If you are involved in a car accident, you may want compensation for your injuries or damage to your vehicle. In some cases, you may think the other driver was at fault and want to seek compensation from them. Car accidents are inherently stressful, and the last thing you want to think about is a deadline for filing your lawsuit. You should know, however, you may only have one or two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for compensation.
What is a statute of limitations?
A statute of limitations sets a deadline on when a party can file a complaint for various causes of action. Typically, statutes of limitations give parties a certain number of years to file complaints, or the lawsuits are barred, permanently. There are exceptions for when a party can file suit after a statute of limitations has run, but usually, the public interest is served when lawsuits are brought in a timely manner. This is because evidence can disappear over time, individuals need to move on with their lives without the threat of a lawsuit hanging over their heads, and a host of other reasons.
What is the statute of limitations for my motor vehicle accident?
Most of the time, in Kentucky, a party will have either one or two years after a motor vehicle accident to file a complaint against the party they think is at fault. Whether you have one or two years depends on the nature of the injury and from whom you are seeking compensation.
- Two years with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. First, you should know that Kentucky is considered a “no-fault” state, meaning it mandates a type of insurance coverage called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP. This coverage means you cannot seek compensation from another party in an accident covered by insurance unless your injuries meet certain requirements. You seek payment from your own insurance first.
- When PIP payments are made after an accident, Kentucky law states that a two-year statute of limitations runs beginning on the date of the last PIP payment.
- One year without PIP coverage. Motorists in Kentucky have the right to reject PIP, however, meaning the statute of limitations changes. If you are filing a complaint against another motorist for injuries you sustained in an accident and you do not have PIP coverage, you have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim.
- One year for a wrongful death claim. If you are seeking compensation for the wrongful death of a family member killed in a crash, you have one year from the date of that person’s death to file a claim. If the deceased died from injuries on a different day than the date of the accident, the one-year period will be more than one year after the accident.
- Two years for damage to a vehicle. If you are seeking compensation for damage to your vehicle, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a complaint.
Exceptions to Statute of Limitations
Sometimes, it is not possible to file a complaint on time. Maybe the defendant has disappeared and cannot be found, or you did not discover your injuries until long after an accident. In some cases, the injured party may be under the age of 18, so the statute of limitations may not start running until the injured party’s 18th birthday. There are many reasons a plaintiff acting in good faith may not file by the deadline, and usually, courts are reasonable in allowing suits to go forward if good cause can be shown.
Contact an experienced Lexington, Kentucky car accident attorney
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident and are considering seeking compensation from another party, contact a car accident attorney in Lexington, Kentucky as soon as possible. Call (859) 231-0202 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Do not let time run out!