The laws surrounding auto accident claims can be complicated. There are many different insurance laws at play and it can be difficult to understand your rights to compensation if you have sustained damages in a car accident. An added complication is the fact that these laws can greatly vary from state to state. For instance, some states follow a fault-based insurance system, while others follow a “no-fault” insurance system. Kentucky follows the no-fault system. It is important that you are aware of the implications of this as it has a significant impact on accident insurance claims.
What Does it Mean that Kentucky is a “No Fault” State?
Kentucky is one of 12 states that are considered to be “no-fault” for auto insurance purposes. This means that, no matter who is at fault in causing a car accident, injured drivers involved in the crash must first file a claim for damages with their own insurance policy. Kentucky no-fault insurance is referred to as “personal injury protection” (PIP benefits). PIP benefits pay up to $10,000 (or more if you opt for more coverage) in medical bills, lost wages, and related out of pocket costs associated with injuries sustained in the accident. Anyone driving or riding in the vehicle at the time the accident occurs is also entitled to receive PIP benefits under the policy as is a pedestrian struck by a covered vehicle.
You are unable to make a claim against the at-fault driver of the crash unless there are circumstances allowing for an exemption from the no-fault system. These exemptions are often referred to as “no fault thresholds.” If a car accident claim meets the statutory threshold, then the claim will be exempt from no-fault rules. This means that the injured individual will be able to make a bodily injury liability claim against the at-fault driver and seek compensation beyond that available pursuant to PIP benefits. In order to meet the threshold, the accident must have resulted in a minimum of $1,000 in medical bills or caused the claimant’s permanent disfigurement, bone fracture, permanent injury, or permanent loss of a body function.
Kentucky is unique in its no-fault system as it is referred to as a “choice no-fault” state. This is because you are able to opt-out of the no-fault system when you purchase your auto insurance. When you opt out, you retain the right to pursue both liability claims or personal injury lawsuits against at fault drivers without needing to meet the statutory no-fault threshold. Be aware that opting out will mean that you too may be liable for damages resulting from accidents you cause.
While there is many who criticize no-fault laws, there are some advantages. For instance, PIP claims tend to be processed efficiently and paid out in a timely manner. Additionally, the no-fault system often works to reduce the amount of litigation burdening a court’s already full docket.
Personal Injury Attorneys
At Dickman Law, we are committed to serving our clients in the best way possible. We provide zealous legal advocacy on your behalf; protecting your best interests and pursuing your right to recover compensation. Contact us today.
Posted in: Car Accidents