Kentucky is a “no fault” state. Many people injured in accidents have been mistakenly told that if “no fault” is determined, then they don’t have an injury claim. This is not the case. In Kentucky fault is based on percentages. Each party is entitled to recover their damages for the other person’s fault up to 100%. For instance, if I am 35% at fault for causing an accident, I am still entitled to recover 65% of my total damages.
So what is meant by “no fault”? In Kentucky, injured persons give up the right to sue the other person for their first $10,000.00 in economic damages, in exchange for receiving $10,000.00 in insurance benefits (PIP benefits). The term “no fault” means “no fault” is considered in the award of these benefits. Even if a person is 100% responsible for a car accident, they are still entitled to PIP benefits if they were injured in a car accident and have insurance coverage.
The belief is that if an injured person’s medical expenses and lost wages (up to $10,000) are paid, they won’t be forced to file a lawsuit to recover those damages from the other person. This is supposed to lead to less fights over “fault” and actually result in the prompt payment of these damages.
Unfortunately, Kentucky’s “no fault” procedure is a statutory scheme that can be quite complicated. Avoid basing decisions regarding your potential claim on the statements of police officers, medical personnel, insurance adjusters, relatives or friends. You may need the services of a licensed attorney if there is an issue regarding fault for your accident or if your PIP benefits or bodily injury claim has been reduced or denied due to “fault”.
You recently received a package from the court by certified mail, or worse, delivered by the Sheriff. You open the package to discover it is a court issued summons identifying you as a party in a lawsuit. The summons says you have 20 days to respond. Congratulations, you’re getting sued, now what?
The most important thing is don’t ignore the summons. Ignoring a summons can result in huge penalties in court. While no one likes to get sued, ignoring the situation will only make it worse.
A civil summons is a document that puts a party on notice that a lawsuit has been filed against them. Included with the summons is the initial complaint. You should read the entire complaint that came with the lawsuit. The complaint sets out the claim and relief sought by the party filing the lawsuit. You should then seek the appropriate attorney who handles the type of lawsuit in the compliant. Time is important. Any delay can hurt your case.
If the complaint is for damages in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact your insurance company immediately. You have a duty to notify them under the insurance contract. Once notified, the insurance company has a duty to hire a lawyer to represent you under the insurance contract.
In most other cases, even though you might have to pay for a lawyer, it is usually wise to retain a lawyer or at the very least consult one. Many consultations are free and are usually helpful. If you can’t afford a lawyer, reach out to nonprofit organizations or your county or state bar association for programs that provide free or reduced legal representation.
Thinking about representing yourself? Don’t. Let me repeat, don’t. Lawyers are required to be licensed after extensive education, testing, venting, and training. In order to represent clients in court, a lawyer must have a firm knowledge of countless rules and procedures. Even some lawyers and judges can have difficulty understanding these rules.
I recently witnessed two cases in court where the parties tried to represent themselves with equally disastrous results. Even though the first party had managed to file a response to the initial complaint, she had failed to comply with timelines set forth by the rules. She was being compelled to respond in 7 days by the Judge, who was not happy. When the hearing was over, you could tell she was still unsure about what she should do to comply with the Judge’s order.
In the second case, the party failed to respond within 20 days and was facing a default judgment. A default judgment is a judgment against a party that is entered for their failure to respond to the summons and complaint within 20 days. Once entered the party can no longer defend themselves against the allegations in the lawsuit and may face damages, court costs or attorneys fees from the other party. The court gave the second party some additional time to provide a reason why a response wasn’t filed. If one wasn’t, she would enter the default judgment. Unfortunately, none of the responses given in court would prevent the judge from entering it.
It is very difficult for a lawyer who is hired too late in a case, to change the current bad situation. Even if they can, you will likely pay more attorney fees in getting a bad situation undone, then you would have paid hiring an attorney immediately. If your case involves an insurance company, failure to act immediately may prejudice your insurance company, who might have defenses to the duties set forth in the contract.
There is an old saying among lawyers; “He who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.” You’re getting sued, now what? Well, start by not being a fool.
UPDATE: We always like to update and repost this article during the summer months.
During the summer months the chances that someone will be injured in a boating accident are very likely. Unlike cars, boat operators are not required in Kentucky to have an operating license or driver education. This increases the chances that an operator of a boat will be involved in an accident, whether or not it’s his fault.
Thousands of boats take to the lakes and rivers of Kentucky each year without insurance. Did you know that if you’re injured in a boat accident you might not be entitled to recover your lost wages, medical expenses, disability, or pain and suffering? Unlike car insurance that is mandatory, boat insurance is purely optional. Chances are you could be riding on an uninsured boat or injured by one. If you are not the owner, you should ask the owner if the boat is insured. If you are the owner, operating a boat without insurance isn’t worth the risk. If you injure someone on your boat, you could be liable for damages.
Like cars, boat insurance is available. If you are considering buying boat insurance, make sure that it includes liability coverage to protect you in the event that you injure your passengers or people riding on another boat. It should also include medical payments coverage to pay medical expenses incurred by those injured on your boat that is not involved in an accident. You may also wish to purchase uninsured watercraft coverage if you or your passengers are injured by another boat that does not carry insurance.
