kentucky is a No-Fault State

Kentucky is one of only a dozen U.S. states that have adopted a “no-fault” car insurance law. In an at-fault state, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to receive compensation for damages that you have suffered. Under Kentucky auto accident laws, however, both drivers are at no-fault. In the event of an accident, you will want to have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. With this coverage through your insurance company,  you can recover up to $10,000.  Note that drivers can opt to purchase higher PIP benefits.  

There is, however, an important exception to Kentucky’s no-fault rule. Kentucky is one of only three U.S. states that have an option known as “choice no-fault.” With choice-no-fault, vehicle owners can choose to opt out of the no-fault rule when purchasing car insurance in Kentucky. By opting out, the policyholder retains the right to sue another driver and/or his insurance company in court following an accident.

To reject no-fault, the vehicle owner must complete and file a special form with the Kentucky Department of Insurance. If all members of a household reject no-fault, they must still purchase guest PIP coverage.  This provides benefits to guest passengers and pedestrians in the event that they sustain injuries in a car accident.

Kentucky No-Fault Injury Thresholds

In addition to opting out of no-fault, a car accident victim may sue the other driver. This is a valid option if his or her injuries exceed certain thresholds. Under Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 304.39-060, a car accident injury claim is exempt from the no-fault rules if:

  •   The car accident resulted in at least $1,000 in medical expenses, or
  •   Accident caused a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or death.

Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Car Accident Cases

Kentucky auto accident laws follow a “pure comparative negligence” standard. Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 411.182 requires the court or jury to determine the damages owed to the plaintiff. The legal system will make an allocation of fault for the car accident to each party.

For example, suppose you are in a car accident and suffer significant injuries. Since you opted-out of no-fault and/or meet the no-fault threshold, you can file a suit against the other driver and his insurance company. After a trial, the jury determines that your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages total $125,000. However, the jury also determines that you were 20% responsible for the accident. The other driver was 80% at fault. Under Kentucky auto accident laws, your damage award of $125,000 will reduce by $25,000 (20% of $125,000). This will leave you with $100,000.

Keep in mind that the comparative negligence rule does not apply to negotiations with the other driver’s insurance company. The claims adjuster will take it into account when evaluating your claim. They will likely base any settlement offer on your level of fault for the car accident. 

Car Insurance Requirements in Kentucky

Kentucky laws require that vehicle owners maintain liability insurance. This is in addition to PIP coverage rules. Liability insurance covers injuries and damage when you are at-fault for an accident. The minimum coverage limits are:

  •   $10,000 for property damage resulting from a car accident
  •   $25,000 for injuries per person resulting from a car accident
  •   $50,000 for all injuries resulting from a car accident

Some drivers opt to buy higher liability coverage limits to protect themselves. This is important in case the injured party’s damages exceed the coverage limits.

Driving Without Car Insurance in Kentucky

The penalties for driving without car insurance in Kentucky can be severe. Not to mention that if you are in a car accident and found to be at-fault, you can be on the hook for significant damages

For a first-time offense, your registration will end up suspended for one year. The only way to avoid this is if you are able to provide proof of insurance to the Court. Without providing proof, you could face a fine of $500 to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail.

If you drive without insurance within 5 years from the date of your last conviction you can receive even harsher penalties. Failure to show the Court proof of insurance, you could face a fine between $1,000 and $2,000. You may also face a sentence to up to 6 months in jail. It is also possible to have your registration suspended for a year, or have your driver’s license revoked.

Kentucky Auto Accident Laws for Accidents Involving Uninsured Drivers

Despite harsh penalties for driving without car insurance, an estimated 13.9% of all drivers in Kentucky do not have coverage. For this reason, some drivers in Kentucky elect to buy extra insurance for themselves. These include uninsured (UM) and underinsured motorist insurance coverage (UIM).

UM coverage comes into play if the other driver is at-fault for the accident and does not have car insurance. If so, the injured party can receive compensation from his or her own insurance company. UIM coverage helps if the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage to cover the accident victim’s damages. The injured party can recover additional compensation from his or her own insurance company.

If you are in a car accident in Kentucky and the other driver is under or uninsured, you have several options. 

  •   Sue the other driver. You can file a lawsuit naming the other driver as the defendant. However, collecting on any judgment may prove difficult if he or she does not have assets. 
  •   Sue a third party. It is possible that a third-party is at-fault for the accident. For example, the other driver may have recently had new brakes installed that failed. This could potentially allow you to sue a third-party.
  •   File a UM or UIM claim. If you have UM or UIM insurance, you may be able to seek compensation from your insurance company.

Kentucky Auto Accident Resources

Have you been in a car accident in Kentucky? It is understandable if you are going through a high level of stress. Below are some helpful accident resources to review. These should allow you to get things going in the proper direction after the accident.

  • To decide if it is worth filing a suit or claim, is important to determine what your case could be worth. Lawsuit Info Center can help.
  • To report an accident in Kentucky, you can use this form. You must file an accident report for accidents involving injury or death, or damages above $500.
  • After a car accident, you may need to obtain a copy of your collision report. You can get a copy of the report at the Kentucky State Police.

Kentucky Car Accident Settlement Calculator

Have you been in a motor vehicle accident or otherwise injured in Kentucky? Find out how much financial compensation you may be legally entitled to in just minutes with our free online Injury Settlement Calculator.

 Get Help with Kentucky Auto Accident Laws

If you need further assistance after a car accident, Lawsuit Info Center can help. Reach out to us today, risk free. We can review your case and help you get in touch with a Kentucky auto accident lawyer. Get the compensation that you deserve!