How does a car accident settlement work in Kentucky? Kentucky is a no-fault state. As such, your insurance company will cover your car accident up to the coverage limit in your policy. Filing a claim with your insurance company is the first step in a car accident settlement process.
The company will investigate your accident and gather the evidence required to determine recoverable damages. The company will offer you a settlement after investigations and valuing your claim. You can file an appeal if the settlement amount is inadequate or the claim is denied. Car accident cases seldom reach a trial phase. These cases go to court only when there is a breakdown in the car accident settlement process due to unsuccessful negotiations or bad faith insurance acts by your insurer.
Strictly adhere to the time limit for initiating car accident claims or lawsuits in Kentucky to improve your chances of winning a settlement case. Late filing of a claim leads to its automatic dismissal. Consider also involving a car accident lawyer with a deep understanding of car accident laws in Kentucky and success rates in resolving car accident claims or suits.
What Is the Car Accident Settlement Process in Kentucky?
A car accident settlement process is the whole series of actions that leads to settling your claim without going to trial. It involves the following:
Filing an Insurance Claim
This is the initial step in a car accident settlement process. Starting an insurance claim helps you recover out-of-pocket expenses, losses, and other damages incurred in a car accident. Wage loss, medical expenses, and pain and suffering are some potential damages you may pursue by filing an auto insurance claim.
You must collect all relevant information and evidence to bolster your claim. The evidence you need includes medical records, photos and video footage of the accident scene, wage statements, and a letter from your employer. In addition, you can record witness statements and take photographs of your injuries.
Insurance Policy Review and Sending a Demand Letter
After collecting all the relevant evidence, you should review your policy to understand your coverage limit and other information that might help your case. Next, prepare a detailed demand letter and send it to your insurance company. The letter includes information about your claim, injuries suffered, and the expected settlement amount. Your insurer will investigate your claim after receiving your demand letter. It may accept or deny your claim.
Your insurance provider will make an offer after investigating your claim, calculating the damages you incurred. It is advisable to review the first offer with your attorney. Doing that enables you to accept or reject it based on its ability to cover expenses and losses.
Your attorney may help you start negotiations with your insurer if the initial settlement offer is unreasonable. Back-and-forth negotiations may ensue until both parties come to a mutual agreement.
The final settlement is the last stage of the car accident settlement process. Your insurer will fulfill its part of the bargain. If the settlement amount somehow feels inadequate, you can appeal. If your insurance company fails to act convincingly, you may file a complaint with the Department of Insurance.
If the above legal moves fail, the case may head to trial. Consequently, the control of the settlement process leaves the domain of the negotiating parties. The unforeseen risk is that a jury’s verdict may be unfavorable to one or both parties.
Even if the case heads to trial, both parties can still resolve to settle. Settlement negotiations permeate through the life of the case.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing Car Accident Claims in Kentucky?
In Kentucky, you must file a car accident claim within two years of the accident. Getting a lawyer and starting the claims process as soon as possible protects your case from passing the deadline.
What to Do After a Car Accident
The actions you take after a car accident are crucial for your safety and also your claim. In the aftermath of a car accident, dial 911 and call the law enforcement officers. Assess your injuries and those of the involved parties. Take photographs of the car accident scene, as they are crucial pieces of evidence.
Exchange personal contacts and insurance information with the other involved parties. If there are witnesses during the accident, get their contact information and written consent on their willingness to testify to support your claim.
Even though you can file a claim without assistance, have your personal injury attorney file it. Doing that increases your chances of winning a maximum settlement on your claim. Your attorney will gather additional evidence and maintain all the records concerning the accident.
Seek immediate medical attention after the car accident. Do this even if you feel uninjured or do not have any visible injuries. Some injuries may be internal and hidden from the naked eye. Have a medical practitioner assess you and give a full medical report. If you are injured, the medical report forms part of the evidence when filing your claim.
Accident Report Requirement
Kentucky car accident laws require you to notify the police department in your area if a collision results in a fatality or injury, or damages a vehicle to a state of inoperability. The law requires you to file a written accident report with the police within 10 days if a car collision results in no death or personal injury and your vehicle is still operable, but damage to your car exceeds $500.
Average Kentucky Car Accident Settlement Amounts
You will require funds to cater to the damages resulting from a car accident. The car accident settlement amount that you can recover is subject to your accident’s unique circumstances. In Kentucky, the average payout for minor injuries is about $8,000. For moderate and severe injuries, the average payout is between $34,000 and $360,000. However, Kentucky places no caps on the amount of damages you can claim.
You can claim economic and non-economic damages arising from car accident injuries. Economic damages are monetary losses and expenses that can be proven through a receipt or any other supporting documentation. Examples of these damages include hospital bills, wage loss, and property damage.
Non-economic damages refer to monetary losses arising from a car accident. The damages are intangible. Your attorney must prove these damages for them to be included in your total compensation. Examples of such damages include pain and suffering, disability, and scarring.
How Car Accident Settlements Are Paid
Kentucky follows a no-fault auto-insurance rule. This prevents you from recovering compensation through the other driver’s insurance company. Instead, your insurance company covers losses arising from your accident and injuries up to your policy limit.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
It is a requirement for all insurance providers in Kentucky to offer PIP benefits with all car insurance coverage. Benefits under PIP include compensation for medical costs, lost income, and replacement services.
Exceptions to the Kentucky No-Fault Rule
You can terminate the no-fault rule if your injuries exceed the no-fault threshold. This is possible in the event of a broken bone, permanent injury, medical bills exceeding $1000, or death. In such instances, the state allows you to seek compensation for all your economic and non-economic damages.
If you decide to terminate the no-fault system rule, you will need to complete a special form and submit it to the Department of Insurance. Terminating the rule removes limitations on your rights to sue. Note that just as opting out of the no-fault system allows you to exercise the right to sue other parties, you can also be sued.
A car accident attorney can guide you through the process of opting out of the Kentucky no-fault rule. After that, the attorney can also help you determine fault and pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
As observed above, filing a car accident claim is a tedious task in Kentucky. The car accident settlement process has numerous legal hurdles, which require an attorney with many years of legal practice.
A car accident attorney can double your chances of winning a decent compensation. An attorney will handle all your paperwork and everything that goes into starting a claim with your insurer while you concentrate on your healing journey.
If you receive a settlement offer, your attorney may advise you to reject it if it is insufficient to cover all your damages. If need be, your attorney will move your case to court and aggressively represent your best interests. The attorney will also discuss common car accident lawsuit myths to help you avoid costly mistakes and make an informed decision.