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What Is the Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Kentucky?

Men calling car mechanic insurance assistance after car accident.

If you or a loved one has sustained injuries in a car accident, you may need to know the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Kentucky. The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the time limit or deadline for filing lawsuits. You have two years to file a car accident claim in Kentucky. The “clock” for this deadline usually starts ticking on the accident date.

Missing the deadline can mean losing your right to seek compensation for injuries, property damage, and other losses incurred from the accident. You should gather enough evidence, build your case, and navigate insurance dealings within this time limit.

If you are unsure about the timeframe, consult a personal injury attorney. The attorney will analyze your situation and explain the relevant laws and deadlines. The lawyer will also help you file a claim on time.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

Laws governing lawsuits in Kentucky comprise rules and guidelines you must follow for things to run smoothly. The statute of limitations in Kentucky ensures lawsuits are brought to court within a fair timeframe. It sets deadlines for filing different kinds of legal claims. If you miss the deadline, the court may not hear your case unless your situation qualifies for an exception to the state-imposed filing deadline.

Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Claims in Kentucky

You have a two-year time limit from the crash date to file your claim with the appropriate court in Kentucky. One reason for this deadline is that expecting a witness to remember every detail several years after the accident would be unfair. It would also be unjust for the defendant to have a pending lawsuit for years.

While the general rule is to file within two years of your injury, there are situations where this deadline gets put on hold to give you more time to take action. These situations include accidents involving minors and accidents in which the victim sustains a disability.

If you got injured as a minor, the law understands you might not be ready to deal with legal matters. So, the two-year deadline will not start ticking until you turn 18. You will have more time to heal and collect evidence.

The exception may apply to your case if you were seriously hurt and unable to handle things yourself. The clock will not start until you recover enough to make your own decisions. If you are permanently incapacitated, you can entrust a car accident lawyer to help you understand or advocate for your legal rights and file a suit on your behalf.

Your case may be eligible for the exception if the liable party flees the accident scene. The timer can be paused until the liable party is found. This provision ensures that the liable party will not use his or her disappearance to avoid facing legal consequences.

Why Do You Need to Understand the Filing Deadlines?

If you do not act within a specific timeframe, the law may prevent you from filing a lawsuit. Laws set deadlines for filing legal claims, called statutes of limitations. If you miss the deadline, the court may not hear your case.

Seeking Legal Advice

Lawyers have spent years studying the law. So, you can tap into their knowledge when facing a legal situation. Whether you are unsure about a contract, dealing with a disagreement, or navigating a tricky matter, they can explain the law and suggest possible courses of action.

Your car accident claim will be tangled with deadlines and legal jargon. As such, seek legal advice to navigate the legal system when you are uncertain about the timeframe for your claim. With their training and experience, lawyers can decipher complex legal terms and explain relevant statutes of limitations for your case.

Missing a filing deadline can derail your entire claim. A lawyer can identify these deadlines well and ensure you file your claim within the proper time frame. You will not have to worry about last-minute scrambles or missed opportunities.

Kentucky auto accident laws change, regulations evolve, and local variations of existing laws may exist. Lawyers can update you with the latest legal information and ensure you navigate the deadlines correctly. This way, you can avoid unexpected delays.

A lawyer will help you know how to document your car accident injuries, witness statements, and medical records before they fade or disappear. He or she will carry the burden of building a strong claim for you so you can recover from your injuries. The lawyer will also give you peace of mind by answering your questions and ensuring you know what to expect throughout the legal process.

Steps to Take Within the Statute of Limitations

Once you understand the importance of filing deadlines, you must know the steps to take within the statute of limitations. These steps include gathering crucial evidence, informing your insurance company, and exploring your options, as discussed below:

Collect Evidence

With the right evidence, you can demonstrate what happened and who is responsible, depending on the types of negligence. So, start collecting evidence early before the filing deadline reaches. Your sources of evidence will vary depending on what you want to prove.

You can call the police and get a police report. The police report is an official record of the incident. It contains crucial details like time, location, involved parties, and witness statements.

Photos, videos, or a diagram of the accident scene can form part of the evidence. Use your phone to document damage to vehicles, road conditions, skid marks, traffic signs, and visible injuries. You can also find someone to draw a simple accident scene diagram, marking vehicle positions, traffic flow, and other relevant details.

The next step is to gather credible witness statements. While memories are fresh, ask people who saw the accident to share their accounts. Get their names, contact information, and detailed descriptions of what they witnessed and record them to preserve their accuracy.

Even if you feel fine, see a doctor to document your injuries. Your medical records will show the accident’s impact on your health, proving physical and emotional damages. As such, you should obtain copies of medical reports, treatment plans, prescriptions, and bills.

Resist the urge to fix your vehicle immediately. Instead, leave the car unrepaired until an insurance adjuster or accident reconstruction expert can examine it. You should also save receipts related to towing, car rentals, medical expenses, or other accident-related costs that show the financial impact of the accident.

Notify Insurance Company

An insurance company offers some financial protection after a car crash. If you are at fault, the company will try to compensate the other driver’s expenses. If you are the victim, however, the insurer may help you get fair compensation for any injuries or car damage the other driver caused.

To unlock the full potential of your car insurance, you need to speak with your insurance company about the accident. Report the crash to the company within the policy deadline, ideally within the first 24 hours. The insurer will expect you to provide accurate and concise information about the accident, including the date, time, location, and how it happened.

You should also share photos, videos, traffic collision reports, and any other relevant documents you gathered. Insurance companies will likely appoint an adjuster to investigate the accident. So, be patient and cooperative with their inquiries.

Take some time to understand your insurance policy and its specific coverage details. With this knowledge, you can ask informed questions. It also ensures you are seeking the benefits entitled to you.

Negotiate a Settlement or File a Lawsuit

After collecting evidence, notifying your insurance company, and navigating the statute of limitations, you must decide whether to settle or sue. Each decision has its pros and cons. A car accident lawyer can help you explore your options and make a wise decision.

In a car accident, a settlement is when you and the other driver (or his or her insurance company) agree to stop the legal tussle. You will accept a specific amount of money to repair your car, cover medical bills, or ease your pain. The settlement helps you avoid the courtroom.

Settlements are often faster and less expensive than lawsuits. If the insurance company offers a fair amount, accepting it can help close the case fast. However, you may not get the actual value of your claim, especially if your injuries or losses are serious or ongoing.

A lawsuit allows you to fight for the maximum compensation for your damages. You may also hold the other party accountable. On the downside, lawsuits are lengthy and expensive due to the extensive evidence, complex legal procedures, and time-consuming trials.

Remember, every claim is unique. If your injuries are minor and the insurance offer seems fair, settling might be wise. However, for significant or long-term injuries, a lawsuit could be necessary. Your risk tolerance, evidence strength, and legal advice may also influence your decision.

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