Unfortunately, this uninsured watercraft coverage is optional and must be purchased in addition to the coverages mentioned earlier. However, many insurance policies offer discounts similar to car insurance for experienced boaters or those who have taken operation classes.
If you own a boat or plan on riding one this summer, make sure it has insurance in case of a boating accident. If it does, make sure it has the optional uninsured watercraft coverage in the event the accident is caused by an uninsured boat owner or operator. Given the speed and the lack of safety restraints or features, injures suffered in boating accidents can be catastrophic and even result in death. Don’t take chances. Make sure your boat is insured.
For more information on boater safety, visit the boater education website BOATED.
We are pleased to announce that we have safely moved our prior site to our more secure server. You will notice a green padlock in the address bar. We assure you that our site is now secure and any information it may contain in the form of comments or submissions is entirely safe. We would have done this sooner if we hadn’t experienced the past hacking problems.
You will notice a new look. Our theme, which we have used since 2009, is no longer compatible with the newer security requirements. We will be moving to a newer more exciting theme in the future. However, we will continue to post helpful information on your Kentucky Accident. The look might change, but the information remains the same. We are once again excited to offer content our readers find helpful and useful.
You will also notice a new look to posts. A lot has changed in 10 years. With the recent updates to WordPress, we hope to post more vibrant and visual information. We hope you’ll continue to read. We thank you for your patience this past few months.
After several months, several efforts, and a ton of time we were finally able to get our website back up and functional after a recent hack. This hack left our website outdated and vulnerable and it has suffered in loss of views, loss of content, and loss of relevancy.
Unfortunately, we were not able to restore all the content that we have created over the past 10 years. We will continue attempts to update the site with prior posts and content, but some of the content will never be restored.
We apologize for the recent issues but hope you will continue to visit the site, which was the source of such helpful information over the years. We look forward to helping individuals who have questions about their accident and injury case and in providing them a valuable source of information.
We apologize for the status of the website lately. We have been trying to correct some issues related to a hacking event that occurred recently. Please bear with us, as we attempt to get back lost information and get the site back to running correctly.
WHAS 11 recently reported on a fatal traffic accident in the Louisville area, suffered after a driver struck a tree. The woman driver was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police were investigating whether or not speed and alcohol played a part.
Although the woman was driving an older model Volvo without airbags, there is nothing to suggest that the accident would have been fatal had she been wearing her seatbelt. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), lap-shoulder belt systems reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used by drivers and front-seat passengers.
What happens when you are involved in a car or truck accident and you are not wearing a seatbelt? Not only are you at a higher risk of serious injury and death, but you may be found entirely or partially at fault for your injuries. In Kentucky, this finding of fault on your behalf may eliminate or reduce the compensation you get from the driver, who caused the accident injuring you in the first place. For instance, if your failure to wear a seatbelt is determined to have increased your injuries by 50%, then your recovery will be reduced by 50% as well.
Despite their perceived inconvenience, the time it takes to put on a seatbelt far outweighs the cost in injury and death occurring without them. While wearing a seatbelt doesn’t guarantee that you won’t suffer serious injury or death in an accident, it clearly reduces the chance that occurs. For your sake and the sake of your loved ones, always, always wear your seatbelt.
If you were involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you may need the services of a qualified Kentucky accident attorney. He can evaluate the significance of such a failure on your claim and advise you of the options you might have. Do not take the insurance company’s word that because you weren’t wearing a seatbelt you aren’t entitled to any recovery.
Tragic highway accident kills 11 in Kentucky. Courier Journal reports on tractor-trailer which crossed the center line hitting a van head-on. Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those in such a tragic accident.
The Courier Journal article has been updated with more facts regarding the accident and victims, including the names of those involved. You can access the new article by clicking the link above.
Toyota Motor Company dismissed the story of a Prius owner who previously reported that his car sped out of control on the California freeway. I previously posted about the driver’s claim that his Prius sped out of control when he tried to pass another vehicle on the freeway. He drove for about 30 miles before a CHP officer was able to assist him in stopping the vehicle.
Toyota claims that a review of the car, including the onboard computer, failed to identify a malfunction. They also claim that the information gathered would appear to contradict the owner’s claims of how the accident happened. Toyota has maintained throughout that electronics are not to blame for sudden acceleration claims by Toyota owners.
The Today Show’s Matt Laurer reports on a driver’s claim that his 2008 Prius went wild on the California freeway prompting a frantic 911 call. The Toyota Prius was not one of those recently recalled by Toyota, although some Prius models have been. Watch the responding police officer and the frantic driver talk about his efforts to hit the brakes to slow the car, without success.
The information provided in this website is meant for informational and educational purposes only. It is not meant and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The facts of your accident case are specific. You may need a qualified attorney to review the specific facts of your case and provide the appropriate legal advice. You should not rely on the information contained in this site to discourage you from seeking the appropriate legal advice for your situation.