Matthew Minner | July 2, 2021 | Car Accident
According to the National Safety Council, your odds of dying in a car crash are higher than your chances of being killed in a motorcycle crash or pedestrian accident. In fact, you have a 1 in 107 chance of dying in a motor vehicle crash during your lifetime.
In Kentucky, one out of every 5,997 Kentucky residents died in a fatal traffic collision in 2019. The odds of being injured in a traffic accident in Kentucky were much greater: one in every 133 Kentucky residents were injured in traffic crashes in 2019. Additionally, about 1 in every 16 drivers licensed in Kentucky were involved in car accidents.
How Can You Avoid a Traffic Accident?
Many of the traffic deaths and injuries in Kentucky are preventable. The majority of traffic accidents are caused by human errors and negligence.
Drivers can reduce their risk of being involved in a car accident by:
- Following all traffic laws
- Not operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Avoiding driving when drowsy or physically exhausted
- Always paying attention to the road and avoiding distractions, including using a cell phone while driving
- Obeying the speed limit and allowing extra time to reach your destination to avoid speeding accidents
- Avoiding tailgating that causes rear-end accidents
- Keeping a well-maintained vehicle
- Purchasing new vehicles equipped with crash avoidance technology
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, transportation agencies can also help reduce the risk of traffic accidents. Agencies can design safer streets for use by motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents
Wearing a seat belt can help reduce the risk of death and injury in a car crash. However, seat belts and airbags may not prevent all injuries.
Common car accident injuries include:
- Soft tissue injuries, including whiplash, strains, and sprains
- Broken bones and fractures
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns
- Chest injuries
- Internal organ damage
If you are injured in a Lexington car accident, you could be entitled to several types of damages, including economic damages (i.e., medical bills, lost income, etc.) and non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, scarring, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.). A jury might award punitive damages in rare cases if the at-fault driver’s actions were grossly negligent, willful, and wanton.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit After a Car Accident
In some cases, car accident injuries may result in a person’s death. The family members may have a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver.
Under Kentucky’s wrongful death laws, a wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another person’s wrongful act or negligence. The family members might receive damages, including punitive damages if the conduct was willful or grossly negligent.
The personal representative of the deceased’s estate files the wrongful death action on behalf of the estate. The estate may receive compensation for:
- Reasonable funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred to treat the car accident injuries before death
- Compensation for injuries incurred before death
- Loss of earning power of the deceased
- The costs associated with filing a wrongful death claim
The estate distributes any compensation received from the wrongful death claim in a specific order specified by law. The priority for disbursing funds is:
- All to the surviving spouse if there are no children
- Dividing equally between a spouse and children
- All to the children if there is no surviving spouse
- All to the parents if there are no spouses or children
- If there are no immediate family members, the funds are paid according to the person’s will or intestate laws
There is a very short statute of limitations for Kentucky wrongful death lawsuits. The deadline for filing a wrongful death claim is one year from the deceased’s date of death. If you do not file a lawsuit before one year expires, you lose the right to seek justice for your loved one and your family.
Car Accidents Cause Devastating Consequences for Victims and Families
Kentucky personal injury laws allow car accident victims to seek compensation for their injuries, financial losses, and other damages. The wrongful death laws allow family members to receive compensation for the loss of a loved one. However, you must prove causation, which means proving that the other driver caused the car crash before you can recover any money for your claim.
Because insurance companies actively seek to deny or lower the value of injury claims, it is often best to seek legal advice as soon as possible after a crash. A personal injury lawyer can review your case, advise you of your legal rights, and help you pursue a claim against the person who caused your pain and suffering.