Motor vehicle collisions are far too common. For most people, riding in a motor vehicle is the single most dangerous activity they will engage in on a regular basis.  The personal injury and wrongful death statistics related to car crashes are astounding.  Every year, approximately 6,000,000 motor vehicle collisions occur in the United States.  Over the next 5 years, 25% of the population will be involved in a crash.  In these collisions, one person is injured every 14 seconds, and more than 10 children are killed every day.

Motor vehicle collisions can have devastating consequences.  Victims often suffer financial hardship due to medical bills and loss of work.  In addition to the financial hardship, injured parties experience stress, emotional trauma, pain, and suffering.  These damages are frequently permanent.

Standing up for collision victims is the foundation upon which our firm was built.  Through our decades of combined experience, our firm has represented thousands of collision victims.  We fight insurance companies for ordinary people, and we are good at it.

Despite the frequency with which collisions occur, many injured parties and attorneys are unfamiliar with the process of recovering for damages caused by collisions.  To understand the process, you must understand insurance companies.  In basic terms, injured parties have three claims: 1) property damage, 2) personal injury protection (PIP) benefits or basic reparations benefits (BRB), and 3) bodily injury.

  1. Property damage. To recover for your property damage, you can go through either 1) the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier (if the driver was insured) or 2) your insurance carrier.  The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is responsible for paying property damage.  Additionally, many Kentucky residents have collision coverage under their own insurance policies.

  2. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits or Basic Reparations Benefits (BRB).  In Kentucky, all insurance policies include at least ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits (also referred to as “no fault” or Basic Reparations Benefits or BRB).  These benefits are paid – regardless of fault.  PIP or BRB benefits are available to pay your medical expenses and up to $200.00 per week for lost wages – up to your PIP policy limit (typically $10,000).  View more information regarding PIP benefits →

  3. Bodily injury.  Under Kentucky law, your bodily injury claim includes several components: past medical expenses, future medical expenses, lost wages, future impairment of your ability to work, and pain and suffering.  When you are injured as a result of a collision, you are entitled to recover damages for your medical expenses, past and future, your lost wages, past and future, and your pain and suffering, past and future.  The at-fault driver’s insurance carrier (if the at-fault driver was insured) is the primary source from which you will recover these damages.

Liability coverage is the portion of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy that covers your bodily injury claim.  In Kentucky, all drivers are required to maintain liability coverage of at least twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) per person and fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00) per collision.  This is “minimum coverage.”

If your damages exceed $25,000.00, you have a few possible options.  First, the at-fault driver might have more coverage.  Some people purchase more than $25,000.00 in liability coverage.  If the at-fault driver has this additional coverage, it might be enough to compensate you for all of your damages.  Second, if the at-fault party does not have enough insurance to cover your damages and if your insurance policy includes underinsured motorist benefits, you have a claim against your insurance company for underinsured motorist coverage (UIM).  If you have this coverage, your insurance carrier will pay you for your damages which exceed the amount of the at-fault driver’s policy limit – up to the amount of your UIM policy limit.  Just like liability policies, UIM policies are sold in increments (i.e. with limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per collision, $50,000 per person/$100,000 per collision, $100,000 per person/$250,000 per collision, and so forth).  Your UIM carrier will not pay damages which exceed your UIM policy limit – just like the at-fault driver’s carrier will not pay damages which exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limit.  View more discussion on underinsured motorist coverage.  Third, you can attempt to recover from the at-fault party’s personal assets.

So. . .  what if the at-fault driver does not have insurance?  If the at-fault driver is uninsured, you can make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits (UM) under your own insurance policy – if your policy includes uninsured motorist benefits.  View more discussion on uninsured motorist coverage →

If you do not have both UIM and UM coverage through your insurance carrier, we strongly recommend that you call your insurance agent and request this coverage.  UIM and UM are relatively cheap and worth every penny.  Also, if you only possess $25,000 of liability coverage under your own policy, it is wise to purchase additional coverage.  Like UIM and UM coverage, additional liability coverage is relatively cheap.  If you ever were to cause a collision, additional liability coverage can help protect your personal assets.

Aside from the typical avenues of recovery for your bodily injury claim, sometimes additional sources of recovery are possible.  For example, if the at-fault driver was working at the time of the collision, the at-fault driver’s employer is usually “vicariously liable” for your damages.   As another example, if the at-fault driver is intoxicated at the time of the collision, you might possess a “dram shop” claim against a bar or restaurant that served the driver alcohol.  View more discussion regarding “dram shop” claims →

If you sustained injury as the result of a motor vehicle collision, you need an experienced team to help discover all possible sources for your recovery.  At DeCamillis & Mattingly, PLLC, we have decades of combined experience in doing just that.  We also understand how difficult it is to deal with the aftermath of a collision.  We will handle everything so you can focus on your family and recovering from your injuries.  Call us today at (502) 589-2822.