Is Kentucky a No-Fault State? What to Know About Kentucky’s “Choice No-Fault” Laws

Photo of a multiple car pile up accident. In accidents like these it is difficult to determine who is at fault. In Kentucky drivers all file claims with their own insurance company first in order to pay for medical bills due to Kentucky's no fault accident laws.

Yes, Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” state, which means that, by default, drivers in Kentucky are required to carry PIP coverage on their auto policy and file accident claims through their own insurance first, but the Commonwealth does allow drivers to opt out of the no-fault system by request.

What is a No-Fault Insurance State?

A no-fault state is any state with laws which say that drivers must file a claim with their own insurance company first after a car accident in order to get compensation for things like medical bills and expenses caused by the accident. Injured drivers and occupants also waive their right to sue the other driver unless certain thresholds are met.

No-fault states also require their drivers to carry personal injury protection coverage. Which pays out for medical expenses regardless of fault.

As of January 2021, 12 states and the territory of Puerto Rico have no-fault laws. Some of these states, including Kentucky, are referred to as “choice no-fault” because they offer drivers the option to opt out of the no-fault laws after meeting certain requirements.

Kentucky’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Requirements

A driver who has just been in a car accident takes photos of the scene of the wreck so that he can document what happened and make a claim with his insurance.

According to Kentucky state law, all motor vehicles except for motorcycles must carry PIP coverage.

Kentucky requires a minimum of $10,000 of PIP coverage per person per accident for medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs associated with an injury. Other plans are available to Kentucky drivers which have higher premiums but increased coverage amounts.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of No Fault Insurance Statutes?

The advantages of no-fault laws are that they protect drivers from being sued for causing an accident unless the cost or damage caused by the accident reaches a certain threshold. This means that there are fewer cases bogging down our legal system.

In theory, no-fault laws also make the claims process faster since drivers file with their own insurance carrier rather than coordinating with the other driver’s insurer. PIP insurance is also paid out regardless of fault in the accident so, even if you caused the accident, some of your medical expenses are covered.

One disadvantage of no-fault laws is the fact that drivers waive their right to sue the person who caused the accident unless their medical expenses exceeded the state’s no-fault threshold.

No-Fault Thresholds and Limitations in Kentucky

two men inspect the back of a car that has been rear ended by a semi truck while the driver calls the police to inform them of the accident

As we said above, Kentucky’s no-fault laws prevent injured parties from suing the at-fault drivers for their injuries unless certain conditions or thresholds are met. While purchasing no-fault insurance is optional for motorcyclists, this threshold still applies to them as well.

Under Kentucky law, the threshold to bring a case against an at-fault driver has been met if the accident caused more than $1000 in medical expenses or if the injured party experienced one or more of the following as a result of the accident:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Fracture of a weight-bearing bone
  • Compound, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
  • Any permanent injury
  • Any permanent loss of a body function.

Keep in mind that these thresholds only apply to bringing a legal action against the at-fault party for your bodily injuries. If your vehicle or property was damaged in the accident, you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver for these expenses regardless of whether the threshold is met.

Kentucky Allows Drivers to Decline PIP Coverage Through a “Choice No-Fault” System

While Kentucky defaults to a no-fault system for drivers and passengers, the state allows residents to opt out of the no-fault limitations.

Rejecting the no-fault limitations allows drivers and occupants to file a claim against the other driver regardless of whether the injury or expense threshold was met in the accident. On the other hand, it also opens the driver up to being sued after an accident.

To reject PIP coverage and compensation as well as the limitations on the right to sue, drivers must file a Kentucky No-Fault Rejection Form with the Kentucky Department of Insurance.

If you decline PIP coverage, Kentucky will still require you to have insurance coverage with the following minimums:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage of $10,000 per accident

Or

  • $60,000 combined liability coverage
  • Uninsured motorist coverage equal to the minimum bodily injury limits

Free Consultation with a Car Accident Attorney at David Bryant Law

Whether you choose to go with Kentucky’s default no-fault PIP insurance requirements or you decide to file a formal rejection of PIP insurance with the state, it is important to note that you must maintain an auto insurance policy to legally drive in Kentucky. Failure to maintain your car insurance can result in fines and, if you were to get into an accident, open you up to criminal liability.

If you have been injured in a car accident, remember that PIP insurance only covers medical expenses and lost wages. Damage to your vehicle and property is not covered by the insurance required by Kentucky’s no-fault statutes and you may be entitled to seek compensation for those losses.

Hiring a skilled car accident attorney like the ones at David Bryant Law is your best option to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you protect your legal rights and negotiate the best possible settlement for you.

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David G. Bryant is certified to practice in all state courts in Kentucky, and federal courts in the Eastern and Western districts of Kentucky, Southern District of New York, Southern District of West Virginia, Northern District of Ohio, Middle District of Tennessee, and Western District of Pennsylvania. He is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.