Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage: what you need to know

By Bob Young, Attorney English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP Every car owner in Kentucky is required to carry liability insurance on their automobile. Liability insurance means that if you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, and you are at fault, your insurance will pay for the damages to the other vehicle and for their injuries. But what happens if you’re involved in an accident, it’s the other person’s fault and the other person isn’t carrying the required insurance? Or what if your injuries or your passenger’s injuries are greater than the coverage the other person is carrying? If the at-fault drivers has no coverage, that would mean your own uninsured motorist insurance policy would pay the bills for your treatment and cover the pain and suffering for injuries suffered by you or anyone in your vehicle. If the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage, underinsured motorist coverage, again, on your own policy, would cover these bills and damages, to the extent the at-fault driver does not have adequate coverage. Read More


Tennessee personal injury case highlights importance of timeliness of filing lawsuit

Compared to some states, Tennessee has a very short statute of limitations for the filing of claims involving personal injury: just one year. If a claim is not filed within this time period, the plaintiff's case will be dismissed regardless of its merits. In addition to filing his or her claim in court within one year of the accident, the plaintiff must also serve a summons and a copy of the complaint on the defendant within a certain time period. A recent Tennessee personal injury case illustrates the difficulties that a claimant faced when his opponent not only moved out of the county but also filed for bankruptcy protection. Read More


Kentucky Court of Appeals Dismisses Underinsured Motorist Claim as Untimely

The Kentucky appellate courts seem to have heard more uninsured and underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) insurance cases than usual lately. Perhaps the court has done this intentionally for the sake of judicial economy - the reason being that it is easier to decide cases with similar issues while all of the intricacies of a particular branch of law are still fresh in the court's mind. Another reason may be that there are simply more UM/UIM disputes these days than in past years. Kentucky does have mandatory automobile liability insurance requirement, but the minimum required is just $25,000 per person (or $50,000 per accident) for bodily injury claims. Given the rapidly increasing costs of medical care, this coverage is often not enough to fully compensate an accident victim for his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. UM/UIM coverage bridges the gap between a defendant's liability coverage and a plaintiff's total amount of damages, at least up to the plaintiff's own policy limits. It is important to note that, just as in other types of personal injury cases, timeliness is very important when it comes to asserting one's rights under a UM/UIM policy. Read More


Kentucky Court of Appeals says helmet is not integral part of motorcycle in accident dispute

The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled in an unpublished opinion that a helmet is not an integral part of a motorcycle for purposes of uninsured motorist benefits. This issue was decided on in the case of Stallard v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. The case involved a motorcycle owner who was injured in an accident while riding with a group of other bikers. The man was riding in the center of a group of about two dozen motorcyclists when the group of riders suddenly slowed. As the man attempted to avoid an accident with another motorcycle, he sustained serious injuries when another motorcyclist’s unsecured helmet bounced into his tire. When the motorcycle accident occurred, the motorcyclist carried uninsured motor vehicle (UM) insurance. Since the injured man was not hit by another vehicle, however, the motorcyclist’s insurer denied his insurance benefits claim. After that, the injured rider filed a lawsuit against his insurance carrier in Jefferson County Circuit Court. In response, the insurer filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming it was not required to provide benefits under the terms of the policy because the motorcyclist was not physically struck by another vehicle, nor was he injured by an integral part of another vehicle. The hurt rider countered that he should be compensated by his UM insurer because a motorcycle helmet is an integral part of a motorcycle. The trial court sided with the insurance company and granted summary judgment in favor of the insurance carrier. Read More