Car accidents have the potential to cause a significant amount of harm. Even just a single collision can cause thousands of dollars in property damage and severe injuries, leaving victims with lasting financial, physical, and emotional damages.
As motorists, we are required to maintain auto insurance coverage that protects other drivers and us in the event of a car accident. But what happens when someone chooses to drive without insurance? Let’s take a closer look at the insurance requirements and Kentucky’s uninsured motorist laws.
Auto Insurance Requirements for the State of Kentucky
The state of Kentucky mandates that all vehicle owners maintain the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person, capped at $50,000 per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
- $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP)
Vehicle owners must also maintain uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage to the tune of $25,000 per person, with a cap of $50,000 per accident. UM/UIM insurance policies cover you and any passengers you have in your vehicle at the time of the crash if you are hit by a driver without insurance or without sufficient insurance coverage.
You also have the option to purchase additional coverage above these state-mandated requirements.
In the state of Kentucky, you typically recover compensation for car accident damages through your own insurance company and PIP coverage, regardless of fault. This is because Kentucky is a choice no-fault state, which requires injury victims to first tap into their own coverage before they can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. Motorists have the option to decline this coverage, although this can leave them vulnerable to being sued after an accident.
Do I Need Insurance if I Don’t Have a Car?
It is illegal to drive on Kentucky roads without the appropriate insurance coverage. This coverage does not necessarily have to be maintained by individual drivers, though.
If a person has a driver’s license but does not own a vehicle, then they are unlikely to need insurance even if they drive another person’s car. The insurance coverage maintained by the vehicle’s owner will extend to you as the driver as well as any passengers you are carrying.
However, it is always a good idea to double-check that the owner of the car, van, truck, or SUV has insurance coverage before driving their vehicle. Ignorance of the vehicle owner’s insurance status is not a valid excuse for driving without adequate coverage.
Uninsured Motorist Laws
People found to be driving without auto insurance can face significant criminal consequences, including:
- $500-$1,000 for a first offense
- $1,000-$2,500 for a second offense
- Jail time
- Up to 90 days for a first offense
- Up to 180 days for a second offense
- Loss of driving privileges
- Revocation of vehicle registration
There is also a $40 reinstatement fee for those who have had their licenses suspended. Anyone who has two or more offenses and has had their license suspended for a period of at least one year will also be required to retake the driving exam.
What Happens if You’re Hit by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
Realizing that you’ve been hit by a driver without insurance (uninsured) or without adequate coverage (underinsured) can be a terrifying experience. If you’ve been injured, your car is damaged, or you have any related physical, financial, or emotional losses, you need to know how to access the compensation you are owed.
Because of state requirements to maintain PIP insurance, you will first tap into this coverage to address the losses associated with your medical bills, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
PIP insurance does not cover your property damage, such as auto repair bills or the cost of replacing valuable items that were in your vehicle at the time of the wreck, like smartphones, laptops, or musical equipment.
So what can you do if you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver? If your medical bills exceed the $10,000 covered by PIP, if you have property damage, or if you’ve suffered any additional damages, you can file a claim with your own insurer through your UM/UIM coverage.
UM/UIM insurance also covers your accident-related losses in the event that you are injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Isn’t My Insurance Company on My Side?
When filing a UM/UIM claim through your insurance company, we urge you to act in the same manner as you would with another driver’s auto insurer. In other words, be on the defensive. The insurance companies (even your own) aren’t on your side.
Remember, auto insurers are in the business of making money. Paying out your claim hurts their bottom line. Be careful when talking to the insurance company, and remember to:
- Never give a recorded statement.
- Avoid speculation and stick to the facts.
- Keep records of all communications.
You can also work with an attorney who will deal with the insurance company on your behalf.
It’s Free To Learn About Your Rights After a Car Accident—Let’s Talk
At Peterson Law Office, we are proud to provide experienced, knowledgeable, and relentless legal representation to injury victims in Lexington, Fayette County, and the surrounding areas. We are tireless advocates for those who have been injured by the negligent, reckless, or wrongful actions of others.
Our first meeting is always free. There is no cost or risk associated with your free initial consultation, and you are never obligated to continue working with our law firm in the future. So get in touch today, and we’ll schedule you for a case evaluation at your earliest convenience.