Under the law of negligence, everyone owes a duty of care to prevent reasonably foreseeable injury to others.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Drivers of cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses owe a duty of care to each other as well as to pedestrians and cyclists. That duty of care is judged by surrounding facts and circumstances such as the weather, condition of the road, amount and speed of traffic, and size and character of the vehicle. Violation of a traffic regulation is negligence as a matter of law and imposes liability if it causes an accident. If you have been injured due to someone’s carelessness, you are generally entitled to compensation, including for:
- Necessary and reasonable medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Past and future physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Lost earnings or opportunity to work
- Future lost earnings or impairment in earning ability
- Property damage, including loss of use
- Out-of-pocket expenses
Kentucky is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction, meaning that at trial your compensation is reduced to the extent that you are also found to be at fault. Whatever your injury, don’t be pressured into accepting a quick settlement offer by an insurance company. A careful evaluation of your case by an experienced accident attorney is needed to:
a) explore all theories of liability
b) identify all potential defendants
c) review the relevant insurance policies
d) ensure that you obtain the maximum compensation for each aspect of your claim.
Motor Vehicle Insurance
Kentucky law requires motorists to have liability insurance in case they injure someone else. Liability coverage must be at least $25,000 for bodily injury for one person from one accident, $50,000 for all bodily injury from one accident, and $10,000 for property damage from one accident. Alternatively, a policy may have a single limit coverage of at least $60,000 for a total accident claim for personal injury and property damage.
Insurance on all motor vehicles, except motorcycles, must also include no-fault coverage unless a rejection form is filed with the KY Department of Insurance. This coverage, also known as PIP (Personal Injury Protection), pays up to $10,000 for losses such as medical expenses and lost wages without regard to fault. Motorcyclists must buy no-fault as optional coverage. You should also have underinsured and uninsured coverage in case the other driver is at fault but has little or no insurance; and sufficient collision and comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle.
It is important to read your policy carefully to understand its terms and ensure that you are adequately insured. For example, some drivers buy “full coverage” only to learn later that the policy does not include uninsured motorist coverage.
What to do after an accident
- Call the police. The police are required to investigate whenever there has been a collision involving injury. They should take photographs; note down vehicle make, model and license plate numbers, insurance information and policy numbers; and collect the names, addresses and phone numbers of drivers, passengers, witnesses, and registered owners. Be prepared to do this yourself if necessary and you are able. Keep a pen and notebook in the car and take photos if possible.
- Get immediate medical care if you are injured.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
Common problems after an accident
- Making statements admitting fault or minimizing injuries
- Refusing the ambulance if injured
- Worrying about your car more than about your own or your passengers’ health
- Seeking overlapping treatment from different doctors
- Not following your doctor’s advice or allowing gaps in treatment
- Insisting on going back to work right away despite being injured
- Seeking legal help too late and having your claim barred by law