At the border of America's South and Midwest lies Kentucky, a state famous for the Kentucky Derby where the world's best horses race for glory and onlookers wear fancy hats and drink mint juleps. If you find yourself in a fender bender on one of Kentucky's infamous narrow country roads, you will be thankful you are in a state where minor accidents are rather simple to resolve. But if your accident results in serious damages, you will want to know the specifics of Kentucky's complicated car accident compensation laws.
'No Fault' and 'Pure Comparative Fault' Rules Apply
Kentucky is one of the few states that has a 'no fault' system for insurance claims. For a successful claim, an injured party must prove damages exceeding certain thresholds. The Kentucky Department of Insurance reports that injured people can bring a claim if their injuries exceed $1,000 in medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or death.
Like many other states, Kentucky is a 'pure comparative negligence' jurisdiction. This means that if your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will calculate percentages of fault for each driver, and reduce each driver’s liability accordingly. For example, if a driver suffers $10,000 in damages, but is found to be 90% at fault, the court will reduce the driver’s recovery to $1,000. In many other states, because the driver is more than 50% at fault, the driver would recover nothing.
The table below describes key elements of Kentucky's car accident compensation laws.
Types of Damages
The legal system often divides damages into two types: economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are precisely what they sound like: money-based. Economic damages include repair or replacement of the damaged cars, past and future medical expenses, lost income, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages are harder to calculate because they include things like pain, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.
Examples of common car accident damages include:
- Replacement vehicle
- Pain and suffering
- Medical Expenses
- Rental cars
- Lost wages
- Loss of affection or companionship
Limits on Damages
Fortunately for injured parties, Kentucky has no cap on damages in personal injury or car accident cases. That means there are no state-imposed limits on the amount of damages you can receive.
While there are no car accident damages caps in Kentucky, the state does impose a time limit on how long a driver may wait before filing a case (the statute of limitations). In Kentucky, the limit is one year for lawsuits regarding injuries to people, but two years for lawsuits regarding damage to property.
Have Specific Questions About Kentucky Car Accident Compensation Laws? Ask a Lawyer
While the pure comparative negligence system used in Kentucky protects injured parties, it can leave you open to liability if you are the least bit responsible in a car accident. Additionally, the complicated minimum threshold requirement before a party can bring suit can make it hard to determine when you have the right to bring a lawsuit against another party. Speak to an experienced car accident attorney to find out the strength of your claim and the amount of compensation that may be available for your case.