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Types of Negligence in Kentucky Car Accident Cases

Male driver with whiplash injury getting out of car after traffic accident. Types of negligence

Types of negligence in Kentucky car accident cases include the pure comparative negligence, vicarious liability, gross negligence, and negligent entrustment. You have the burden of proof to show that the defendant is responsible for the harm you suffered. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you meet this burden of proof requirement by evaluating your case, gathering evidence, preparing strong legal arguments, and representing you in court.

Common types of car accidents in Kentucky that are on the rise include hit-and-run, rear-end, T-bone, and drunk driving accidents. You may be eligible to file a car accident claim or lawsuit when involved in a car accident where someone else is negligent. The claim will help you recover compensation to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, and other possible losses or expenses.

Car Accident Statistics in Kentucky

The total reported collisions on public roads in Kentucky increased by 9.8% in 2021 compared to 2020. Kentucky recorded 119,449 collisions in 2020 and 131,208 collisions in 2021. Here are other key car accident statistics you should know:

  • 704 fatal collisions in 2020 and 734 in 2021
  • 19,322 nonfatal collisions in 2020 and 20,117 in 2021
  • 80,761 cases of property damage on public roads in 2020 and 88,440 in 2021

One in every 5,526 Kentucky residents succumbed to a fatal traffic collision on the state’s public road. The ratio of residents injured in traffic collisions was 1 in 150, while the ratio of licensed drivers involved in traffic accidents was 1 in 22. The ratio of drivers in Kentucky involved in a fatal collision was 1 in 3,609.

Types of Car Accidents in Kentucky

Car accidents in Kentucky fall into different categories depending on the cause. They also vary with the location and impact on the victim. Here are common types of car accidents in Kentucky:

Head-on collisions

This accident occurs when two vehicles collide head-to-head.

Rear-end collisions

This crash happens when a forward-moving vehicle hits the back of another vehicle.

Single-vehicle accidents

This crash refers to any accident where only one vehicle sustains damage.

Intersection accidents

This accident happens at intersections.

Multi-vehicle accidents

These accidents involve several vehicles.

Hit-and-run collisions

A hit-and-run accident involves the at-fault driver fleeing the accident scene.

Rollover, parking lot, T-bone, pedestrian, and drunk driving are other types of car accidents.

Top Injuries From Car Accidents

A car accident can leave you with injuries like whiplash, head injury, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, or bone fractures. You may also suffer head/brain injuries or psychological injuries.

Whiplash is an injury that occurs when your head moves forward and backward in a quick succession. It can damage the neck muscles, discs, or joints. Back/spinal cord injuries like spinal fractures, disc slips, and back strains can cause back pain and mobility issues.

Symptoms of car accident-related head injuries may include memory and concentration problems, mood swings, and headaches. You may also suffer broken legs or arms from a car accident. Symptoms include swelling, severe pain, and bruising, depending on the location of the fracture.

Types of Negligence in Kentucky

Although Kentucky is a no-fault insurance state, you may need to bring a claim against the liable driver to obtain a financial recovery that covers the full extent of your losses. In such a case, you must prove that the other driver owed you a duty of care under Kentucky accident laws. You also need to demonstrate that the party breached that duty of care. Your claim should prove that the party’s failure caused your injuries and determine the extent of the injury and compensation amount.

Kentucky follows the pure comparative rule. However, it also observes the negligent entrustment and gross negligence standards. Here is a breakdown of these types of negligence:

Comparative Negligence

Kentucky follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This rule helps determine fault in car accident cases where both parties are negligent. It lets you collect damages even if you are at fault in the accident. It, however, lowers your total recoverable damages by your percentage of fault.

Fault determination influences the final payout, as insurance companies try their level best to lower their clients’ liability and reduce the value of claims. As such, you must work with a lawyer conversant with tactics insurance companies use to deny or undervalue claims to protect your rights and maximize your compensation.

