DID YOU HEAR KENTUCKY WAS A "NO FAULT" STATE?
I am frequently contacted by people who are at fault in automobile accidents who want to make a claim because they heard that Kentucky was a “no fault state.”
What are "No Fault" Benefits?"No Fault" benefits are also called "Personal Injury Protection" or "PIP" for short or "Basic Reparations Benefits." Fault or who caused the car accident does NOT affect whether a person is entitled to "No Fault" benefits. In my experience the two most common claims for "No Fault" benefits are used to help pay for medical bills and lost wages resulting from the auto accident. Note: lost wages are capped at $200.00 per week. "No Fault" benefits may also apply to death benefits and other economic damages. The amount of the "No Fault" benefit is determined by the insurance policy covering the vehicle the injured party occupied when the accident occurred. Some policies include a deductible and "No Fault" benefits are sometimes waived. If you do not need all of your "No Fault" benefits you do NOT get to pocket the remaining "No Fault" coverage on the policy.
If the car I was in during the accident doesn't have insurance, do I still get "No Fault" benefits?In Kentucky sometimes injured parties who otherwise wouldn't qualify through the vehicle they occupied will qualify for "No Fault" benefits through the Kentucky Assigned Claims "KAC" program. When dealing with KAC be prepared to jump through some hoops as KAC conducts its investigation. If you qualify for KAC then an insurance company that writes automobile policies in Kentucky will be assigned and obligated to pay "No Fault" benefits.
How do I qualify for KAC if the car I occupied during the accident doesn't have insurance?First, you need to check with your own automobile insurance policy to see if you qualify through your own policy or a resident relative's policy. If you qualify through either of these, that insurance company is responsible for paying "No Fault" benefits and you will not qualify for KAC.
Second, you need to determine if you are ineligible because of your health insurance. If you have health insurance through a private health plan then you are ineligible for KAC. However, if you have health insurance through a Medicaid program (such as Passport, Humana Caresource, or Wellcare) or through Medicare you are okay. Also, the fact that you do not have health insurance will not disqualify you from KAC.
Third, if you knew prior to the accident the vehicle didn't have insurance or the uninsured vehicle is registered to you, then you will NOT qualify for KAC.
As you've probably gathered "No Fault" benefits are primarily used to help parties injured in automobile accidents pay for medical treatment, lost wages, death benefits, and other economic damages. It does NOT permit recovery for things such as pain and suffering. To recover for pain and suffering some portion of fault needs to be on a party other than the person claiming it.
This is just a brief summary of common scenarios I encounter in dealing with "No Fault" benefits in Kentucky. This is not legal advice and there are circumstances and situations that are NOT covered here that can affect "No Fault" coverage.
If you believe you are eligible to receive "No Fault" benefits and the insurance company is denying to pay the claim or denying to pay it in full, then you need to contact an attorney immediately. Many attorneys will offer a free consultation.
About the AuthorRYAN HOOSS is a personal injury attorney in Louisville, Kentucky. He has assisted thousands of clients make claims against insurance companies. Mr. Hooss was recently awarded the Rising Star designation by Super Lawyers.
He is a member of the Louisville Bar Association, Fayette County Bar Association, Northern Kentucky Bar Association, American Bar Association, Kentucky Bar Association, Kentucky Justice Association, Indiana State Bar Association, Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and National Association of Consumer Advocates. Mr. Hooss is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana.