According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents account for less than 5% of registered vehicles on the road but account for nearly 15% of traffic fatalities every year. Despite widespread public safety initiatives, motorcyclists, especially those not wearing a helmet, continue to be involved in a higher rate of accidents resulting in serious injuries and death.
Kentucky Motorized Vehicle Accident Injuries
The NHTSA reports that the most catastrophic injuries occur during front-impact motor vehicle accidents. There are several common types of motorized vehicle accident injuries.
Head and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Head injuries and TBIs occur when the victim suffers a jolt, bump, or blow to their head. These injuries are often severe, especially when the victim was not wearing a helmet. These injuries’ symptoms include loss of vision, concentration difficulty, mental illness, nausea, and disorientation.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Thoracic and spinal cord injuries occur following a blunt force impact to an individual’s back or chest. These injuries can cause paralysis, lung collapse, and extreme pain.
Motorized vehicle accidents often cause the rider to be thrown off their bike, resulting in high-impact crashes into concrete or guardrails. This impact can result in organ punctures, internal bleeding, and penetration trauma.
When bikers are thrown off, they may make contact with the road or be dragged by their motor vehicle or another vehicle. This friction can cause a biker’s skin to burn and rip off. These injuries may result in permanent deformity and significant pain. Victims may need extensive, long-term, and costly medical treatment.
Recovering Compensation After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Recovering compensation after a Kentucky motorized vehicle accident can be daunting and complicated. Injury victims pursuing damages must understand the interplay between personal injury lawsuits, automobile insurance, and health insurance. The Louisville, Kentucky motor vehicle accident legal team at the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, can help you understand your rights and remedies after an accident.
Personal Injury Protection and Health Insurance After a Motor Vehicle Accident
Motor vehicle accidents are among the most stressful life events, especially when the accident involves serious personal injury and property damage. These events can lead to years of medical bills and increased insurance premiums. In an effort to protect injury victims from financial ruin, lawmakers enacted the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, otherwise known as the no-fault law. However, there are critical distinctions for motorcyclists that may impact their ability to recover damages.
The no-fault law works in accordance with the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance laws. In Kentucky, all drivers must carry PIP coverage; however, there is an exception for motorcyclists. Unlike other insurance policies, most Kentucky motor vehicle insurance policies do not include PIP coverage.
Motorcyclists who wish to maintain this coverage must specifically request it. If a motorcyclist opts for this coverage, their insurance company will pay up to $10,000 for their medical bills regardless of who was at fault for the accident. To effectuate coverage, the injury victim must fill out a PIP application from their insurance company. The insurance company will then make payments to the victim’s treating physician until the $10,000 is exhausted. However, after the payments meet the limit, the victim must send their medical bills to their health insurance company. The health insurance company may then pursue a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company for reimbursement.
In situations where the motorcyclist did not opt for the coverage, they may seek coverage through their health insurance provider. Those on state-run health insurance such as Medicaid or Medicare may seek compensation through those entities. However, injury victims may still need to pay deductibles, co-payments, and uncovered charges.
Importance of Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In addition to PIP coverage, motorcyclists should thoughtfully consider their insurance provider’s uninsured and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Although PIP only covers up to $10,000 of a victim’s medical bills, UIM claims consider all of a victim’s medical bills.
Types of Damages in a Kentucky Motorized Vehicle Accident
Motorized vehicle accidents can also result in a significant amount of damages paid by the at-fault party’s insurer. These damages can compensate for losses from property damage to serious personal injury.
Motor Vehicle Repairs
Most motor vehicles require significant repairs after an accident. In some cases, the motor vehicle may be deemed “totaled.” In these situations, an insurance company may only pay the owner the bike’s fair market value. Victims may seek compensation from the at-fault party for the cost of motor vehicle repairs.
Medical bills may include any treatment the victim needed because of the accident. This includes emergency treatment, inpatient hospitalizations, rehabilitation treatments, psychological treatment, necessary medical devices, prescription costs, and potential future medical costs.
Lost Wages and Loss of Future Earnings
In addition to the lost wages a victim incurred because of the injury, they may be able to recover for the loss of future and past earning capacity. These damages include income the victim lost from missing work and cover situations when the victim cannot do the same job they did before the accident.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering damages relate to the pain and inconvenience that an injury victim goes through on a daily basis because of their injuries. This pain may include the mental anguish and emotional distress caused by the accident.
Punitive damages are rarely awarded and only applicable when the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious or intentional. In these cases, the court may award punitive damages to deter and punish the defendant from engaging in such behavior in the future.
Wrongful death damages are relevant when the injury victim dies because of the accident. In that case, the family may seek compensation for losses they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s death.
Contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC for Immediate Assistance with Your Motor Vehicle Accident Claim
If you’ve recently suffered serious injuries in a Kentucky motor vehicle accident, your health insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all your expenses. At the Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC, we can help. For more than 20 years, we’ve been helping motor vehicle accident victims recover the compensation they need and deserve after an accident. We understand what a stressful time this is for you and your family, and we promise to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with one of our Louisville motor vehicle legal team, call today or contact us through our online form.