If you have been injured in an auto accident in Kentucky, it is important that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible to file a claim.
Because the process for obtaining the benefits you need can be difficult, our Covington insurance lawyers have provided answers to some of the most common questions our clients ask.
What Are PIP Benefits?
According to Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, insurance companies are required to offer Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits with all automobile polices sold in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
These benefits are what we call “no fault” – meaning that no matter who is at fault in an automobile accident, an injured driver can have his or her car insurance company pay for a certain amount of his or her medical bills and lost wages.
How Much Will PIP Pay If I Am Injured?
The statutory minimum that car insurance companies are required to offer is $10,000 per person per accident for medical expenses, lost wages and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with your injury.
Your car insurance company may allow you to purchase more than $10,000, and we would encourage you to take this option if it is available. It might require you to pay a little more on your premium, but having the extra money will be extremely valuable if you are seriously injured and undergoing costly medical treatment.
If you miss work because of your injuries, PIP benefits can be used to reimburse a certain portion of your lost wages. PIP will pay $200 a week for your lost income, or 85% of your normal income if you make less than $200 a week.
Be careful when you are initiating your policy, as you can accept a deductible of $1,000 or opt out of PIP benefits entirely. This is not something we would recommend that you do. Again, paying less on your premium is not worth missing out on having PIP money immediately available after a car wreck.
If I Live In Ohio Can I Still Get PIP Benefits For A Wreck That Happens In Kentucky?
Yes. PIP benefits are available to any person who is injured while operating or riding in an automobile on any Kentucky road.
If you are an Ohio resident and you are involved in a wreck in Kentucky, you are covered by the PIP statute. You might also be entitled to additional medical payments coverage through your Ohio insurance policy.
If I Live In Kentucky And I Am Involved In An Out-Of-State Car Wreck, Will I Be Entitled To PIP Benefits?
Yes. If your vehicle is registered and insured in Kentucky, your PIP benefits will cover you and any passengers in your vehicle if the accident occurs anywhere in the United States, its territories or Canada.
Are There Situations Where PIP Would Not Apply?
Unfortunately, there are a few areas where PIP does not automatically apply, which are outlined below:
- If the automobile accident was work related.
- If you are injured while operating a motorcycle. (Note: motorcycle owners can purchase optional PIP coverage, and we would recommend that you buy this coverage).
- If the person who owns the vehicle did not maintain insurance on the vehicle.
- If the person who was injured has rejected PIP. To reject PIP, you must file a form in writing with the Kentucky Department of Insurance.
Which Automobile Insurer Pays PIP?
Kentucky Revised Statutes 304.39-050 sets forth the priority for which insurer will cover injuries from an accident.
- If you have been injured in a car accident, you would file a claim for PIP benefits on the policy covering the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident.
- If you own the vehicle, you will file a claim with your insurer. However, if you do not have PIP coverage, no benefits will be available.
- If you were a passenger in a vehicle that is uninsured, you can obtain coverage from another vehicle policy. This could include your own insurance policy.
- If you were struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, the insurance company for the vehicle would pay your PIP benefits. If the vehicle is not insured, your policy will cover your injuries.
How Long Do I 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. A loss can include medical bills, lost wages or other monetary damages associated with your injury.
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.
Can I File A Lawsuit After An Accident?
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 at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy, as we can help guide you through the intricacies of the Kentucky PIP statute.