Motorcycle accidents are more common than they should be in Kentucky, with the Kentucky Department of Transportation reporting that in 2014, there were more than six dozen motorcyclists killed in crashes, and hundreds more injured. The same source also explains that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash, and five times more likely to be injured, than are occupants of passenger cars.
There is no doubt that when a motorcycle accident occurs, the event can be life altering for the motorcyclist. Indeed, the motorcyclist may never fully recover from injuries sustained, changing the course of their life forevermore.
At the law offices of Lanna Martin Kilgore, Attorney at Law, PLLC, our knowledgeable Kentucky personal injury attorney understands how devastating motorcycle accidents can be, and the extent of losses that you’re facing. If you have been in a crash, please contact our law firm today for a free consultation and information about how you can recover financial compensation.
Injuries and Damages Sustained in a Motorcycle Crash
Not only are motorcyclists more likely to incur injuries in a crash when compared to drivers and passengers of cars, but these injuries are also likely to be more serious. Some of the most common types of injuries sustained in a motorcycle collision include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries;
- Spine and spinal cord injuries;
- Internal injuries;
- Severe road burn injuries;
- Bone fractures;
- Soft tissue injuries; and
- Crush and amputation injuries.
All of these injuries are not only very painful, but can be life threatening as well. When injuries are not fatal, they can be so severe that a motorcyclist is disabled for the remainder of his or her life, or/and requires lifelong medical care and assistance.
In addition to disability and disfigurement, motorcyclists also face mounting medical expenses following a crash, lost income if they are unable to return to work due to their injuries, excruciating physical pain, and psychological and emotional injuries as well, which can be very limiting when trying to cope with. Sometimes, damages like these – pain, suffering, psychological harm, disability, etc. – are permanent.
PIP Coverage and Limits to Sue for Motorcyclists in Kentucky
When a motorcycle crash occurs, and a motorcyclist incurs any of the damages listed above due to the negligence of another party, they have the right to bring forth a claim and recover the full value of their losses. Unfortunately, Kentucky law does not make bringing forth a claim and recovering compensation a simple process in all cases.
Kentucky is a no-fault insurance state. This means that when a crash occurs, drivers are required to turn to their own PIP (personal injury protection) insurance coverage first before filing a claim against the other driver. In fact, a party cannot even bring forth a claim against the at-fault party unless they have incurred medical expenses greater than $1,000, or have suffered fatal injuries, permanent injuries, or a fracture injury. PIP coverage is mandatory for drivers of passenger cars, but not of motorcyclists.
While PIP coverage is not required for motorcyclists, if a motorcyclist chooses not to purchase PIP coverage, they are limited in their right to sue for damages. In fact, unless the motorcyclist rejects no-fault coverage in writing via the filing of a no-fault rejection form, they are barred from recovering damages from the at-fault party unless their damages exceed $10,000, as explained by the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet – Department of Insurance.
These limitations and rules for holding the party at fault for motorcycle accidents and subsequent injuries can be complicated to understand, and make working with a motorcycle accident attorney that much more essential.
Recovering the Compensation You Deserve
While there are limits on recovering damages, particularly for those motorcyclists who are injured and do not have PIP coverage, there are still avenues for recovering compensation. When you work with an attorney, your attorney will help you to understand what your own insurance company may cover, when you can bring forth a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, and what your options are for filing a lawsuit.
If your injuries and damages total more than the injury threshold (and you carry PIP coverage) and you need to bring forth a claim against the at-fault driver, an attorney can guide you through how to do this. In order for your claim to be successful, you will need to prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care (implied), that the duty of care was breached (typically via an act of negligence), and that the breach of duty of care was the direct cause of your accident, and therefore your injuries. You will also need to prove the value of your injuries, and understand how to valuate noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
Further, keep in mind that even if you have a strong claim and the evidence to back you up, insurance companies are not eager to pay claimants their full compensation award – the job of the insurance adjuster is to save the insurance company money. As such, an insurance adjuster may low ball your settlement offer. If you do not understand how much you really deserve and your right to reject a settlement offer, you may make the mistake of accepting the first settlement offer you receive. This can be costly, as once you accept a settlement and sign a release of claim form, you cannot pursue any further damages. An attorney will negotiate with an insurance adjuster to maximize your settlement and recover the full amount of damages possible.
Contact Our Kentucky Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today
Not only is being involved in a motorcycle accident a terrifying and emotional experience, but it can leave you with injuries that limit and impair you for life. At the law offices of Lanna Martin Kilgore, Attorney at Law, PLLC, we understand the damages you have suffered and that you deserve to be compensated for your losses. Our Kentucky motorcycle attorney is highly skilled and very knowledgeable in personal injury and motorcycle insurance laws, and can competently represent you in your pursuit of compensation. Please visit our law firm today for a free consultation – you can contact us by sending us a message online, or calling us at 270-846-3700.