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Injured by a Drunk Driver in Kentucky? Here’s What You Need To Do

Drunk Driver in Kentucky

With many car accidents, though one or more drivers may have acted negligently and been at fault, there is often no criminal case involved. However, if a drunk driver hits you, they will likely be charged as a criminal for knowingly and willingly putting you and others at risk. This makes the process of filing a claim and seeking compensation a little different than in other personal injury cases.

Nearly 30 people die every day as a result of drunk driving accidents. In 2019 alone, over 10,000 people were killed. While other types of collisions are hard to stop as sometimes accidents just happen, drunk-driving crashes are entirely preventable. This is often why these types of accidents can feel so senseless, frustrating, and tragic, especially for the loved ones of those who lose their lives.

If you or a loved one are injured in a drunk driving accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you seek justice and get the compensation you deserve. The results of drunk-driving crashes can be devastating and tragic, but our team of compassionate and dedicated attorneys at McCoy & Sparks are here to help in whatever way we can to ease your pain and suffering. 

What Are Kentucky’s Laws on Drunk Driving?

According to Kentucky law, a person is charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) or a DUI (driving under the influence) if they are “driving while under the influence of alcohol or any substance(s) which impair driving ability.” The exact limit is an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or above for adults and 0.02 and above for anyone under the age of twenty-one. However, even if an individual is below those limits, they could still face charges depending on the individual situation and the determination of their guilt or fault in causing the accident.

What Happens After I Am Hit by a Drunk Driver?

A Criminal Case

If you are hit by a driver who was operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, there will likely be a criminal investigation conducted by the police. They can face penalties, fines, and even jail time, depending on the details of the accident. The criminal case, however, is not responsible for ensuring your damages are paid. While the drunk driver could be held liable for damages, you will first have to file a personal injury claim separate from the criminal case.

Collection of Damages

Kentucky operates under a “no-fault” system, meaning you will first have to file your claim with your own insurance‘s personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Every driver in Kentucky is required to have this coverage as it is how you will receive compensation for injuries or other damages associated with the accident. The amount you will receive will depend on the limits of your policy.

The minimums required for the state are:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person
  • $10,000 for property damage
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for PIP coverage to not be enough to cover all injury-related expenses. If you feel that the settlement amount is not enough to cover your damages, you can opt-out of the no-fault coverage to pursue a lawsuit for more money.

A Lawsuit

If you do not get the coverage you need from the PIP insurance coverage, you can choose to file a lawsuit against the drunk driver. However, it’s important to note that if you do so, you will also be opening yourself up to a lawsuit from the drunk driver as well. They could try to claim that you were also responsible in some way for causing the accident.

Before you can decide to sue the other party, certain terms must first be met. You cannot sue the other driver unless at least one of the following occur:

  • Your injuries amount to at least $1,000 in medical expenses
  • You suffer a broken bone
  • You suffer permanent disfigurement or any permanent injury
  • Wrongful death 

What Steps Do I Need to Take After Being Injured by a Drunk Driver?

Whether you will accept the personal injury claim settlement from PIP coverage or will be pursuing a lawsuit, there are steps you should take following the accident to ensure the best outcome in either situation.

  1. Contact emergency services: Following an accident, it is important to contact the authorities so the police can arrive and file a report and so medical responders can arrive and tend to your injuries. Even if you feel fine initially, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention, as the shock of being in the accident could be masking serious injuries. If you decide against having an ambulance called, you should still drive yourself to the hospital after the police have gathered the information they need. Records of your injuries and doctor statements can help support your claim or lawsuit.
  • Collect evidence and contact information: If you are not too injured to do so, you should take photographic evidence of the scene and your injuries. It’s also wise to collect contact and insurance information from the other driver. Witness information can also be helpful if their statements are needed to corroborate what happened.
  • Report the incident to your insurance company: Following the accident, you will need to contact your insurance to tell them what happened. They will then contact the other party and their insurance to get the claim process started to determine how much compensation you will get.
  • Consult a personal injury attorney: Dealing with a criminal drunk driving case can be more challenging than other personal injury cases. By working with an attorney, you can stress less about doing everything right as they can guide you through the process to ensure you get the full amount of compensation you need and deserve.

Trust McCoy & Sparks—Premier Personal Injury Attorneys in Central Kentucky

If you or a loved one are injured in a drunk driving accident, you should contact a local personal injury attorney to help. Damages from a drunk driving accident can result in heavy financial burdens in addition to the physical and emotional pain and suffering you will experience. An attorney can advocate for your rights, ensure justice is served, and help you get the money you need to recover as comfortably as possible.

Recognized as one of Central Kentucky’s best law firms for over a decade and counting, McCoy & Sparks works to help people in trouble, representing thousands of clients in Central Kentucky with a focus on providing premium service and delivering superior results.

Regardless of the type of case, our goal is to develop a strategy that best serves your personal needs, then draw upon our courtroom skills to help you reach the best possible result. We start by getting to know you. Next, we will explain all your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you. Make the right call to (844) 4KY-WINS for a risk-free consultation with one of our attorneys today.