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence goes beyond carelessness. It arises when a person shows extreme disregard for other people’s safety. You may receive punitive damage on top of the compensatory damages if you got injured in an accident where the liable party was grossly negligent. Punitive damages punish grossly negligent defendants and discourage similar conduct in the future.

Note that gross negligence is different from common and regular negligence. A common negligence case may involve an at-fault party that fails to show a level of care reasonable people would show in the same situation. On the other hand, regular negligence cases are usually caused by simple mistakes.

Vicarious Liability

Also known as imputed liability, the vicarious liability rule holds entities or individuals liable for actions their employees or others commit. The rule allows you to pursue an accident claim against the party directly responsible for harming you and others who were vicariously responsible for your losses.

An exception to the vicarious liability rule is that employers aren’t vicariously liable for agents outside their control. Independent contractors are a perfect example of such agents. So, if you sustain an injury due to an independent contractor’s negligence, you will have to hold the contractor, not the employer, liable for your injuries.

Negligent Entrustment

The negligent entrustment rule applies to car accident cases where the at-fault driver does not own the vehicle. Under this rule, the vehicle’s owner will be liable for your injuries/damages regardless of the driver’s negligence and carelessness. Your lawyer may request this rule to be applied to your case if the vehicle owner knowingly entrusted the vehicle to a reckless, careless, or inexperienced person.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

Though you are entitled to compensation for suffering injuries in a car accident caused by someone else, your case should meet the burden of proof requirement. You must prove that the negligent party’s negligence directly caused your injuries. Evidence that presents your case as fact is the most important evidence needed in a car accident case.

One of the key elements of the burden of proof for negligence is a preponderance of the evidence. To prove something by a preponderance of the evidence means that it’s more likely to be true than not. You may use this standard when you present evidence that demonstrates your claims are more than 50% likely to be true.

Types of Compensation in Car Accident Claims

Lawyers often help victims secure reasonable car accident settlements from their insurance companies. They also help them secure court-awarded damages if negotiations fail and the case moves to trial.

The compensation you can recover in Kentucky include property damage, lost wages or income, medical bills, and intangible losses like emotional trauma and physical pain and suffering.

You may also receive punitive damages if the judge or jury finds the defendant’s conduct outrageously careless or egregious. An example is when a drunk or intoxicated driver causes an accident that leaves you with severe, long-term injuries.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Navigate Your Case

Your lawyer’s role will depend on the specific details of your car accident case. The lawyer will explain how car accident settlements work in Kentucky, laws applicable to your case, and your available legal options. Other ways a lawyer can help you include:

  • Communicating with the at-fault driver’s insurer.
  • Obtaining important evidence, such as medical records, pictures and videos of the accident scene, witness statements, and expert witness testimony, to help determine fault.
  • Hiring an accident reconstruction team to recreate the accident if necessary. An accident reconstruction report can come in handy in cases where fault is unclear or disputed.
  • Determining the value of your claim
  • Negotiating a favorable settlement with the defendant’s attorney or insurance adjuster.
  • Filing a car accident lawsuit, appearing in court on your behalf, and advocating for your best interest.

The above tasks require a personalized approach. As such, you need to hire a car accident lawyer who inspires confidence in you. Conducting interviews can help you get the right lawyer for your unique situation.

Most car accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. So, you can use this offer to interview at least three lawyers before choosing the right one for your case. Gauge the capabilities and experience of each lawyer to determine who can properly represent your best interests.

Inquire about whom you will be working with, as the lawyer you are interviewing may not be the one who will handle your case. This is especially true when a large firm is involved.

Jay A. Bolotin is a partner at the injury law firm of Young, Reverman & Bolotin. Serving the people of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, Jay dedicates his career to helping clients in the tri-state area obtain financial compensation after suffering serious injuries. He focuses his practice on cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, dog bites and animal attacks, and other types of personal injury incidents.

Years of Experience: More than 25 years
Registration Status:: Active
Bar Admissions: Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Cincinati Bar Association