Car accidents can leave people seriously injured. Those injuries are often excruciating and costly to treat. For this reason, many people file an insurance claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or both after a car accident. However, not all car crashes warrant a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. In Kentucky, car drivers are required to carry basic Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. The PIP benefits are also commonly referred to as “no-fault” benefits. The benefits are to be paid to the person injured through the use of a motor vehicle regardless of whose fault the injury is. Basic PIP gives coverage to each person in each accident a minimum of $10,000 to cover out-of-pocket costs for medical expenses or lost wages. So, how do you know if you have a car accident case, and when you should file a claim? Below are some points to consider as you decide whether you should speak with a car accident attorney about your case.
What Are the Laws In The State Where the Accident Happened?
Kentucky statutes state that in exchange for receiving PIP benefits, all individuals who register, maintain, operate, or use a vehicle in Kentucky accept certain limits on their right to recover damages after an accident with injuries. This means that if you have PIP coverage, a lawsuit cannot be filed seeking additional compensation unless the injured person sustained medical expenses greater than $1,000, a broken bone, permanent injury, or death. If you are not sure if you are entitled to PIP benefits, please contact an attorney who can help guide you through the intricacies of the Kentucky PIP statute.
How Long Do You Have to File a Claim for PIP Benefits?
An injury victim has two years after suffering a loss that the person knew or should have known was caused by the accident to file a PIP claim. No claim can be initiated four years after the accident. However, it is generally best to file a claim as soon as possible so you do not miss these statutes of limitations.
Consider This Case…
- Situation – A lady was injured when her car was rear-ended. She received basic PIP benefits from her own carrier. Later she started to experience serious medical problems with several head and neck injuries. It took two years to diagnosis the condition and her physician’s opinion was that the problems were the result of the car accident.
- Details of the Suit – She then filed suit against the driver of the other vehicle. The other vehicle owner then made a motion to dismiss the suit saying it had been filed after the two-year statute of limitations.
- Does The Discovery Rule Apply – Motor Vehicle Reparations Statute, extends the period for car accident injuries to two years after the date the last payment for personal injury protection benefits were paid. In cases where the discovery rule applies the rule means that the statute of limitations period only starts when the injury is or should have been discovered. The plaintiff in this case argued that the discovery should apply to permit them to bring their claim against the driver of the other car.
- Court Decision – The trial court in this case declined to extend the application of the discovery rule to the case. Instead, the court ruled that they had either two years from the date of the loss (the car accident) or two years from the last PIP payment from the PIP insurer to bring a claim. In this case, they had waited for more than two years from the last PIP payment to sue the driver of the other car even though they knew her identity. The lady in its case tried to argue that she only discovered how badly she was injured after two-years. They argued that to extend the discovery rule would reward claimants who waited to file suit until they had established a connection between accident and injury. The court failed to apply the discovery rule, and thus the case was time-barred and dismissed, and the injured woman was not compensated for her injuries.
Bottom-line – If Injured, Hire an Attorney ASAP
Letting the statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits expire means that an injured person may never get compensation for injuries. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Kentucky, the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you do not miss the statute of limitations’ deadline is to hire a Kentucky car accident attorney as soon as possible.
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About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.
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