How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Work in KY?
When someone is injured in a motor vehicle accident in Kentucky, one of the first things they need to do is file a claim with their auto insurance company. Kentucky is a “no-fault” state, which means that the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) portion of their insurance policy covers injured parties for medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses related to the injury (up to the limits of the policy) regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
A minimum of $10,000 of PIP coverage is required for all auto insurance policies in Kentucky. You can opt out of PIP, but in order to do so, you must send a written No-Fault Rejection Form to the Kentucky Department of Insurance. Some insurance companies offer additional PIP coverage for a higher premium, and depending on the policy, you may be able to purchase up to $50,000 worth of coverage. PIP not only covers an injured driver, it also extends to passengers in the vehicle, pedestrians, and bicyclists who may have been injured in the accident.
One of the main advantages of having Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is that you can go directly to your own insurer for the first $10,000 (or whatever your policy limits are) of your medical bills and lost wages after a car accident without having to prove that the other driver was at fault. This means that in motor vehicle accidents with minor injuries, it is possible to be made totally financially whole just from what is available through your PIP coverage. And with more serious accidents, at the very least, you can begin getting some of your medical bills and lost earnings paid while your lawyer works to resolve the claim with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
When Does PIP not Apply in a Kentucky Auto Accident?
There are some instances in which PIP will not cover an accident. These include:
- Uninsured Motorists: If the owner of the vehicle involved in an accident does not have any insurance at all, then of course they will not have PIP coverage. However, when this is the case, a passenger or another involved party may be able to obtain PIP benefits through their own auto insurance policy.
- PIP Rejected: As we covered earlier, if a vehicle owner rejected PIP coverage, then it would not be available for injuries from an accident. This rejection generally extends to every household member whose name is on the rejection form. But even if PIP coverage is rejected for the driver and other household members, “guest” PIP coverage still must be maintained for other passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists who are not household members.
- Work-Related Accidents: Accidents that happen during the course of employment are generally not covered by PIP. For example, if you were making a delivery for your employer when the accident occurred, this would be considered “work-related.” Driving to and from work and driving out to lunch when you are off the clock are not usually considered work-related, and PIP coverage should be available in these circumstances.
- Some Motorcycle Accidents: In Kentucky, motorcyclists are not required to have PIP coverage, although they can purchase it if they want to. Of course, if a motorcycle that is involved in an accident does not have PIP insurance, then this coverage would not be available for an injured rider.
Are there Any Disadvantages to Selecting PIP Coverage?
It is recommended that you carry PIP insurance, but you should be aware of some of its limitations. Chief among these is that PIP coverage limits the amount you can collect for lost wages to $200 per week. And if you earn less than $200 a week, you receive 85% of your normal wages. This may not be enough to compensate many people in the workforce, and if you earn more than $200 a week, you may want to consider disability insurance as a supplement to what you have available through the PIP portion of your auto policy.
The other major limitation of having PIP coverage is that you can only file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver under certain circumstances:
- The accident resulted in at least $1000 in medical costs;
- You suffered a fracture/broken bone;
- You suffered a permanent injury or disfigurement;
- The accident resulted in a fatality.
These restrictions are the reason some people reject PIP coverage with their auto insurance. But these days, $1000 is not a high threshold to cross for medical bills, and if you have an injury with losses that are well in excess of the limits of your PIP coverage (and thus worth filing a lawsuit over), it is almost certain that your medical expenses will exceed $1000.
Injured in an Auto Accident in Kentucky? Call John H Ruby and Associates for Legal Help
If you or someone close to you has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is always a good idea to speak with an experienced accident injury lawyer, so you can have your case fully assessed and be advised of your legal rights and options. If the accident occurred in the Louisville, LaGrange, Shepherdsville or Shelbyville, KY areas, call John H. Ruby and Associates at 502-895-2626 or message us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.