Kentucky Statute of Limitations: Accidents and Personal Injury Cases

If you or a loved one are trying to put your life together following an accident or medical issue you should be aware of the Kentucky statute of limitations. These provide legal guardrails for how much time you have, after an incident, to file a lawsuit. In this article, we’ll look at the steps you can take to fight for your best interests while navigating the various statute of limitations in Kentucky.

Kentucky Statute of Limitations Explained

You may have heard the term “statute of limitations” before, but do you know what it means? A statute of limitations sets specific time periods for when someone can take legal action after an accident or other incident that caused injury or damage. 

For example, after an auto accident your Kentucky personal injury attorney may suggest you seek payment for damages through the courts. Or after a surgical mistake, you may want to sue the physician. But those actions have to be taken within the defined statute of limitations.

What is the Personal Injury Statute of Limitations in Kentucky? 

In the state of Kentucky, the personal injury statute of limitations gives you one year to take legal action after being hurt. That means you have a set period of time to try and collect compensation if you have been injured in any of the following ways.

  • Pedestrian accident
  • Bike accident 
  • Animal attack 
  • Injury sustained due to negligence of someone’s personal property

Any legal action must be taken within the one-year statute of limitations. (Kentucky has a separate two-year statute of limitations for personal injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents.)

The amount of time that you have to bring a claim is dependent on the type of accident that you experienced and a number of other vitally important factors. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at GSAS have experience navigating the various Kentucky statute of limitations.They can help make sure that you take the right steps after your accident.

What Are Exceptions to Accident Statute of Limitations? 

There are certain exceptions to the personal injury statute of limitations in Kentucky. These exceptions extend the life of a legal statute. This allows a victim to come forward past the usual amount of time granted. These exceptions include: 

Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 413.170

If you’ve obtained a personal injury accident under the age of 18 or you are deemed incapacitated, you will be given one extra year after you either turn 18 or are found to be legally capacitated. 

Kentucky Revised Statutes Section 413.190

If the defendant (the person you are suing) is absent from the state of Kentucky after the injury but before you bring litigation against them, the statute of limitations is paused. This is also the case if the defendant hides or conceals themselves within the state. 

Is There a Bike Accident Statute of Limitations?

Although a bicycle is classified as a “vehicle” in the state of Kentucky, the accident statute of limitations is different from those for cars and trucks. Bike riders in Kentucky have one year to take action following an accident. This is different from the statute of limitations timetable for motor vehicle accidents.

This difference is because cyclists are not required to carry no-fault insurance to ride a bike. As such, a shorter statute of limitations is necessary. 

What Are the Statutes of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Kentucky?

Medical malpractice is the term used to describe an incident where a person visits a medical professional for help but ends up being injured. Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • A doctor providing the wrong diagnosis
  • A surgeon performing an unnecessary surgery
  • A nurse practitioner prescribing the wrong medication
  • A physician operating on the wrong body part
  • A technician leaving surgical tools inside of a patient

Medical malpractice can prolong the original illness, lead to new illnesses, or result in the death of a patient. A claim of medical malpractice can be filed in court up to a year after the incident. Any legal cases filed after that will not be heard as they will be outside of the statute of limitations.

When Does the Kentucky Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations Start?

In most cases, the timing for the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases starts when the incident occurs. This could be the day of the surgery or the office visit. But there are some exceptions.

  • Discovery – If the injury caused by malpractice is not immediately visible, the statute of limitations does not begin until the issue is discovered.
  • Age – If the incident happens to a minor and no other legal action is taken, the minor has until they turn 19 to take legal action on their own.
  • Disability – If a person goes into a coma, the timing of the statute of limitations would not start until they were out of the coma.
  • Death – If malpractice resulted in a person’s death, the statute of limitations may be able to be stretched up to two-years. This allows time for a legal representative of the estate to be established.

Other Kentucky Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are not limited to medical or motor vehicle related issues. They are in place for many different goods and services. This is a sample of the time frames of other statutes of limitations.

IncidentStatute of Limitations
Unpaid Child Support15 Years
Any Action That Does Not Have a Specific Legal Statute Already In Place10 Years
Deficient Construction7 Years
Product Liability5 Years
Injuries Related to Home Construction5 Years
Sale Contracts4 Years
Home Inspections1 Year
Slander1 Year

What is Kentucky’s No-Fault System?

Fault is a term used to assign responsibility for something like a motor vehicle accident. Fault is especially important in determining who has to pay for damages and injuries.

Kentucky lawmakers have passed a law that classifies Kentucky as a no-fault state. This means that if you are involved in an auto accident you must use your own insurance provider to pay for damages. This is even if you were not at-fault for the accident.

To ensure that your coverage can meet this need, vehicle owners are required to have PIP or Personal Injury Protection, included in their insurance policy. Most insurance providers have a base PIP policy of $10,000. This can be used to pay for medical expenses related to an auto accident.

In car accidents, Kentucky no-fault laws only apply to injuries, NOT to damages and other material expenses.

What is NOT Covered under the No-Fault System?

The no-fault laws that are currently active in Kentucky mean that a person can not automatically start a lawsuit after an auto accident. For a lawsuit to be filed certain requirements must be met. 

Those include:

  • Death
  • Loss of limb(s)
  • Loss of any bodily functions
  • Permanent injury
  • Broken bones

Also included on this list are any other injuries which can lead to you having over $1,000 in medical expenses. 

Having the help of a personal injury lawyer with experience in Kentucky can help you manage the specifics of your particular situation and how those might be affected by the different Kentucky statute of limitations.

Do Kentucky’s Statute of Limitations “Expire?”

If you wait too long to begin legal action, the statute of limitations can expire. When this happens the case will be deemed to be too old and will not be heard by a judge. While there are time limits regarding the statute of limitations for civil cases in Kentucky, there are no limits for any felonies that have been committed.

For the most part, the timing of the various Kentucky statute of limitations depends on how serious the incident is. Other factors that would affect the timing of the statute of limitations include the type of “event” and who might have been involved. 

Some severe cases, such as murder or genocide, have no statute of limitations. And in some cases a statute of limitations can be extended.

Don’t Let the Accident Statute of Limitations Run Out

As a victim of a Kentucky personal injury accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Insurance companies and adjusters are masters at negotiation. It pays for them to pay out as little as possible and they spend a lot of time and money ensuring that they are positioned to do just that. 

That’s why it can be so important to have an accident attorney from Spivak & Sakellariou on your side. The experienced team at GSAS has your best interests at heart and are focused on getting you the results you rightly deserve. To see how the Kentucky statute of limitations might apply to your current situation, contact GSAS today

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