A frequent question we get from anyone injured in a car accident is: What is my car accident injury claim worth? There are several factors that must be examined when determining damages in Louisville car accident cases. Consider speaking with a skilled auto wreck attorney about your claim to learn more.
First, Kentucky is a no-fault state. This essentially means that, according to state law, regardless of who is at fault in an automobile accident, those injured in an automobile accident must initially file a claim with their own insurance company and will receive coverage in accordance with its plan. Since Kentucky is a no-fault state, all owners of motor vehicles (with the exception of motorcycles) are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits coverage on the vehicle.
PIP coverage affords up to $10,000 per person per accident in coverage for the injured person’s medical expenses, lost wages (up to $200 a week), and other costs. Drivers have the option to choose to pay higher premiums to receive additional PIP coverage. PIP is to be paid by the insurer of the vehicle in which the injured person occupies at the time of an automobile collision, regardless of who was at fault in the crash. Thus, if a family member or friend is a passenger in your vehicle at the time of an accident, the family member or friend, is also entitled to PIP coverage under the policy covering the vehicle if they were injured in the accident.
Keep in mind, when you receive PIP benefits, it creates an offset on the value of your tort claim against the other driver (or their insurer). For example, say you are injured in a rear-end accident and sustain injuries and damages that are determined to total $50,000.00 in value. If you exhaust the $10,000 available under your PIP coverage, you will be entitled to receive $40,000 for your injury claim against the other driver. Why is this? Because you have already received $10,000, you cannot again recover that first $10,000 you received in PIP benefits. However, your insurer is entitled to subrogate to seek reimbursement of the PIP benefits they paid out on your behalf against the other driver or their insurance company, provided your insurance company was not “squeezed out”, which might occur if you settle for the other driver’s available insurance policy limits.
Another factor to look at when trying to determine the value of your car accident injury claim in Louisville is: How much insurance coverage is available to you for your injury claim? Things to consider include: 1) what are all the available insurance policy limits that cover the at-fault driver(s)?; 2) if the at-fault driver was uninsured, is uninsured motorist coverage available to you?; and 3) if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance policy limits to cover all of your damages, what underinsured motorist coverage is available to you, if any?
The most common types of damages that you can recover in a car accident claim include medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are the physical and emotional stress caused from an injury. Some of the damages that might fall under pain and suffering include aches, temporary and permanent limitations on activities or hobbies, potential shortening of life due to the injury, depression and anxiety, or scarring.
It can be difficult to put an exact number to pain and suffering damages. To get an understanding of the pain and suffering damages value of your claim it is important to look at historical data in Louisville for the amounts of pain and suffering awards in Jefferson County in cases similar to your case where the Plaintiff suffered similar injuries. By looking at past jury verdicts in Jefferson County you should be able to come up with a good estimate for the value of your pain and suffering damages in your case.
Finally, when trying to determining the amount of compensation you could receive in your car accident injury case, it is important to note that Kentucky is what is called a comparative negligence state. This means that you are still entitled to recover your damages even if you are partially at fault for the car accident, provided you can prove another driver was at least some partially at fault for the accident. Your recover is reduced based upon your percentage of fault. For instance, if a trier of fact determines your careless actions were 75% of the cause of the accident and the other driver’s careless actions were the remaining 25% cause of the accident, you are entitled to recover 25% of your damages against the other driver (or their insurance company).
As you can see, there are many factors that must be evaluated to determine damages in a Louisville car accident case. Attorney Tate Meagher of the Meagher Law Office started his career defending at-fault drivers on behalf of insurance companies. He has thus gained valuable experience working with insurance companies to see how insurance companies value injury claims. If you have been injured in a car wreck in Louisville, don’t wait to contact Tate for your free legal consultation.