Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is the Purpose of Punitive Damages under Kentucky law?

    The Kentucky Supreme Court recently issued an extraordinary and inspiriting decision regarding punitive damages under Kentucky law. In St. Joseph Healthcare v. Thomas, our High Court explained the purpose of punitive damages under Kentucky law:

    The purpose behind any award of punitive damages is "to further a State's legitimate interests in punishing unlawful conduct and deterring its repetition. Historically, "punitive" or "exemplary" damages are given to the plaintiff over and above the full compensation for his injuries, for the purpose of punishing the defendant, or teaching him not to do it again, and of deterring others from following his example.

    Lexington, Kentucky injury lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families injured by the intentional and negligent wrongdoing of others; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • Can You Be Liable for Sending A Text Message To A Driver?

    A court in New Jersey ruled recently that a person sending a text message to a vehicle driver can be liable for injuries caused by the distracted driver.  The court ruled that the text message sender could be liable for injuries most directly caused by the driver where two circumstances were present:

    1. the text sender knew that the text recipient was driving; and,
    2. the text sender knew that the recipient would read the text when it was received.

    ‚ÄčThis court ruling applies only in New Jersey but it is just a matter of time before all states including Kentucky recognize a similar rule.  Deliberately distracting a driver has always been a basis for liability and doing so by sending a text message is just another and more modern way to do so.  Read more about the New Jersey case in the Digital Journal: New Jersey Can Hold Remote Texters Responsible For Traffic Accidents

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident and personal injury cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • Can A Landlord Be Liable For A Tenant's Injuries Caused By A Leaky Roof?

    A landlord can be liable for a tenant's injuries caused by a leaky roof in the rental property if the landlord knew or should have known that the roof was leaking and that it created a dangerous condition. This was the ruling recently by the Kentucky Court of Appeals in Warren v Winkle, No 2012-366 (May 24, 2013)

    This ruling does not mean that a landlord will always be liable for a tenant's injuries caused by a leaky roof; the landlord's conduct and liability will be always be subject to a reasonableness test. Liability for the landlord will have to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    There is a discussion of this case by Robert Abell at Abell's Kentucky Law Blog: Landlord Can Be Liable for Tenant's Injuries Caused By Leaky Roof, Kentucky Court of Appeals Rules.

    Contact Lexington personal injury lawyer Robert Abell at 859-254-7076.

  • What is negligence under Kentucky law?

    What is negligence under Kentucky law for which someone can be legally liable is a question that will vary depending on the circumstances. But here is a general and elegantly stated definition of negligence under Kentucky law:

    "Negligence, as used in law, may be defined as the failure to discharge a legal duty, whereby injury occurs. There can be no negligence where there is no duty imposed." Franklin v. Tracy, 117 Ky. 267, 77 S.W. 1113, 1115 (1904).

  • Should I Sign the Confidential Medical Records Release That the Claims Adjuster Sent Me?

    It would be easiest to say that cooperating with the insurance company's claims adjuster will help get your accident claim settled the quickest and the fairest but that isn't necessarily the case.  Keep in mind that the adjuster's main job is to limit the amount of money that the insurance company has to pay out on claims including yours, so they may not be so concerned with fairness to you as you might hope or expect.  If you sign a release authorizing your doctors and any other health care provider to provide your medical records to the adjuster, you are authorizing release of all your records, which may or may not be complete or accurate.  So what you probably or may  want to do is get your pertinent records yourself and give them to the provider yourself.

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in personal injury and accident cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • What do you have to prove in a Kentucky personal injury lawsuit?

    There are basically three things that have to be proved in a Kentucky personal injury lawsuit:


    • 1)  that a duty existed; an example is that drivers have a duty to pay attention and keep a reasonable lookout for other vehicles or pedestrians
    • 2)  a breach of duty; meaning, for instance, a driver negligently failed to pay enough attention and keep a reasonable lookout for other vehicles or a pedestrian
    • 3)  damage or injury.  This would be the damage or injury caused by the breach of duty. 

    Basically, a personal injury lawsuit in Kentucky comes down to proving that someone (an individual) or somthing (a corporation) either did something they weren't supposed to do or failed to do something they were supposed to do and, as a result, someone else was injured.  

  • What damages can be recovered if my spouse is killed in a car wreck?

    If a spouse is killed in a car wreck, the estate of the deceased spouse can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit that may include the loss of their future earning power along with their funeral expenses. If medical bills were incurred between the time of the car wreck and the spouse's death, the estate may be able to recover those.  If the deceased spouse lived for some period of time between the car wreck and his or her death, it may be possible for the deceased spouse's estate to recover pain and suffering damages for that time period.  

