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Loss of Right to Sue for Car Accident Injuries

When Kentucky drivers suffer an injury in an auto accident that another driver causes, they may logically look for compensation for the losses that the negligent driver caused. However, they sometimes feel shocked to learn they cannot hold the other driver responsible for their bodily damages.

One might expect this disappointment if the other driver was illegally uninsured. In such case, the driver may be able to rely on his or her own uninsured motorist coverage. However, one may not be aware of the possible loss of the right to sue even when that negligent driver has responsibly paid for liability insurance to cover damages he or she may accidentally cause others. How does this happen, and what can drivers do to prevent this lack of recourse?

The limitation on right to sue

Kentucky’s Motor Vehicle Reparations Act has another name: the No-Fault Law. Among other provisions, it says that those who use a car in the state of Kentucky have automatically agreed to waive their right to sue others for their injuries and related losses unless those injuries are severe. By severe, it means that those injuries must meet a certain threshold of injury to allow the right to sue.

Generally, the injury or disease caused by the collision must involve one of the following:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Fractured bone or compound, compressed, displaced or comminuted fracture
  • Body member loss
  • Permanent injury based on probabilities
  • Bodily function loss of a permanent nature
  • Loss of life

The medical costs associated may also meet a $1000 minimum to breach the threshold. The bottom line is that it is possible that sore muscles or soft tissue injuries, however painful and limiting to one’s quality of life, will fail to meet this threshold.

The right to reject the limitation on lawsuits

A driver may proactively refuse this default tort rights limitation, however. He or she must reject the limitation in writing when purchasing auto insurance and must file the rejection form with the state. Those looking to buy insurance and avoid this limitation on their right to sue will want to make sure the agent selling them the coverage includes the rejection.

Insurance policies that include the rejection of the tort limitation will cost more than those that allow the automatic limitation on the right to sue. Buyers who reject the tort limitations will also want to proactively buy back the personal injury protection that leaves their policy along with the tort limitation they have rejected.