How Are Non-Economic Damages Determined in Kentucky?

If you or somebody you love sustains an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or business, then you deserve compensation for your losses. When most people think of insurance settlements or jury verdicts, they think about the compensation a person receives for their hospital bills or lost income. These are typically considered economic damages because they are calculable.

However, injury victims in Kentucky also regularly incur various types of non-economic damages as well. These are often referred to as general damages or pain and suffering losses. Here, we want to briefly define non-economic damages, discuss whether or not there are any limitations on this type of compensation, and point you in the right direction towards securing full compensation for your injury losses.

Understanding Non-Economic Damages

As we mentioned, economic damages are intended to pay a person back for the direct monetary losses they incur as a result of the injury. However, there is no easy way to calculate a victim’s pain and suffering that they endure as a result of their injury and their recovery process. There are various types of non-economic damages a person can recover compensation for, with the most common being the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering damages
  • Scarring and disfigurement damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life damages
  • Loss of quality of life damages
  • Mental pain and emotional distress damages

non economic damages in Kentucky

Are There Any Limits on Damages in Kentucky?

There are some states across the country that place limitations (or caps) on the total amount of compensation a person can receive in non-economic damages after a personal injury occurs. However, Kentucky is not one of those states. There are no damage caps in place for personal injury lawsuits in Kentucky. However, it can be more challenging to secure non-economic compensation in the aftermath of a vehicle accident. Kentucky is a “no-fault” state when it comes to vehicle accidents, meaning that each party involved in a vehicle accident will typically turn to their own insurance company to recover compensation.

In Kentucky’s no-fault system, every driver is responsible for carrying personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which pays up to $10,000 for medical expenses, lost wages, and various other out-of-pocket losses a victim may incur after a car accident. In these personal injury cases, drivers typically cannot file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, which means they will not be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages. However, drivers may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party in the event certain thresholds are met, including:

  • If the accident resulted in at least $1,000 in medical bills
  • The accident caused the claimant’s:
    • Permanent disfigurement
    • Fracture of a weight-bearing bone
    • Compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
    • Any permanent injury
    • Any permanent loss of bodily function

It should be noted that drivers are allowed to opt-out of the no-fault vehicle insurance system and instead choose full tort coverage. In these cases, drivers reserve the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party regardless of the level of damage is sustained. It is also important to note that workers’ compensation claims in Kentucky will not payout any non-economic damages. However, if the work injury situation allows for a third-party injury lawsuit to be filed, these damages can be pursued.

Contact an Attorney to Discuss Non-Economic Damages

If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of someone else, you need to seek assistance from a skilled personal injury attorney in Kentucky as soon as possible. An attorney at our law firm will be able to conduct a complete investigation into the case and work with qualified medical and economic experts who can properly calculate total expected losses. This includes economic as well as non-economic losses. Contact our experienced attorneys today to discuss your case.