    The surviving spouse may be able to recover what are called "loss of consortium" damages, which compensate for the loss of a spouse's companionship and services. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled recently that such loss of consortium damages were recoverable by a surviving spouse in Martin v. Ohio County Hospital Corporation

    All cases are different and you should consult with an experienced personal injury and accident lawyer if your spouse has been killed in a car wreck.   

  • What is the Kentucky statute of limitations to file suit for injuries caused in an automobile accident?

    The Kentucky statute of limitations (or time limit) on the filing of a lawsuit for injuries caused in an automobile accident is as follows:
     

    • two years from the date of the car accident, or
    • two years from the date that the last PIP or BRB payment is made, whichever is later, but in any event
    • no later than four years after the date of the car accident

       

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

     

  • Can you recover damages for loss of a spouse's companionship because of injuries caused by another's negligence?

    Yes.  Under Kentucky law a spouse can sue for damages caused by the loss of companionship of his or her spouse due to injuries caused by the negligence of a third person.  Kentucky law considers "loss of companionship" an element or part of what is known legally as a of loss of consortium. 

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • What is the time limit to see a doctor after a car wreck?

    There is no official or legal time limit on when you should or must see a doctor following a vehicle accident or car wreck.  But the insurance company is more likely to argue that there is no connection between the accident and your doctor visit the longer the time period between them.  Waiting four, five or six months after an accident to see a doctor for your injury makes it more likely that the insurance company will deny your claim.

    It may not be fair and may even be stupid but trying to tough it out and avoid medical treatment after a car wreck may just complicate things for you. Sometimes it is true that no good deed goes unpunished. 

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • How long do I have to see a doctor after an accident?

    Month after month more people visit this website after Googling this question than any other. There is no official or legal time limit on when you should or must see a doctor following a vehicle accident.  But the insurance company is more likely to argue that there is no connection between the accident and your doctor visit the longer the time period between them.  Waiting four, five or six months after an accident to see a doctor for your injury makes it more likely that the insurance company will deny your claim.

    Lexington, Kentucky accident lawyer Robert Abell represents individuals and families in accident and personal injury cases; contact him at 859-254-7076. 

  • What are "um" benefits?

    "UM" benefits are uninsured motorist insurance (UM) benefits. UM benefits or coverage protects you if a driver who does not have any insurance injures you. The uninsured motorist insurance that you have bought from your insurance company will then pay you damages to the limits of the uninsured motorist coverage that you bought.  You should buy all the "UM" benefits or UM coverage that you can afford. 

  • Who should Kentucky accident no-fault benefits be paid to?

    You get to decide who gets paid Kentucky accident no-fault benefits.  Keep in mind no-fault benefits are only $10,000 and when they are exhausted, they will be cut off.  There are a lot of things to consider here: an example is if the injured person is knocked out of work for a period of time and need the no-fault benefits to help them with their lost wages.  

  • Are my no fault benefits paid to me or my doctor?

    You get to decide who gets paid your no fault benefits, whether directly to yourself or directly to your doctor or other medical provider. No fault benefits are available when you are injured as a result of a car wreck or accident. 

  • When does no-fault insurance coverage apply?

    No-fault insurance coverage applies when your injuries or other losses arise from a car wreck or accident. No fault benefits can be used to cover medical bills, lost wages or other expenses including what are known as replacement losses. You get to decide how your no-fault benefits are used. No-fault benefits usually have a limit of $10,000.

  • When are no-fault benefits supposed to be paid?

    No-fault benefits available because of a car wreck or accident should be paid within 30 to 46 days after proof of the loss has been submitted.

  • Are Kentucky no-fault benefits available to a driver from another state?

    Yes; If you are from another state besides Kentucky and are injured in a car wreck or accident in Kentucky, you can received no-fault benefits from your own insurance company if it does business in Kentucky, regardless of whether there is no-fault coverage available on your own policy. 

  • Kentucky No-Fault Benefits: What Are the Sources of Payment?

    There are four sources for no-fault insurance benefits if you are injured in a car wreck or accident in Kentucky:

    • the car you are in
    • if you are a pedestrian, the car that hits you; or
    • a car in your household; or
    • Kentucky Assigned Claims

  • Are no-fault coverage benefits available to me if I am injured in a car that does not have insurance?

    Yes, provided that your own car or a car in your household is insured.

    Remember that "no-fault" benefits are sometimes referred to as "PIP" benefits (short for Personal Injury Protection benefits) and/or Basic Reparation Benefits or BRBs.

  • Is there a time limit to claim no-fault benefits?

    A claim for no-fault benefits must be filed within two years of the car accident or wreck or the date of the last no-fault payment, if any no-fault benefits were ever paid.