Kentucky drivers are required by law to carry car insurance, and in order to meet the state requirements for car insurance, drivers need to have at least bodily injury liability insurance and property damage insurance. Kentucky law requires that you hold these coverage types at the following minimums:
$25,000 for bodily injury, per person.
$50,000 for total bodily injury, per accident
$10,000 for property damage
In addition, Kentucky mandates that all vehicle insurance policies include PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. This is also known as “no fault” coverage. (Motorcycle policies do not carry this requirement.) When a person who has been injured in a car accident first hears the term “no fault” it is confusing, because in almost all accidents, someone was at fault. Regardless of who is at fault for an accident, every Kentucky driver has $10,000 in PIP coverage under their auto insurance policy available to them to pay for basic services such as medical bills and expenses as well as a minimal amount for lost wages (up to $200 per week). PIP benefits can also be utilized to cover household expenses if you are not able to perform these tasks yourself following the accident. PIP will reimburse mileage or taxi service to and from doctors’ appointments. In all instances mentioned, it is important to keep all receipts and to document any and all expenses associated with the accident claim.
Think of PIP as a cushion immediately available to you following an accident to help with medical expenses and lost wages. The injured party simply files a claim for PIP benefits on the covered vehicle, whether they were the driver, passenger or pedestrian. This claim needs to be filed as soon as you have notified your insurance company of the accident. Once a PIP claim is established, you will be given a claim number. Anytime you see your doctor or undergo diagnostic testing at a hospital or other facility for the injuries sustained in the accident you will provide the PIP claim number under which the services may be billed.
As everyone knows, hospital emergency rooms and hospital stays are costly. The $10,000 in PIP money will be used up quickly if the injuries are extensive and require weeks or months of treatment and follow up care. Once the $10,000 has been spent to pay medical expenses and/or lost wages (up to $200.00 per week), the remaining medical expenses should be picked up by the injured party’s private health insurance carrier. The PIP funds expended will be reimbursed to your insurance company by the at fault party’s insurance company through a subrogation process that is handled by your insurance company’s subrogation department. Most of the time you will not have to worry about whom will be paying that money back. It will be addressed by your insurance company with the at fault driver’s insurance company.
Because Kentucky is a “no fault” state and some of your medical expenses have been paid by your auto insurance carrier under PIP, this limits your right to sue and be sued (tort rights). This means injured people cannot recover medical expenses, wage loss, other expenses, or pain and suffering from the at-fault party unless their injuries exceed certain thresholds. The thresholds in Kentucky are $1,000 in medical expenses, a broken bone, permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, or death pursuant to KRS 304.39-060.
Therefore, if you meet any of the thresholds mentioned above, you do have the right to file a claim against the at-fault party for an amount that is based on certain variables of your particular accident and resulting injury, such as the amount of your medical bills and out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and the extent of your pain and suffering.