How is Liability Determined in Kentucky Car Accidents?

The last thing anybody expects or wants is to be involved in a car accident in Kentucky. Unfortunately, auto accidents are not uncommon in this state. According to the Kentucky Department of Transportation, there were more than 158,000 total vehicle collisions reported across the state during the latest year of data we have available. These incidents often result in significant property damage and can cause serious bodily injury, which means that liability for the crash needs to be determined. Here, we want to discuss various ways that liability is determined in the aftermath of a vehicle collision in Kentucky.

Is Kentucky a No-Fault Accident State?

The most important thing to understand about Kentucky car accidents is that this is a “choice no-fault” state. This means that drivers in this state have the ability to choose “no-fault” insurance or to go with a traditional “fault-based” insurance plan. When a Kentucky driver chooses no-fault insurance, this means that each driver will turn to their own insurance policy to get compensation for their medical expenses and other financial losses stemming from the vehicle accident, regardless of which party was at fault. In these cases, determining liability is not as important because neither driver will be able to file a liability claim against the other driver unless certain thresholds are met in the car accident. These thresholds include:

  • Accidents involving at least $1,000 in medical bills, or
  • Accidents causing permanent disfigurement, fracture of a weight-bearing bone, compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone, any permanent personal injury, or any permanent loss of bodily function.

In Kentucky, no-fault insurance takes the form of personal injury protection, PIP benefits, which pay up to $10,000 in a victim’s medical bills, lost wages, or other out-of-pocket costs. Drivers can choose to purchase a higher limit of PIP coverage.

Opting Out of Kentucky’s No-Fault Insurance

Vehicle owners in Kentucky are allowed to opt-out of the no-fault system when they are choosing a car insurance company and insurance policy. By opting out of no-fault insurance, this means that the policyholder has the right to pursue legal liability claims against the at-fault driver. Determining liability in these situations is essential. Some of the ways that liability is determined in a fault-based collision include the following:

  • Obtaining any photo or video surveillance available that shows what happened in the incident.
  • Analyzing car accident reports and police reports that may list the causes of the crash.
  • Speaking with any eyewitnesses to the crash. This can include bystanders as well as drivers and passengers who saw the incident occur.
  • Obtaining and analyzing any available vehicle “black box” data or any available cell phone records if distracted driving is suspected.

The total amount of insurance that policyholders must carry if they opt-out of the no-fault system, aside from the $10,000 PIP coverage, includes the following:

  • $25,000 for injuries for a single person
  • $50,000 for all injuries in the accident
  • $10,000 for property damage resulting from the accident

It is strongly recommended that any person who is pursuing a fault-based insurance claim against another driver in Kentucky work with a law firm composed of skilled attorneys to help with their case. Law offices with attorneys that focus on car accidents can use their resources and legal expertise to help ensure the victim receives maximum compensation for their injury claim.