Written by attorney James Douglas Desmond

What is the Statute of Limitations for a Motorcycle or Car Wreck in Kentucky?


This question is referring to the Statute of Limitations. In Kentucky, most personal injury claims have a one-year statute of limitations. So for claims arising from a slip and fall or medical malpractice, this one-year time limit would apply. This time limit is contained in KRS 413.135.

For motor vehicle accidents, Kentucky law says that the statute of limitations is two-years from the date of the accident or two-years from the date of the last no-fault payment. The Kentucky statute of limitations for motor vehicle accidents is contained in KRS 304.39-230. Please note that nothing other than a no-fault payment will extend the Statute of Limitations. So, for example, a payment by your insurance company under a med-pay policy will have no effect. Please keep in mind the Statute of Limitations is unforgiving. In other words, for car wrecks, your personal injury claim has to be filed with the proper court before two years from the date of the accident has passed or the claim will be barred like it never existed. So if you have a horrendous car wreck on July 15, 2011 and your attorney does not file your lawsuit by July 15, 2013, your claim will be barred as if it never existed.

For motorcycle accidents, you should assume that the Statute of Limitations cannot be extended. Yes, if you have PIP or no-fault coverage on your motorcycle, the Statute of Limitations can be extended. However, 90% of the motorcycle polices I have seen in my practice do not have PIP coverage. This is because it is one of the more expensive types of insurance coverage for motorcycle accidents. Also, note that KRS 304.39-040 (4) specifically states that an operator or passenger on a motorcycle can not recover PIP benefits unless such optional coverage was purchased. Now contrast this with KRS 304.39-030 (1) that says every person suffering an injury in Kentucky from a motor vehicle accident is entitled to PIP. In other words, the Kentucky Legislature has chosen to put motorcyclists at a disadvantage for no reason other than they are operating a bike instead of a car.

And no, Pedestrian PIP does not count! A lot of motorcycle policies have Pedestrian PIP listed. This coverage does not protect you, the motorcyclists. Rather, this coverage means that if your motorcycle hits a pedestrian, you will be responsible for the pedestrian’s medical bills up to $10,000. This is simply a provision required by Kentucky law. The relevant statute is KRS 304.39-050.

The bottom line on the Statute of Limitations is don't play with it and allow an attorney to determine exactly when your Statute of Limitations will run. Also, make sure you contact an attorney well before the Statute of Limitations as it many attorneys do not want to investigate a claim if the Statute of Limitations is about to run.

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