Damages You Can Claim from an Auto Accident*
(*The same damages can be claimed in truck and motorcycle accidents.)
There are three (3) categories of damages for auto accident victims:
1. Property Damages - damages incurred when there is damage to personal property as a result of an auto accident.
1. Personal Property Damage – You are entitled to damage to your automobile and any personal property damaged as a result of the auto accident. Kentucky law determines the value for your property by determining the difference of market value before and after the accident.
2. Loss of Use (time) - KRS 304-.39.115 provides compensation for loss of use of an item of personal property like an automobile.
2. Personal Injury Damages when personal injuries are incurred as a result of an auto accident.
Medical Bills - Necessary and reasonable medical expenses are recoverable, BUT only recoverable if Plaintiff had paid then or incurred legal liability to pay them. Normally, an insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and therefore, this claim will be theirs. If you have paid for medical expenses out of pocket without insurance reimbursement then you will be paid for this claim.
Physical Pain and Suffering - Recoverable if accompanied by physical or bodily injury caused by the auto accident. The amount is difficult to determine but is related to the severity of the injuries.
Lost Wages – Income lost from any form of employment that is directly caused by the accident.
Mental Distress – A claim can be made for emotional distress caused an auto accident, but it is rarely successful because it requires either physical contact and a resulting mental injury or intentional and unlawful interference with a person’s rights likened to criminal harassment.
Punitive Damages – If you can prove “gross negligence” by the defendant then an amount can be awarded to punish the defendant for the purpose of discouraging similar behavior by him and others in the future. This claim is rarely made or successful in an auto accident case.
Impairment to Future Earning Capacity – An amount awarded when it is proven that physical ability to earn money is impaired. You need to prove that injuries are permanent and prevent you from earning money in the future.
Spousal Loss of Consortium – If the injuries received in an auto accident prevent a spouse from performing spousal duties and that has a negative impact on the life of the spouse, the spouse can make a claim. This claim is generally not successful in a claim for personal injury because it is not well received by juries. It would only be worth pursuing if auto accident victim is severely injured such as be paralyzed or unable to care for himself for an extended period of time. This claim is very significant if there is a death caused by an auto accident. See below.
Replacement Services - If you are unable to perform services you normally perform due to your injuries and you have to pay for someone to perform these services, then you can be reimbursed for those replacement services.
3. Wrongful Death Damages when someone dies as a result of an auto accident.
Punitive Damages – If you can prove “gross negligence” by the defendant, then an amount can be awarded to punish the defendant for the purpose of discouraging similar behavior by him and others in the future. This claim is rarely made or successful in an auto accident case.
Impairment to Future Earning Capacity – An amount awarded when it is proven that physical ability to earn money is impaired. You need to prove that injuries are permanent and prevent you from earning money in the future. This is easily done in a death case.
Spousal Loss of Consortium – This claim is very significant if there is a death caused by an auto accident because the juries highly value a spouse’s complete loss of companionship from the victim. Unfortunately, Kentucky law limits this claim for the time between the time of the accident and the time of the death.
Parental Loss of Consortium – When an auto accident results in the death of a child, the parent can make a claim for loss of companionship with the child and this claim is not limited to the time between the accident and the time of death.
Child Loss of Consortium – a child, who is not yet an adult, can make a loss of consortium claim in the loss of a parent and it is limited in time to the time between the death and the child reaching 18 years of age.
Funeral Expenses – Expenses associated with funeral are recoverable against the defendant and partially recoverable under most no-fault policies.