If you live in Kentucky, the fact that the state is a veritable land mine for drivers navigating its laws is quickly evident from this one statement: “Kentucky is a Choice No-Fault Pure Comparative Negligence Mandatory Insurance State”. If you understand that entire statement you are ahead of most drivers, yet you may still need the help of a professional litigator if you get into trouble after an accident.
Pure Fault in a No-Fault State?
Kentucky is one of the odd states when dealing with fault after an accident. First, it is considered a no fault state, where during most accidents drivers would simply make a claim against their own insurance to recover damages and costs for medical expenses.
Of course this may cover the majority of small accidents, the system is further confused by the fact that the state allows drivers to “opt out” of no fault insurance when they buy an auto insurance policy. Although auto insurance is mandatory in the state, the no fault portion of insurance is optional for drivers. Over 10% of drivers in the state opt out of no fault insurance making claims after an accident even more confusing.
If a driver has no fault insurance and causes an accident with a ‘tort’ or traditionally insured driver there is a different course of action than standard no fault or at fault states. The tort insured driver can make a claim against the other driver only for damages that exceed the other driver’s Personal Injury Protection coverage. The no fault driver can recover expenses against the Bodily Injury liability insurance portion of tort driver.
To muddy the waters even further, even no fault insured drivers can go outside the no fault system if their injury expenses exceed $1000 or a serious injury is received, generally including a fractured bone or permanent disfigurement or injury.
Finally, when deciding on damage awards even with insurance claims pure comparative fault is used. Most states with comparative fault do not allow drivers that are assigned 50 or 51% of the blame to get damage awards. However in Kentucky, you can seek damages even though you receive up to 99% of the blame for an accident. Of course any damages you may receive will still be reduced by the amount of blame you are assigned.
So if you are assigned 60% blame for an accident you might still be eligible for an award claim if another party shared in the fault for an accident. This is why a car accident or personal injury attorney in Kentucky is almost always advised in order to protect your interests.
The penalties for DUI in Kentucky fall under four different categories.
First the state is an implied consent state, meaning that if you are operating any type of vehicle in the state, registered or licensed or not you are giving consent to submit to chemical testing. If you refuse, the penalties in Kentucky are not as harsh as many other states for your first refusal, which is 30-120 days license suspension.
However suspension times increase dramatically to 1 year to 18 months on a second offense to 5 years for a 4th or subsequent offense.
The second categories of penalties fall under your first DUI conviction within Kentucky as long as it is not an aggravated conviction. One of the harsher states, a mandatory prison time of 2 to 30 days in jail is included for any first time offense, however the 30-120 day license suspension is less than many other states. Other penalties include a fine, a mandatory substance abuse program and community labor.
Kentucky’s third range of penalties for DUI actually is delineated along each 2nd, 3rd, 4th and subsequent offenses. Penalties range from 7 days imprisonment to a 1 year prison term with a minimum 120 day term without eligibility for parole on 4th and subsequent offenses. License suspensions ranges from 1 to 5 years, fines grow in size and a 1 year substance abuse program becomes mandatory on a 2nd offense. A fourth offense is considered a Class D Felony in Kentucky.
The fourth penalty range is for any DUI that is considered an aggravated offense because of additional factors. These factors include travelling more than 30mph over the speed limit, driving the wrong direction on a limited access highway, a BAC over 0.15%, transporting minors under 12 years old, accidents causing injury or death or a chemical test refusal. Aggravated convictions results in longer mandatory imprisonment sentences.
Kentucky’s Point System
Moving violations in Kentucky are awarded points that remain on a driving record for 24 months, at which point they expire and are removed from the driving record. However the conviction entry for the violation remains on the record for 5 years. Over 7 points received for drivers under 18 and 12 points for drivers over 18 result in an automatic driver hearing with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to assess driving privileges.
Probation, license suspension and a driver’s education course are all courses of action for the KTC.
In any of these situations, hiring an appropriate car accident, moving violation or DUI attorney specialist can help avoid the most dire penalties and keep your insurance lower than without an attorney.