In our Kentucky personal injury practice, we sometimes hear the question: I’m not the type to sue someone for injuring me, so why should I? There’s a short answer: that’s what insurance is for. People purchase insurance policies specifically to guard against the risk of being sued, and insurance companies expect to have to pay for losses. While insurers are not inclined to pay out claims easily, they do anticipate paying in the event that their insured customers’ liability for your injuries are proven. Moreover, Kentucky has a built-in protection against weak claims that should alleviate any possible anxiety you may feel about bringing a lawsuit.
Kentucky is a “no-fault” insurance state, which means that usually your right to sue someone for causing your injuries is already limited to those threshold instances set by statute. In order to sue in most motor vehicle cases, you must incur at least $1,000 in medical expenses or you must suffer a fractured bone, loss of a bodily function, disfigurement, loss of a body member, loss of a bodily function, a permanent injury, or death. “No fault” also means your motor vehicle policy will include coverage to pay the first $10,000 of your medical bills and lost wages in the event you are in a car accident; these benefits are available to you even if an accident is your fault. This coverage makes sure your medical bills are paid without delay and helps protect your credit rating.
The underwriting departments of insurance companies evaluate risk and rate an insurance company’s exposure to a lawsuit before an insured person pays a single premium. Insurance companies collect premiums from consumers based on their calculation of the risk of insuring that particular person. The risk analysis is somewhat similar to the analysis undertaken by a bank when it offers a homeowner a mortgage. Also, if an applicant purchases a homeowners’ policy, he or she will be asked about characteristics of the property, type of construction, square footage and more. Similarly, as you know if you’ve purchased auto insurance, an applicant is asked a variety of questions related to his or her vehicle, age, gender, the names of other drivers for the vehicle and geographic location in order to determine the premium to be charged.
An applicant’s prior history of loss is critical no matter what kind of liability coverage he or she is applying for. If someone has frequent car accidents, for example, his or her premium is higher to account for the greater likelihood of future risky behavior that could lead to accidents and injuries for other people. An applicant with a bad credit score or who drives a lot for work or who has a DUI will likely have to pay higher rates. Applicants who live in high-crime areas or densely populated cities will also likely have to pay higher rates. Applicants who drive a high performance vehicle are typically considered risk-takers and their cars are worth more; therefore, they are also likely to be charged a higher premium. Married people tend to get charged a lower rate than a single driver with a similar record.
When you sue somebody that is insured for your personal injuries, the insurance company has accounted for that possibility and charged him or her, as well as all of its other insured consumers, premiums that will allow it to pay for your losses. An experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can look at all insurance coverage available for serious injuries and losses you’ve suffered in a car accident. In order for you to understand your rights and responsibilities after an accident, it is important to consult with an attorney before you talk to the other driver’s insurance company or attorney. Contact us at 877-634-1519 or via our online form.
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