In 2021, Kentucky saw 806 fatalities on its roads. The number of fatal accidents in Kentucky has risen since 2020, when there were 780 fatalities, while 2019 saw 732 fatalities. The Kentucky Transportation Center has been attempting to determine why these fatalities are increasing and how they can prevent them.
Many accidents are the result of irresponsible driving and bad habits. For example, more than one-quarter of the crashes in Kentucky were due to speeding or aggressive driving behaviors and 15% of accidents involved alcohol. In crashes that resulted in fatalities, roughly 54.7% weren’t wearing seat belts.
These accidents lead to serious legal concerns. If someone else causes the crash, they are often legally required to compensate the car accident victim for their losses and damages. And that is where a Kentucky car accident attorney can be beneficial. A Kentucky car accident lawyer will help a car accident victim put their lives back together after a crash, including addressing medical needs and an inability to work.
Kentucky’s latest statistics indicate that the same problems that arose in 2021 are still prevalent in 2022. So far this year (as of September 15, 2022), there have been 472 traffic fatalities. Of these, alcohol was a factor in just under 17% of accidents. Victims didn’t use seat belts in 56% of accidents.
The Kentucky Office of High Safety reports the state's Transportation Cabinet has expressed serious concern about Kentucky drivers’ habits. The Governor noted that accidents due to driver inattention and carelessness are preventable. He states, "We must be vigilant about personal safety and responsibility behind the wheel if we are going to reverse this trend.”
In 2020, the last date that the Kentucky State Police provided complete data, roughly 1 in 154 Kentucky residents was injured in a traffic collision in Kentucky. However, 2020 saw a marked decrease in the daily total number of miles driven, likely due to COVID-19. Even with the slightly decreased numbers of miles driven, Kentucky has a higher total fatality rate per mile driven compared to the rest of the United States. Kentucky’s rate is 1.61 deaths per 100 million miles traveled as of 2019, while the country averages 1.2.
Car Wreck Statistics in Kentucky
The most common age group who lost their lives because of car accidents in Kentucky was 15 to 24 years old. This age group made up 18.3% of all fatalities in 2020.
Roughly 60% of all accidents (not just fatal crashes) were with other moving vehicles. Another 19% of accidents involved collisions with a fixed object.
Driver error always seems to be a huge contributing factor to accidents across the United States. The top five contributing factors for car accidents in Kentucky during 2020 included:
- Driver inattention – 35.07%
- Vehicle not under control – 14.33%
- Failure to yield – 10.38%
- Misjudged clearance – 7.59%
- Following too closely – 5.35%
Alcohol only made up 3.47% of all collisions in 2020, but it accounted for 14.2% of all fatal accidents.
The term “negligence” is often used in legal cases. In general, it means a lack of care or inattention.
In car accident situations, legal cases essentially use it to establish that someone’s inattention or carelessness led to the accident that caused damages. A Kentucky car accident lawyer must prove that the other person was negligent so that a car accident victim can recover damages after a crash.
Kentucky is a comparative negligence state. This means that each party is assigned a percentage of fault in an accident. Then, the party claiming damages (the car accident victim) can recover their damages and losses up to the percent of the damage caused by someone else. As a result, even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover a portion of your injuries and damages.
Proving that someone else was negligent requires that your Kentucky car accident attorney show the following factors: duty, breach, cause, and damages.
Every driver on the road in Kentucky has a duty to everyone around them to drive in a reasonably safe way based on road conditions. For non-commercial drivers, this duty is called the “duty of reasonable care.”
For commercial vehicles, their duty is “utmost care.” This is a higher level of care because of the more dangerous nature of their vehicle. Commercial vehicles are often semi-trucks, but they can also be common carriers, like public transportation or school buses.
In car accident cases, the duty is presumed. Essentially, as long as the other driver was operating their vehicle, the duty of care applies.
