Steps to Take After in a Motorcycle Accident
When involved in a motorcycle accident, the next steps you take can have a significant impact on the outcome of your personal injury claim, should you choose to file one. If you’ve been injured in an accident, here are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself and preserve your chances of filing a successful claim:
- Remain calm and immediately get to safety.
- Call 911 to get emergency medical help for yourself and any other injured victims.
- Report the incident to the police or law enforcement.
- Collect relevant information from any other parties involved. If you can, record their name, insurance information, phone number, address, and license plate number.
- Gather and document all available evidence, including the police report, witness statements and testimonies, and accident scene photos.
- Document all of your medical treatment, including doctor's appointments and medical procedures.
- Record a detailed personal account of the incident as soon as you can while it’s still fresh in your memory. Include details about the accident and its impact on your daily life.
- Inform your insurance provider about the accident.
- Retain an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and help you take the necessary legal steps to pursue compensation for your injuries.
Kentucky Motorcycle Laws You Should Know
There are a number of different laws that regulate how cars, trucks, and motorcycles are to be operated on the road. Here are just a few of the laws that apply to motorcyclists in the Commonwealth of Kentucky:
Lane splitting is the practice of driving a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic that are moving in the same direction. In Kentucky, the legal status of lane splitting isn't entirely clear. There is no clear and definitive law that stipulates whether or not lane splitting is legal or illegal in the state — which is why it’s important to retain an attorney if you’ve been in an accident that involved lane splitting.
Kentucky Helmet Laws
Under Kentucky law, the following groups of motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet:
- Motorcyclists who are under 21 years
- Individuals with a motorcycle instruction permit
- Motorcycle riders who have had their motorcycle operator's license for less than a year
Liability Coverage Laws
Motorists in Kentucky are required to maintain minimum liability insurance of coverage limits to ensure that they can cover any damages that they cause if they are found liable after an accident. These coverage limits are as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person per accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident.
- $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy
Determining Fault in Kentucky
Kentucky is considered a "choice no-fault" state. This means that accident victims can opt out of the no-fault system and choose to file a lawsuit against the “at-fault” party following a traffic crash. Under the no-fault system, the injured victim turns to their own insurance policy (PIP policy) to seek compensation for medical expenses and other financial losses suffered from the collision — regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Unfortunately, PIP benefits will only pay up to $10,000 for medical expenses, lost income, and other "out of pocket" costs resulting from the accident.
Once that $10,000 PIP policy limit has been reached, the accident victim can choose to "opt-out" of the no-fault coverage and file a lawsuit against the at-fault party, provided that your accident claims meet the statutory threshold. In Kentucky, the threshold requires that:
- The accident resulted in more than $1,000 in medical bills.
- You suffered permanent disfigurement, significant fracture, permanent injury, or any permanent loss of a body or organ function.
You can also opt-out of the no-fault system by filing a Kentucky No-Fault Rejection Form with the state's Department of Insurance. However, it is always advised that you seek the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney if you choose to either file a lawsuit or a Kentucky No-Fault Rejection Form to ensure that you have the best chance of successfully pursuing compensation.
Comparative Fault in Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky operates using the "pure comparative fault" rule. Under this system, an accident victim will be allowed to recover damages even if you were partially or mostly responsible for the incident. However, the amount of damages you may recover will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, assume that you were injured in an accident and found to be 20% at fault for the accident. The jury chooses to award total compensation in the amount of $100,000 for your injuries and losses. However, since you were found to be 20% responsible for the motorcycle accident, your damages will be reduced by 20% ($20,000). This means that you will only be eligible to collect $80,000 in compensation. It is important to note that under Kentucky's pure comparative fault system, you may still recover damages if you are found to carry the majority of fault for the accident — even if the court rules that you were 99% at fault.
Kentucky Statute of Limitations
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(a), "an action to recover damages for an injury to the person of the plaintiff, or of her husband, his wife, child, ward, apprentice, or servant, shall be commenced within one year from the date of the accident.” This means that you have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim or otherwise legally pursue compensation for your injuries.
How an Experienced Personal
Injury Attorney Can Help
Getting injured in a motorcycle accident can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. Such an accident can affect you financially, physically, and mentally. Fortunately, you don't have to face these challenges on your own. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the first step towards protecting your rights and pursuing fair financial compensation when involved in a motorcycle accident.
At Bland & Birdwhistell, PLLC, we have the experience and resources needed to help you hold any negligent parties accountable for your injuries. As your attorney, we can:
- Fight diligently to protect your rights and represent your best interests
- Review every aspect of your case and conduct a comprehensive investigation
- Gather necessary details, such as police reports, witness statements, and other pieces of evidence
- Work to prove fault and establish liability
- Determine the full extent of your injuries and estimate case-value
- Help negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies
- Take additional legal action, if required