Kentucky Car Accident Laws and Resources
Whether you are driving in Ashland, Louisville, or Lexington, there are thousands of miles of scenic roads in Kentucky. You can see downtown Frankfurt, Mammoth Caves, or view the Cumberland Plateau. Kentuckians drive 11,000 miles per year, and there are approximately 3.5 million drivers in the state. As you drive the state, it is possible you could be in an accident. If so, it is important to be familiar with the laws and regulations of Kentucky. That way, you will know how to proceed in a potential car accident claim or lawsuit.
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Statistics and Notable Kentucky Car Accidents
More than 22,000 people were hurt in Kentucky car accidents last year. More than 600 had fatal injuries, according to the Kentucky Transportation Center. The combination of busy roadways, speeding, distracted and drunk driving have led to an increase in accidents recently. Even though there are major efforts underway to increase the importance of driving safely, there are still far too many accidents in Kentucky:
- One out of every 17 drivers in the state has been in a car accident
- One out of 146 residents were in a traffic accident last year
- One out of every 4100 drivers in the state was in a fatal crash last year
Also, based upon NHTSA statistics, there were 638 fatal accidents from crashes in 2013. It was found that 80 of those crashes involved people who were 20 or younger. Fifty-five of them were pedestrians, and 87 of them were on motorcycles. The fatality rate in this state is 1.36 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is higher than 1.14 across the country.
Kentucky State Police records also state that traffic fatalities as of March 16, 2015 were 132, compared to 121 at the same time the year before.
Based upon data from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety, the most common causes of accidents in Kentucky are:
- Failure to yield
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Following too closely
- Drunk driving
State data show that speeding was a contributing factor to 125 of 638 deaths in 2013. The state’s Highway Safety Performance Plan has been hoping to decrease speeding deaths by 9% as of the most recent year. It is too early to know if this has been effective.
A major traffic accident lawsuit that made the news in 2018 stemmed from a November 2017 accident when a truck hit several vehicles near Hamel. The truck driver did not have any criminal charges filed against him, but the family of one of the four killed did file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The crash killed four people from the ages of 17 to 20. There were questions about whether the truck driver was using a cell phone at the time of the accident. But the cell phone that he may have had with him never was recovered during a search of the vehicle by state police.
The rear end crash was caused on I-55 when a Kia Forte and several other cars were stopped in a construction zone. The truck driver rear ended the Kia, and about 12 others were injured in addition to the four deaths.
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Kentucky Accident Settlement Taxes
As with workers’ compensation settlements, personal injury settlements are not usually taxable in most situations. IRS regulations state that any compensation that is related to a physical injury or illness is not usually taxable for income purposes at the state or federal levels.
However, if you receive compensation only for emotional pain and suffering that is not connected to a physical injury, this is probably taxable as income. Also, if you receive compensation for punitive damages, this is nearly always taxable at the state and federal levels because it is compensation that is not related to any physical injury you sustained.
But if you get compensation in your settlement for property damages, this is not usually taxable as income because it is intended to only reimburse you for damages to property and is intended to repair or replace it.
Lost wages compensation is usually taxable, such as if you lost time from work due to your injury. This is because you would have been taxed on your work income anyway. Also, if you were paid any interest on your personal injury settlement, this will be taxable as income.
These are only general guidelines about taxes and personal injury settlements in Kentucky. If you have any questions, you should talk to a tax professional.
Kentucky Negligence Laws
Kentucky has a pure comparative negligence standard in place. This means if you and the other driver are partially to blame for the accident, the fault is distributed between you according to your percentage of blame. This system allows you to recover financial damages even if you are found to be partially at fault. This state is more unusual in that you still may recover damages even if you are 99% at fault for the crash.
Other states do not allow you to recover damages if you are more than 50% or 51% to blame.
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Kentucky Car Accident Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky is only one year. This means that you have a very limited time to decide if you want to file a lawsuit. It is important to speak to a personal injury attorney soon after the accident; if you wait until the last minute to file, your attorney may not have time to collect all of the required evidence and paperwork.
Auto Insurance Requirements for Kentucky
If you drive in Kentucky, you are required to have a minimum level of car insurance. The minimum coverage required here is:
- $25,000 in bodily injury for each person in each accident
- $50,000 in bodily injury for every person in each accident
- $10,000 for property damage liability
- $25,000 and $50,000 uninsured motorist coverage
You are not required this state to have additional auto insurance, such as underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance. You also are not required to have comprehensive or collision insurance.
Other Kentucky Driving Laws
Kentucky has enacted a ban on texting and driving for all licensed drivers. There also is a ban on using cell phones for novice drivers. Further, since 2012, the state has had a seatbelt law that includes vans with 15 passengers. In addition, the state requires you to call the police if there is a crash with property damage or injuries above $500. If the police do not show up, you are required to turn in a report with the state police within 10 days of the crash.
Kentucky 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 so you can 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 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.
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