In each car accident case, your Kentucky car accident lawyer must show that the other driver breached their duty of care. That breach is basically a violation of their duty. If the other driver was operating their vehicle in an "unreasonable way,” such as driving too fast for the conditions or not paying attention to the road, they may have breached their duty of care.
The breach of duty and the cause of the accident must be related. For example, if a driver ran a red light before crashing into you a block later, his running the red light might have nothing to do with your accident. It was careless or reckless, but it may not have caused your accident and resulting damages.
There must also be a connection between the damages the car accident victim sustained and the driver’s breach of their duty of care. For instance, if you already had a broken arm before the accident, you cannot receive money for damages for this injury after the accident.
If you have an injury before the crash and the crash aggravates or makes it worse, talk to a Kentucky car accident attorney about whether you can receive damages for that type of injury. You might be able to recover damages in those circumstances.
You must have also suffered damages or losses because of the accident. Some losses, such as broken bones, head injuries, or soft-tissue injuries, are easy to spot. However, others are not as apparent. Some brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders may not be visible immediately, but they are just as important as some of the easier injuries to spot.
Money damages can also help car accident victims address things like lost wages, medical bills, and loss of enjoyment of life.
A Kentucky car accident attorney will be able to review your situation and help you determine what compensation you may be able to receive. You might be surprised to learn just how far-reaching the effects of a car accident can be.
The Collateral Source Rule
The collateral source rule states that any payments you receive from third parties will not decrease the amount of money you can receive from your car accident case. For example, if your health insurance pays for some of your medical bills, you can still recover the portion that your health insurance paid. This is because your health insurance carrier will likely ask for reimbursement for the amount they paid out of your personal injury damages.
In most situations, defendants in a car accident case cannot tell a jury about funds received from collateral sources. If a jury knew about these payments, they might try to decrease the overall damages award to account for some of these payments. Practically, however, a car accident victim often needs these payments to pay for the high costs of a car accident.
Dram Shop Laws in Kentucky
Kentucky imposes liability on some restaurants and bars that over-serve individuals. This liability applies if those individuals then cause a car accident.
This law is commonly referred to as a “dram shop law.” This rule is strict—it requires the business to know that the person is already intoxicated, which can be difficult to prove. Talk to a Kentucky car accident lawyer if you think dram shop laws might apply to your situation.
A Quick Note About Seat Belts
It is also important to note that Kentucky has a strict seat belt requirement. Seat belts are not only required by law, but they can affect your car accident case as well. The percentage of fault attributed to another driver might decrease if the car accident victim (or any passengers) were not wearing their seat belts.
Do not assume that you don’t have a legal claim because you weren’t wearing a seat belt, however. Failing to wear a seat belt doesn’t bar your claim. Talk to a Kentucky car accident attorney about your specific situation to better understand how a seat belt might affect your case.
Negligence Per Se
Negligence per se is a legal term that helps car accident victims in Kentucky establish negligence. This rule has roots in common law, but Kentucky has taken this rule one step further and set it out as part of Kentucky’s codified laws as well.
Kentucky Statute 446.070 addresses negligence per se. This law essentially states that, if one party violated a law and that violation resulted in damages, then the person damaged can recover money damages for the resulting losses.
Consider an example. Imagine Abby ran a stop sign and hit Bill. Bill had to go to the hospital for a broken wrist. Because Abby violated the law by running a stop sign, she must pay Bill’s damages for his broken wrist.
Negligence per se offers car accident victims a “shortcut” to prove negligence in Kentucky. While there are some complications that a Kentucky car accident lawyer can help you address, Kentucky law makes recovering damages under negligence per se a bit easier for car accident victims in the state.
Kentucky is one of several states that completely bans texting while driving for drivers of all ages. As a result, texting while driving would likely constitute negligence per se. Your attorney can help you show that a driver was texting in violation of this law if that is the case.
