It is already stressful to go through a car accident, but if the at-fault motorist has lapsed car insurance, this can create more worries. You might expect every motorist to have car insurance on the road, but this is not always the case.
We understand how exhausting this can be, and our attorneys at Gerling Law can help. Call our experienced lawyers at our Kentucky office locations in Owensboro or Louisville today for further information.
Choice No-Fault Insurance
Kentucky is a choice no-fault state. In other words, drivers involved in an accident can opt out of the no-fault system. If a motorist picks this option, they can choose to file suit against another at-fault motorist. They also open the door to potential lawsuits against themselves.
Most drivers carry no-fault insurance, which means they file a claim first with their own insurer, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Injuries have to meet a certain threshold for drivers to file a liability claim against an at-fault driver.
Kentucky Car Insurance Requirements
It is also crucial to note that liability insurance in Kentucky is mandatory if you have a registered vehicle. There are minimum required amounts for motor vehicles in Kentucky. The minimum coverage amounts are:
- $25,000 for any bodily injury claims of one person,
- $50,000 for bodily injury claims of all involved, and
- $25,000 for any property damage due to the accident.
It is also allowable to have a policy with solely one limit of $60,000 as the minimum.
If a driver has lapsed car insurance or has no insurance, their registration can be revoked. The owner of the vehicle and the driver can also be subject to fines, jail time of up to 90 days, or both.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage
Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is a part of Kentucky’s no-fault system, and motorists need this as well. Drivers must have this coverage on every vehicle, other than motorcycles, in Kentucky. The standard PIP coverage allows each person in an accident to recover lost wages or medical expenses. The minimum amount of PIP coverage in Kentucky is $10,000.
What Must I Do After the Accident?
Contact the Police
After a car wreck, it is crucial that you get in touch with law enforcement officers who can examine the scene. They will be able to speak with the other parties and draw up a police report. It will also help you gather information about the other party’s insurance coverage.
Take Photographs of the Scene
If possible, you should also take pictures of the area where the accident occurred. This includes photos of any damage to your car, skid marks, and weather on the day of the accident.
Write Down Contact Information
You must make sure you write down the name and contact information of the other driver and any witnesses to the crash. It is also prudent to get the name of their insurance carrier even though their insurance has lapsed.
Get to a Doctor
If you have any sort of injury, you should head to a doctor nearby. This is crucial because you may not immediately realize the scope of your injuries. Adrenaline after a car wreck can cause you to not sense as much pain until later.
For example, you may have a bump to your knee due to an accident, but then you might have trouble walking a week afterward. Getting medical treatment after you suffer an injury in a car wreck is vital to pursuing a personal injury claim.
File an Accident Report If Needed
Under Kentucky law, you should make sure that you file an accident report if property damage went above $500 and the police did not investigate. This would be especially critical if the at-fault driver had a lapse in their car insurance. The contents of the police report can serve as crucial evidence in the event you decide to file suit.
You will have a maximum of ten days after the accident to file this report, no matter who was at fault. If a police officer examined the collision site, there is no need to file one. If you need to, you can send in a police report online.
What Are My Options?
There are several options you can choose from if you have been in an accident with an at-fault motorist with insurance that has expired.
Filing a Claim for PIP Benefits
First, you can file a claim for your PIP benefits. Even when the other party has insurance, you would turn to your own PIP benefits first before seeking compensation from the other party. These benefits would go through your car insurance and will help you recover damages. The amount covered depends on your specific policy limit.
PIP benefits are also one of the main types of first-party insurance claims. Since you request PIP benefits under your own insurance policy, you would be filing a first-party claim. This is different than filing a third-party insurance claim, wherein you are filing a claim through the insurance of another driver. A first-party claim is just between you as the policyholder and your insurance company.
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
In Kentucky, there are minimum uninsured motorist (UM) coverage amounts for everyone who has an insurance policy. This means that you can possibly recover damages for your injuries or property damage through this coverage.
Like PIP benefits, a claim under your UM coverage is a first-party insurance claim. However, your insurance company will evaluate your claim the same way a third-party insurer would—by examining the liability of the uninsured party that hit you. You will need to prove they were at fault to recover UM benefits just as you would if you filed a third-party insurance claim.
Filing a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Party
It may be difficult to recover compensation directly from an at-fault motorist whose car insurance lapsed, but it is possible. The amount you can recover will depend on whether the at-fault driver has assets from which to pay a judgment.
If you opted out of the no-fault system or if your injuries are sufficiently serious, you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. By filing a personal injury suit, you may be able to recover compensation. Compensatory damages for which you might recover include monetary as well as non-monetary damages. Some of these damages might include:
- Lost wages,
- Lost earning potential,
- Medical bills,
- Property damage,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of consortium, and
- Emotional distress.
The amount of damages you might be able to recover depends on the circumstances of your situation. If you plan to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver, contact our knowledgeable attorneys. At Gerling Law, we are here to advocate for you.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You
If you have suffered an injury in an accident due to a driver whose car insurance lapsed, you have options. The skillful attorneys at Gerling Law can assist you in filing your claim against the at-fault driver. We can also advise you further about how you can recover damages for your injuries.
Our law firm has obtained over $500 million in recovered compensation for our clients throughout our five-decade history. Consider reaching out to us for a free case review at 866-651-2195 or fill out our form online today.