Kentucky – A “No-Fault State”: A guide for understanding No-Fault Insurance
If you live in the State of Kentucky, when purchasing auto insurance, you might have heard your insurance agent/company mention that Kentucky is a “No-Fault State.” The following states are considered to be “no-fault” states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
To live in a no-fault state essentially means that in the event of an accident, each individual’s own car insurance company will cover certain expenses without even considering who was really at fault for the accident.
Fault vs. No-Fault States
In a no-fault state, a driver who gets involved in a car accident does not need to determine fault or prove that the other driver was negligent to receive payment to cover his or her medical bills or property damage repairs. The driver will file a claim with his or her own car insurance company, regardless of fault.
In a fault state, on the other hand, a driver must determine the cause of the crash and prove that another party is at fault to receive an insurance settlement check. In these states, the driver or party that caused the car accident will be responsible for paying for a victim’s expenses.
What Is Covered Under Kentucky No-Fault Car Insurances
Different types of car insurance coverage are mandatory in fault vs. no-fault states. Under Kentucky law, all motor vehicle owners and operators must purchase and maintain at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability insurance and $25,000 in property damage liability insurance. At least $10,0000 in personal injury protection coverage is also required on all motor vehicles except motorcycles. Kentucky also offers optional types of insurance, including medical benefits, collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Drivers must show proof of insurance during traffic stops. Otherwise, the driver could face the revocation of his or her vehicle registration, a fine of $500 to $1,000, and/or up to 90 days in jail. In Kentucky, the no-fault car insurance law means that you will file a claim with your own car insurance provider after a car accident whether or not you caused the crash. Your own car insurance policy will cover your damages without requiring proof of someone else’s fault.
For example, if you sustained injuries in a car accident, even if you weren’t at fault, your own insurance would cover your medical bills up to $10,000, including things like lost wages, capped at a certain amount, while you were being treated for any injuries. This mandatory coverage that you purchase with your auto insurance company is known as “PIP,” or “Personal Injury Protection,” This is required by law in every no-fault state and is the protection that you buy with your own insurance company in the event of an accident.
No-Fault Thresholds In Kentucky
The no-fault system was designed to protect drivers from costly legal battles to determine who was liable, but that doesn’t mean that drivers are totally helpless. Each no-fault state has a threshold, and if injuries or damages rise above that threshold, injured people do have the option of pursuing a lawsuit in order to have the at-fault party cover the accumulated charges.
According to the Kentucky Department of Insurance, the threshold can be met with $1,000 in necessary medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury or a victim’s death. If a car accident results in these serious losses, the victim will have the right to sue the at-fault party outside of the no-fault system. If a driver wishes to reject this limitation on the right to sue, he or she can do so by filling out a special form and submitting it to the Department of Insurance.
Note that in the case of a motorcycle, PIP insurance is not mandatory. If the motorcyclist chooses not to purchase this insurance coverage, however, he or she is still considered to have accepted the limited right to sue option. This means he or she cannot recover the first $10,000 of a motorcycle injury claim from an at-fault party after an accident
If your injuries or damages are serious, it is definitely a good idea to seek legal counsel so you aren’t stuck paying out of pocket for another person’s negligence.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of No-Fault Insurance Statutes?
No-fault insurance systems are uncommon, as most states have switched to fault-based or tort-based systems instead. One of the disadvantages of living in a no-fault insurance state is that it can be difficult to hold someone else responsible for causing your car accident. You will generally only have the right to sue another driver if your injuries meet Kentucky’s threshold. Your legal options will be limited, and a negligent driver may not face any repercussions for his or her actions.
Another disadvantage is that these states have higher insurance premiums, since more coverage is required. This means you will pay more for your car insurance coverage than you most likely would in a fault-based car insurance state. Higher premiums are also in place to offset the costs of insurance fraud, which is more common in no-fault states. On the plus side, an advantage of the no-fault system is that you can receive insurance benefits after a car accident even if you caused or contributed to the crash.
With a first-party insurance claim, you do not have to prove that another driver is to blame or spend as much money in litigation costs to qualify for compensation. You can also receive a faster payout since your claim does not require an investigation to establish fault. PIP insurance can also cover a range of expenses outside of just medical care, including household services and childcare.
How to Determine Fault for an Auto Accident in Kentucky
If your carrier pays expenses, which they should , they will be reimbursed by the negligent party’s insurance, so the proper party will pay for your damages.
Sometimes determining who was at fault for an accident can be challenging, but it is up to the parties involved to gather as much evidence as possible to defend their case. Generally speaking, the more evidence one can gather the better, as more evidence can lead to better compensation from the at-fault party. The following is a list of things to keep in mind immediately after an accident:
- Everyone should receive proper medical attention before worrying about gathering evidence. This should be obvious. People’s lives are most important and it is crucial to make sure that everyone is in a stable condition before proceeding to gather evidence
- Do not rush to provide any opinion other that what you are sure has happened. Your life can be turned upside down in a matter of seconds, it is important to stay calm, cool, and collected. Sometimes you do not have a recollection of what occurred, you should report you do not know if you are just upset but you cannot remember, or if you know what happened just provide what you remember. You do not need to feel compelled to give more than you can remember
- Take photos. A picture can be worth 1,000 words. This especially holds true when it comes to proving fault in an auto accident.
- Take notes. The best time to write things down is directly after the accident when things are still fresh in your mind, as opposed to trying to recall the events a little while later. Document things like personal injuries, factors that led to the accident, damages to vehicles, etc.
- Gather witness testimonies. Reliable witness testimonies can be helpful in your case. Make sure to get names, addresses, phone numbers, and detailed descriptions from anyone who saw what happened and can help your case.
In some collisions determining the negligence of the person who caused it is very apparent. , like in the case of a DUI car crash where a red light was ran, it may not be as easy in other cases as each state has unique definitions of negligence.
Thankfully, the attorneys at Hendy Johnson Vaughn Emery are familiar with local state laws and well-trained for these types of situations. Should you ever find yourself the victim of a serious car accident please call (859)-578-4444 or contact us online to get help from some of the most highly trained Louisville car accident lawyers who can insure proper reimbursement for your injuries and damages.