Who’s at Fault? Sorting Out Liability in a Car Accident
Even though car accidents happen every day across the country, when it happens to you or someone you love, you’re never fully prepared for it. Not only is the accident itself traumatizing for those who were in the car, but the weeks and months after the crash are equally as difficult as you navigate your injuries, file insurance claims, and figure out who is to blame in a car accident.
All of this can take a massive toll on your physical and emotional health, and it can be incredibly helpful to work with car accident attorneys during this time. For legal assistance after an auto accident, get in touch with the lawyers at Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, who are able to serve those in the Louisville, Kentucky, area or throughout the whole state, including Lexington.
Kentucky is a No-Fault Insurance State
Each state sets its own laws that govern the process of filing an insurance claim after a car wreck. The state of Kentucky follows a no-fault model, which means that after a car accident, each driver must first file a claim through their own insurance provider regardless of whose fault it was. This can help accident victims get faster financial reimbursement because there’s less negotiating to be done, but it may also mean that you don’t end up covering all your expenses.
By law, every driver in Kentucky is required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) per person. This coverage can be used to pay costs associated with lost wages, medical expenses, or other out-of-pocket expenses related to injuries received. Importantly, this does not cover damage to the car or any other personal property.
In general, your PIP coverage is expected to cover your needs, but if the total damages exceed $1,000 or you’ve been disfigured, suffered a permanent injury, or have had a serious fracture or broken bone, you are able to file a personal injury claim against the other person if you can prove car driver negligence.
Liability Insurance Coverage Requirements (where applicable)
There are some cases where you’re able to opt-out of the PIP insurance requirement, but there will be additional coverage you’ll need to have in the form of liability insurance. This means you’ll need to carry bodily injury coverage for $25,000/person and $50,000/accident and property damage liability for $10,000 per accident, or a combined coverage of at least $60,000 and uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) for at least $25,000. If you choose this route, know that you’ll have fewer protections from having a personal injury lawsuit brought against you if you’re found to be at fault for an accident.
Filing Suit Against At-Fault Driver
For more severe crashes, it’s often the case that the driver’s PIP coverage will not be adequate, and they’ll be left with mounting medical bills as well as expenses if they can’t work for an extended period of time while they’re recovering. If this is the case, you can file a lawsuit against the driver, but you’ll almost always want to work with a personal injury attorney who can walk you through the process and ensure you have sufficient evidence to back up your claim.
Additionally, you’ll need to do this within one year of the injury occurring. Many other states allow lawsuits within two years of the incident, but Kentucky’s shortened timeline means you have to work fast. If you fail to file a claim within this time, a judge will likely throw out your case. This is also true if you’re pursuing a wrongful death claim on behalf of a loved one who lost their life in an accident.
Comparative Fault in Kentucky
The last legal concept to understand is that of comparative fault or comparative negligence. This essentially means that fault can be shared between the two drivers during a lawsuit, and each person will be assigned a certain percentage of the blame. For example, if you were found to be 20% at fault for the accident and the total settlement was $20,000, you would only receive $16,000 to reflect your share of liability. Kentucky also uses what’s called a “pure” comparative negligence model, which means that you can sue for any amount of damages, even if you were 90% at fault and the other driver was only 10% at fault.
Personalized Legal Advocacy at Every Stage
If you’re in Louisville, Kentucky, or anywhere throughout the state and you’d like to speak with a skilled lawyer about a recent accident you or a loved one has been in, call the Slechter Law Firm, PLLC, today for compassionate legal guidance. Mr. Slechter and Mrs. Slechter pride themselves on providing personalized yet proficient legal assistance, and they can help you in your time of need. Reach out today to discover your options and get on a path toward pursuing compensation.