Is Kentucky a Pure Comparative Negligence State?
Can I recover damages in a car accident that I partially my fault?
Yes, you may be able to recover damages in a car accident claim that is partially your fault under Kentucky’s pure comparative negligence statute. Kentucky’s negligence law is outlined in Kentucky Revised Statute §411.182.
Negligence is the failure to take proper care or failure to use reasonable care. In a car accident lawsuit, you must prove the other driver was negligent to recover compensation from that driver for injuries sustained in the accident. However, many states of adopted what is referred to as a comparative negligence or comparative fault standard for judging negligence. This negligence standard compares the fault of each party involved in a motor vehicle accident and assigns a percentage of fault to that party. The assigning of a percentage if very important because it can reduce the amount of money you can receive for your claim.
Because your compensation could be greatly reduced under Kentucky’s negligence laws, you want to consult an experienced Kentucky auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Our lawyers understand the complex negligence laws that are applied to car crash claims. We aggressively fight to prove you are not at fault for your accident so you can receive full compensation for your injuries.
How Does Pure Comparative Negligence Impact My Settlement?
In a pure comparative state such as Kentucky, you could be 99 percent at fault for the collision and still recover 1 percent of your damages from the other driver. While this is not usually practical because filing a lawsuit for one percent would cost more than you recover, the standard is important in cases where fault is unclear or contested. Let’s look at an example to illustrate better how comparative fault impacts your claim.
Let’s assume you are in an accident caused by a driver who is speeding, but you turned left at an intersection in front of this driver. A jury could find that you were both at fault for the collision. The jury must assign a percentage of fault for the crash to you and the other driver. The jury finds that you were 60 percent at fault and the other driver was 40 percent at fault. If your damages total $100,000, the most you can recover from the other driver is $40,000 (your total damages multiplied by 40 percent).
Under comparative negligence, you are not entitled to recover compensation that is greater than the amount of fault assigned to the other party. Another way to explain the calculation of damages is that your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for the collision.
Damages in a Kentucky Car Accident Lawsuit
Damages are divided into financial and non-financial damages. Financial damages or economic damages are your actual out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries and recovery. Typical financial damages include:
- Medical bills, including any projected future medical costs
- Long-term medical care or personal care (i.e. permanent disabilities such as paralysis)
- Lost wages, including a loss of earning capacity or future lost wages
- Cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Travel expenses to and from doctor appointments
- Payment of help with household chores you cannot perform because of your injury
- Other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the accident (i.e. over-the-counter medications, medical supplies, special equipment, etc.)
Non-economic damages are usually referred to as “pain and suffering” damages. These damages are not financial in nature but they are just as real and you deserve compensation for them. Pain and suffering damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional stress
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability, such as paralysis or a back injury that impairs your ability to function as before
- Scarring and disfigurement
Several factors impact the total value of your accident claim. Your Kentucky car accident lawyer reviews all factors to maximize the amount of money you can receive for your claim.