LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY PERSONAL INJURY LAW
No one likes to think that a serious injury will happen to them or a family member. After all, you’re probably extremely careful to make sure that you and everyone else stays safe. Unfortunately, you can’t control the actions of other people and may find yourself injured by the negligent actions of someone else. Whether you’re struck by an inattentive driver, bitten by a dog, or slip and fall at a store, the results of your injury can be life-changing. Below we discuss some of the most common categories of personal injury that clients request our assistance with at John H. Ruby & Associates.
Car accidents happen for a variety of reasons, including speeding, inattention, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, drunk driving, and drowsy driving. The injuries from your auto accident may be severe enough to cause permanent injuries and affect your ability to earn a living. This is especially true if you have been involved in a commercial truck accident. However, it’s common for injuries not to show up until several weeks or even months later. In Kentucky, you have one year from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver. The exception to this is if you don’t connect your injuries with your accident until a later date. In that case, you have two years from the date of discovery. Our office also helps with railroad crossing accidents, pedestrian accidents, and with motorcycle accidents.
Statute of limitations in Kentucky Car Accident Cases
The statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents in Kentucky is a little more complicated than for most other types of injury claims. If your vehicle has no-fault insurance with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, then your statute of limitations is two years from the date in which the last PIP payment is made by the insurance company. However, if you do not have insurance on your vehicle or you are from out of state and your vehicle is insured by a carrier that is not licensed in Kentucky, you may not have PIP coverage, in which case the statute of limitations for an injury claim would be just one year.
Motorcyclists, whether insured by a carrier that is licensed in the state of Kentucky or not, often do not have PIP coverage. PIP can be expensive, and motorcyclists are not required to carry it. For this reason, many of them choose not to. Again, without PIP coverage, the one-year statute of limitations would apply. It is also important to note that if someone is killed in a motor vehicle accident, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is one year from the date of the accident.
Slip and Fall Accident
When you visit a business or a personal residence, you have the reasonable expectation that the property owner has removed potential hazards. For example, if you visited a friend and tripped over a toy on the steps or slipped on an uneven rug at a business, you could have a legitimate personal injury case. Even if the person claims he or she didn’t know about the hazard, judges typically consider whether that person should have known and taken better precautions to prevent an injury. Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of personal injury and the one-year statute of limitations that comes with it or two years after discovery.
Dog and Other Animal Bites
Kentucky is a strict liability state when it comes to domestic animals inflicting injury on others through bites, scratches, or attacks. Strict liability means that the animal’s owner bears responsibility for it biting someone else even if the animal has no previous history of aggressive behavior or took reasonable precautions to prevent the attack. Kentucky statute 258.235(4) describes the responsibility that owners of domestic animals have if their pet causes injury to a person, another pet, livestock, or property.
In these types of personal injury cases, judges consider whether the person bitten by a dog or other animal had a legal right to be on the property and whether he or she provoked the animal to attack in any way. Since Kentucky is a pure contributory negligence state, the amount of the bite victim’s reward could be reduced by the percentage that the judge finds him or her responsible for the bite. The one-year statute of limitations from date of injury or two years from date of discovery apply here as well.
The designer and manufacturer of a product have the legal and moral obligation to ensure it’s safe for consumers to use. This includes the product packaging. Each product should come with specific use instructions and warnings as to any potential dangers. You could have a case for personal injury if you can prove that either the manufacturer or designer knew about a possible danger but concealed it from the public. Retailers also bear some responsibility for ensuring the safety of products before displaying them in their stores or offering them for sale online.
It can be challenging to determine who in a product’s supply chain is responsible for injuries sustained by using the product. It could even be a wholesaler or distributor. The advantage of working with a personal injury attorney at John H. Ruby & Associates is that we have the experience and legal tools to determine the responsible party or parties in a product liability claim. Under the Kentucky statute of limitations, you have one year from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. The discovery rule also applies to this category of injury. State law assumes the product was not defective if injury, property damage, or death occurred eight or more years from the manufacture date.
Medical malpractice cases can be challenging because you must prove that the physician or surgeon’s actions alone caused your injuries. Typically, you must meet the following four criteria to even file a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Demonstrate a legitimate doctor-patient relationship
- Prove that the doctor’s provision of care, which includes medical decisions on your behalf, treatment, or the failure to treat, fell below what a reasonable person would consider a standard level of care. This is called a breach of care in legal language.
- A connection between the medical provider’s actions and your current injuries or illness
- Quantifiable harm, which means you can prove a relationship between the actions and your medical issues
State law gives you just one year from the date of injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit with allowance for reasonable discovery. It also imposes a five-year limitation on filing a suit from the date of occurrence.
Types of Compensation You Can Recover in a Personal Injury Case
If you win a personal injury lawsuit, you could be awarded compensatory damages, punitive damages, or both. Compensatory damages cover your actual losses, such as medical expenses, time missed from work, and property damages. They also include non-financial costs such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. Since these types of damages are much more subjective, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your right to a maximum payout. Punitive damages punish the defendant if his or her actions leading to your injury were especially reckless.
These are a few common types of damages or compensation awarded in long-term injury cases:
- Medical expenses
You would require compensation for surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, medications, and doctor visits among other necessary medical treatments. You should also be able to recover the cost of assistive modifications and aids made to your home, such as wheelchair ramp, wheelchair, and prosthetic.
- Lost earning capacity and lost wages
You should seek compensation for vacation and sick time, lost wages (past and future), and other perks that come with your job. You could also seek future lost earning capacity if you are required to make a career change because of your injuries or are unable to return to work because of permanent disability. Future lost earning capacity compensates for the income lost.
- Pain and suffering
You are entitled to the emotional trauma, pain and suffering, as a result of the injuries.
- Personal assistance
Many victims require a personal care worker depending on their injuries to help with day-to-day activities. Or you may require the assistance of a home health care aide for helping you with your medical needs. You should ensure that these costs are included in the settlement amount.
Even a minor accident can have a significant impact on your life. We encourage you to contact John H. Ruby & Associates in Louisville, Kentucky for a free consultation about your case. You can reach us locally at 502-895-2626 or toll-free at 888-367-1969.