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Kentucky Auto Accident Insurance Claim

Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer or Go Through Insurance?

July 1, 2020

After a car accident, many people assume that their insurance will handle all the expenses. Although accidents involving minimal vehicle damage and little to no injury may be resolved solely through a claim with your insurance provider (a first-party insurance claim), car accidents involving serious injury or death are often complicated by third-party litigation.

The no-fault law in Kentucky also plays a role in how your case proceeds.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contacting an experienced lawyer can help you understand your rights and legal options. The Karl Truman Law Office will review your case for free. Please call us in Louisville at (502) 222-2222 today.

What Does a No-Fault Claim Mean for My Case?

No-fault systems have been implemented in several states to reduce the number of third-party personal injury lawsuits following car accidents. Kentucky is one of these no-fault states.

Under the state’s no-fault rule, drivers must carry at least $10,000 in coverage for PIP, or personal injury protection. If you are injured in a car accident, the PIP coverage through your insurance will compensate you for economic losses such as medical bills, the wages you lose from missing work, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Because the claim proceeds through your insurance provider, it is a first-party claim.

This compensation is available whether you are liable for the accident or not – hence “no-fault.”

Unfortunately, many car accidents involve serious injuries that result in expenses that exceed  $10,000. Although policyholders have the option to buy additional PIP coverage beyond the statutory minimum, even this may not be enough. Furthermore, the PIP policy will not compensate you for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages (i.e., losses you suffer that don’t have a direct monetary value).

If your PIP insurance policy doesn’t cover all of the costs you face as a result of your injuries in the accident, the next step is to file a third-party liability claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Exceptions to the Kentucky No-Fault Law

In spite of its status as a no-fault state, Kentucky does provide for several circumstances where injured drivers are not required to go through their own insurance carrier before pursuing damages. These exceptions are:

  • You suffer from permanent injury or permanent disfigurement, or sustain permanent loss of a body function
  • You suffer the fracture of a weight-bearing bone (such as bones in the feet, legs, and lumbar region of the back)
  • You suffer a displaced, compressed, or compound break of any bone in your body
  • The cost of your medical expenses is $1,000 or more

If you face any of these situations after a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. Although you may be entitled to damages in an accident that is not your fault, the sad reality is that insurance companies will always dispute injury claims and try to pay as little as possible.

An experienced car accident attorney is your best defense against the many tactics insurers use to undermine your claim.

Questions of Comparative Negligence in Kentucky Car Accident Cases

In Kentucky, injury and accident claims operate on the principle of pure comparative negligence. In a car accident case, this means that a driver who is 99% at fault for a collision can still try to pursue that 1% of damages from the other driver in the crash.

A common defense strategy that insurance companies employ in car accident claims is to argue that you are partially or even fully responsible for the accident. If this strategy is successful, the insurance company pays less or nothing at all.

To accomplish this goal, the insurance company will try to get you to make a recorded statement or sign documents settling your case. Don’t fall for these tactics.

After being injured in a car accident, it is easy not to think clearly when it comes to big decisions. You’re in pain, you’re stressed about your health and finances, and you may be adjusting to a life that’s very different from the one you had before the crash. At this time when you are most vulnerable, the insurance companies are counting on you to make a mistake in their favor.

When you hire a car accident lawyer, you will have someone in your corner. Your attorney will fully investigate the accident to determine liability and the damages you have suffered, then pursue compensation for the full amount you deserve.

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims

If you are hit by a driver with insufficient or no insurance coverage, your claim may be resolved in a first-party claim with your insurance company. Drivers in Kentucky are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, although you do have the option to opt out of this requirement in writing. Underinsured motorist coverage is optional.

Unfortunately, the coverage you pay for may not cover the full cost of your injuries. Furthermore, if the other driver has no insurance or doesn’t have enough to compensate you, you may be unsure how to proceed.

An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complexities that may arise in a UM/UIM (uninsured or underinsured motorist) accident claim. These cases may involve taking action directly against the at-fault driver or your own insurance company; it is important to have qualified legal counsel on your side.

Why Hire a Lawyer in Your Car Accident Case?

To recap, there are a few reasons to seek legal representation after an auto accident:

  • First-party accident claims only cover your losses up to the PIP policy limits, and do not cover pain and suffering and other non-economic damages
  • Third-party lawsuits are often hotly contested by the at-fault driver’s insurance company
  • The driver and his/her insurer may argue that you are partially (or wholly) at fault, which can complicate your claim
  • The at-fault driver is uninsured, or their policy doesn’t fully cover your damages

In addition, an attorney can help if you received a low-ball offer from your insurance company or your first-party insurance claim was denied.

If you need assistance with your car accident claim, please call the Karl Truman Law Office at (502) 222-2222 for a free consultation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Louisville and throughout Kentucky.