Kentucky is a “pure comparative fault” state. The amount of damages you can recover because of a car accident isn’t limited. In other states, for example, you cannot recover damages if you were more than 50% at fault for the crash. Kentucky doesn’t have such limitations.
However, your recovery for damages is limited by your amount of fault. It might help to review an example. Imagine someone ran a stop sign and crashed into you while driving through an intersection. You were speeding and didn’t have a seat belt on at the time of the crash. A jury could find that you were partially at fault for the accident because of your actions.
If a jury finds that the other driver was 80% at fault, and you were 20% at fault, that will reduce the total damages you can receive by 20%. For instance, if your damages were $10,000, then the most you could receive from the other driver is $8,000 (80% of your total damages).
How a Kentucky Car Accident Attorney Can Help
A Kentucky car accident lawyer can be a great resource and advocate after you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident. Below are a few examples of what your Kentucky car accident attorney might do for you.
Provide Legal Expertise and Insight
If you have an experienced Kentucky car accident attorney who knows car accident law well, he or she can examine the facts of your case and tell you what you can expect as part of a lawsuit. Those who specifically work in Kentucky can provide unique insight and information on the judges and juries in your area.
For many seasoned lawyers, their experience might include working through hundreds of cases. They put all of that knowledge and experience to work for you.
Gather Evidence and Information
Your Kentucky car accident lawyer can go through written requests for information, issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, and a lot more. The entire legal process is designed to allow lawyers to get the information they need to help you present your case.
Unfortunately, non-lawyers do not have many of these rights or abilities. Although you can gather your own information after an accident, it might not be as accessible or easy to go through this process alone. This means that getting information is faster and easier for an experienced Kentucky car accident lawyer.
Negotiate and Advocate on Your Behalf
Some insurance companies use various tricks and tactics to avoid paying car accident victims. Because of their experience, a Kentucky car accident lawyer will be able to avoid many of these ploys. A Kentucky car accident lawyer will be your liaison with the insurance company.
Thankfully, when you team up with an experienced Kentucky car accident lawyer, they take a lot of the stress out of your situation because you know your rights are protected.
Crash Accident Statistics for Kentucky Cities
The intersection of Second Street and Broadway in Louisville is considered one of the most dangerous intersections in the city. From July 2018 to July 2019, 35 crashes occurred at this intersection alone.
This intersection involves a two-way street on Second, but Broadway turns into a one-way at this intersection. It is also a high foot-traffic area, making it especially dangerous for pedestrians.
In 2021, Lexington actually saw more accidents than Louisville. Although its population is slightly less than Louisville’s, Lexington might have more commuters, which may account for the increase in accidents.
There were 15,016 accidents in Lexington in 2021. Most accidents (13,147) involved property damage. Only 1,833 crashes involved injuries, but there were also 36 fatalities.
- Citation Blvd and Georgetown Road
- E New Circle Road between Golden Way and N Limestone–Old Paris Road and Man O War Blvd between Beaver Creek Drive and Richmond Road (tied with 31 collisions at each location)
- Man O War Blvd and Richmond Road had the most collisions, with 43
Although the number of fatal crashes increased in Lexington in 2021, the overall traffic calls reported by the Lexington Police Department were down significantly from 2020 and 2019.
Bowling Green had just 5,863 collisions during 2021. Of those, 5,102 involved property damage, and 742 involved injuries. In addition, there were 19 fatalities due to collisions in 2021.
According to the Bowling Green Police Department, there have been 219 accidents that resulted in injuries and 1,866 total accidents from March 2022 to August 2022.
There were 4,011 collisions during 2021 in Owensboro. Just 484 of those accidents had injuries, but there were 10 fatalities. Of those, 3,517 accidents involved property damage.
In 2021, Covington saw 2,156 accidents. There were just 4 fatalities and 180 injuries. Another 1,972 accidents resulted in property damage.
To find a Kentucky car accident attorney to help with your car accident case, reach out to Accident.com.