When you're injured in a car accident in Kentucky, the medical bills can pile up faster than you can pay them. If the accident was not your fault, you may wonder why you have to pay the bills at all. Even if you're considering pursuing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver of the other vehicle, it could take several months or longer for your case to settle. Your auto insurance and health insurance carriers should help to pay the expenses in the meantime.
Kentucky is a No-Fault State for Car Accidents
Kentucky is one of 12 states to enforce no-fault insurance laws when it comes to car accidents. One purpose for no-fault insurance is to eliminate lawsuits and liability claims in accidents with limited medical expenses and lost wages. It typically doesn't cover property damage. In a no-fault state like Kentucky, each driver's insurance company pays lost wages and medical expenses up to a set dollar amount. This is true regardless of who caused the accident.
While direct payment without argument of fault is one benefit of a no-fault policy, it's also extremely limited. Besides not covering property damage, you won't receive payment for things like emotional distress, pain and suffering, and missed social and professional opportunities due to your injuries. Additionally, auto insurance companies cap the amount paid towards medical expenses and lost wages.
Payment by Health Insurance Carriers
Once you have reached the limit for medical expenses on your auto policy, your private health insurance carrier should take over payment. If you have Medicare, Medicaid, or another state-run health insurance program, it should begin paying your medical costs at this point as well. However, you're still responsible to pay any co-pays and deductibles associated with your policy.
As with your auto insurance, your health insurance carrier likely has a cap on how much it will pay towards your expenses. This can leave you in a very stressful situation, especially if you have a complex recovery with high expenses. If you don't have health insurance, you need to work out payment with the healthcare organization that provided services.
No-Fault States Allow for Liability Claims
Each of the 12 states that have no-fault laws allow an injured person to file a liability claim or lawsuit against the other party when their expenses or injury threshold exceeds a certain point. Kentucky has the lowest limit for medical expenses at $1,000. You can receive any of these services to reach the $1,000 threshold:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
Kentucky also allows injured people to forgo the no-fault system in the case of serious injury. For legal purposes, the following types of injuries meet this definition:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Fracture of a weight-bearing bone
- Permanent injury
- Permanent loss of a bodily function
- Compounded, comminuted, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone in the body
If your auto insurance company has paid more than $1,000 toward your medical expenses, you meet the state's definition of serious injury, or both situations apply to you, filing a personal injury lawsuit can help you obtain the funds you need as you recover.
Work with the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Slechter Law Firm
While state law requires auto and health insurance carriers to cover at least a portion of your expenses, you may be dealing with frustrating delays and denials. We're prepared to go after the compensation you deserve, whether it's from your own insurer or the insurance company representing the other driver in your accident case. Both of us understand that the money you do receive in these situations is often far too little to meet your expenses and cope with a changed quality of life.
Mat A. Slechter and Meredith Kirklin Slechter are a husband and wife team with 40 years of combined experience working as personal injury attorneys. When you employ our law firm, you work with one of us directly from your initial consultation until the settlement of your case.
Slechter Law Firm is conveniently located in Louisville, Kentucky. If you're local, please contact us at 502-694-5407 to request a consultation. You can also reach us toll-free at 855-598-7425. The consultation is free and we work on contingency, which means you pay nothing unless we procure a winning settlement on your behalf.