Bowling Green Kentucky Auto Accident Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured in a car accident in Kentucky, there are a few things you need to understand before filing a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. The first is that Kentucky is a choice no-fault state when it comes to car insurance. That means you are expected to first file a claim with your own insurance provider, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
In Kentucky, you need to meet a certain threshold for severity of injuries and medical expenses before you can file a claim. However, Kentucky is called a choice no-fault state because it gives drivers the opportunity to opt out of the no-fault system and purchase tort-based coverage instead. You can file a claim with either type of insurance coverage if your situation warrants it.
Comparative Fault Rules in Kentucky
You can receive financial compensation in a successful personal injury lawsuit even if you share some fault for the accident. This is not true in all states. Under the statute of comparative fault, the court will reduce the amount of your winning lawsuit by the percentage for which it found you at fault for creating the circumstances that led to your injuries. These cases often end up in court because the insurance companies and lawyers representing each driver don’t agree on the percentage of fault assigned to their client.
Statute of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Kentucky
Unfortunately, Kentucky allows one of the shortest times for suing a negligent driver in a car accident case. You have one year from the date of the accident to initiate a personal injury claim and two years if you’re filing a property damage claim. This can include the vehicle itself and personal items inside of the vehicle such as a laptop computer for work or sports equipment for the kids.
Financial Compensation You May Receive in a Personal Injury Case
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to compensate you for the physical, financial, and emotional losses you have suffered due to the negligent or even criminal behavior of the other party. Although it is not a criminal trial, the defendant may have to pay you punitive damages if the court agrees that his or her actions showed willful disregard for your safety. Some of the most common classifications of compensatory damages in a personal injury case include:
Loss of income: The court recognizes that you can’t work when you’re in the hospital or at home recovering from serious injuries. Most people do receive payment for lost wages, even when they had enough vacation or sick time accrued to receive a salary while recovering. This category also covers future loss of income due to the limitations imposed by your new disability. You could receive payment for missed raises and promotions, known as loss of earning capacity, or the difference in pay between your former job and the one you had to take to accommodate your restrictions. If you’re forced to work part-time or not at all, this category of compensation should cover your financial losses.
Medical Expenses: This includes medical treatment you have already received due to the accident, such as hospitalization, medication, and physical therapy, as well as what your doctor expects you to need in the future.
Property Loss and Damage: This can include money to repair or replace your car and any valuables inside the car at the time of the accident.
The above categories are direct reimbursements of actual costs or anticipated costs due to financial losses you suffered because of the accident. The categories below are far more subjective. A jury must determine how your injuries have affected your emotional state and quality of life and then reward a monetary amount to compensate you for it. Typical classifications of these types of payments include:
Emotional Distress: Generally reserved for the most serious accidents, payment for emotional distress compensates the crash victim for anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, and other non-physical reactions to the accident. Some juries include emotional distress as part of the payment for pain and suffering while others create a separate category for it.
Pain and Suffering: If you struggle with ongoing physical or emotional pain due to the accident, you could receive compensation for pain and suffering. This also covers pain and suffering in the immediate aftermath of the car accident.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Juries award this category of compensation when the accident has made it difficult or impossible for the person filing suit to enjoy activities he or she participated in before the accident. This can include hobbies, exercise, travel, and other daily activities that add enjoyment to your life.
Loss of Consortium: In a personal injury case, this typically refers to the physical and emotional relationship between spouses or partners. You or your spouse/partner may receive this award especially if you’re unable to maintain a sexual relationship as a direct result of the accident. A jury may also consider loss of consortium for permanent changes in a relationship between parent and child, which is referred to a filial consortium. Filial consortium refers to the loss of affection, love and companionship from a child. Some juries will require the payment made directly to your spouse or family member while others will instruct the defendant to pay you directly.
These are just some of the most common categories of financial compensation in a personal injury case. Because every car accident is unique, you may not qualify for every form of payment or receive some not listed here.
Request a Free and Confidential Case Review
Lanna Martin Kilgore has represented the best interests of injured Kentucky residents for many years. She will work hard to uncover evidence in your case to support negligence or criminal misconduct by the other party. She has established relationships with experts who specialize in auto accident reconstruction, auto accident injuries and insurance policy coverage. These experts with help uncover possible evidence that could be used to strengthen your case and help to move you one step closer to securing the damages you deserve. Ms. Martin Kilgore strongly believes in holding people legally accountable for their actions, especially when they have such a dramatic impact on the lives of others.
Please contact our personal injury law office in Bowling Green, Kentucky at (270) 646-3700 or online to request your legal consultation. If you decide to move forward with the case, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you won’t owe any money unless and until we help you obtain a winning settlement