How Are Damages Determined in Kentucky Accidents?
Accidents in Kentucky involving a car or truck can be frightening and frustrating. Your first concerns will naturally be the state of your health and that of your passengers, and then your concern will turn to the condition of your car. Beyond the initial shock of the accident your focus will quickly focus on concerns about money. The laws governing damages for Kentucky accidents are complicated, even though it is a “choice no-fault” insurance state.
To help you understand your options, here is an overview of the types of damages and how they are determined for Kentucky accidents.
Types of Damages
Compensatory damages are the type you will be most concerned with after an accident. They cover loss and injury due to what someone else did or failed to do. The purpose is to make up for what you have lost or stand to lose as a result of the accident.
Specific types of compensatory damages include:
- Current medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Immediate expenses you pay yourself, like medicine, bandages, child care
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Mental pain and suffering
- Physical pain and suffering
- Current lost wages
- Inability to work in the future, resulting in lost wages
- Repair or replacement of the vehicle
- Cost to rent a car
- Loss of consortium (loss of love and affection)
Another type of damages is punitive damages, which is all about punishing the person who caused or contributed to the accident. It is often difficult to pursue this type of claim, because it requires you to prove the other person was guilty of malicious, reckless or wanton behavior. Awards for punitive damages for Kentucky accidents are fairly rare.
Does “Choice No-Fault” Affect Damages?
Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” insurance state. If you are in an accident and have purchased insurance in Kentucky, you work first, and often solely, with your own insurance company. It doesn’t matter who was at fault in a Kentucky accident.
As a rule, you can file a liability claim or lawsuit only when your medical costs or the severity of the injuries meet a certain threshold, but there are exceptions. For example, you can opt-out of no-fault and buy conventional, or tort-based, insurance. Or even if your insurance is no-fault, you can still file a claim depending on the specific circumstances of your accident.
The extent of your damages is also influenced by comparative fault rules. That means if you are partially to blame for the accident, this will affect your compensation. If it is decided that you were 25% to blame for the accident, then your overall claim will be reduced by one-quarter. For example, if your settlement is $100,000, then you would actually receive $75,000, which is $100,000 minus 25%.
Benefits of Consulting a Personal Injury Lawyer
Sound confusing? It is. The average citizen is lost in the maze of rules that govern how damages are awarded and how their insurance factors into the award process. A fender-bender is one thing, but after any serious accident, it makes sense to check with a Kentucky personal injury attorney.
After an accident, you need to notify both your insurance company and the insurance company of the other driver. In cases of serious injury or extensive damage, the other insurer will want you to make an official statement.
If you haven’t already, this is the time to contact a Kentucky personal injury lawyer. The formal questioning can be intimidating and confusing. A lawyer who is familiar with the process can explain what happens, its purpose and what you should expect. Most importantly, they can go over the types of questions you will be asked.
With a lawyer at your side, you have a better chance of receiving a fair settlement. The aim of the other driver’s insurer is for you to sign a release and often get you to settle for far less than your claim may be wirth. Your lawyer can make sure the compensation they offer covers all of your expenses, not just your immediate medical expenses and repair to the car.
On your own, you can have a difficult time giving a value to pain and suffering and future medical expenses. A personal injury lawyer experienced with Kentucky accident cases understands what types of documentation are needed and how to present them. They routinely faces insurance company lawyers and they know how to successfully negotiate with them. If the case goes to trial, they can effectively present your side of the accident to the judge and jury.
John H. Ruby & Associates has been successfully helping victims in Kentucky accidents for over a decade. A native of the state, he has a thorough understanding of its laws and how accident cases are handled. He has years of hands-on knowledge on the most effective ways to deal with insurance lawyers.
Contact John H. Ruby & Associates, at (502) 895-2626 today to set up a consultation for experienced help with all types of Kentucky accidents.