Like many states, Kentucky—speaking in terms of automobile insurance—is a “no fault” state. Unfortunately, this information is what stops a great many people from pursuing a claim after an automobile accident. It’s the belief that “no-fault” means they have no case regardless of whether they had any fault in the wreck or not.
The truth about “no-fault” insurance is much different. When you are in an automobile accident in Kentucky (assuming you have a Kentucky policy of insurance, or your insurance carrier is admitted to sell insurance in Kentucky), then your policy likely has Personal Injury Protection benefits (or PIP for short) applicable to the claim. If you want to know if you have this benefit, the easiest way is to look at your declarations page, your bill, or simply call your carrier.
Assuming you have PIP benefits, then your insurance carrier—regardless of who caused the accident—has to make up to $10,000.00 available to be paid toward your medical treatment. Make no mistake: your insurance carrier will not write a check to you for $10,000. Your carrier will simply place a reserve amount of money into an account and issue checks to those medical providers who treat you until the money runs out or until you complete your treatment regimen.
You must first fill out an application for PIP benefits. Once the car insurance carrier receives the application, they will then reserve the account. Next, they will provide a claims handler for your case specifically for the PIP benefits. That claims handler will also provide you a PIP claim number. You will need to have this claim number with you anytime you seek medical treatment related to the wreck and provide that number to your doctor.
You may also use the PIP money for other purposes as well. It can be designated for lost wages if you so choose. However, the law establishing the PIP benefits also declares that the insurance carrier shall not provide any claimant with more then $200 per week in lost wages benefits. You should also know that every dollar you take in lost wages reduces the amount of money available for medical treatment.
There are other ways to use the PIP benefits to help yourself after a wreck, including freezing the benefits and using them to reimburse health care insurance claims that may arise from the accident. These decisions, however, can have an impact on your case. This is exactly why you should consult with a car accident attorney shortly after your wreck. Most any attorney who handles car wrecks will meet with you for free. By meeting with an attorney, you can make an informed decision about your case and move forward accordingly.