Kentucky Laws Regarding Cyclists
In Kentucky, bicycles are considered vehicles. The state expects bicycle riders to observe the same laws as motor vehicle operators, including using their arms as turn signals and having and using an installed sound device similar to a car’s horn — and to vocally shout out warnings when necessary. You are also expected to stop at all lights and stop signs, look for cars and pedestrians, and give them the right of way when called for.
The sole exception is that bicyclists can ride along the shoulders of a highway while vehicles cannot, but they must use a designated bicycle lane “whenever feasible” (that is, whenever it is not blocked or otherwise unavailable). Bicyclists can also ride next to one another, but not more than two abreast.
Kentucky law also enumerates “Rules for Motorists Concerning Bicycles.” The rules pertain mostly to safely passing a cyclist. The motor vehicle operator must ascertain that nothing is blocking the bicyclist’s path that might cause them to swerve toward the vehicle, must pass only when there is at least three feet between the vehicle and the cyclist, and the vehicle must return to its lane only when completely clear of the cyclist.
Filing a Claim Against a Motorist
Kentucky is a “choice no-fault” automobile insurance state. This generally means that, if you’re the driver of a vehicle injured in an automobile accident, you have the choice of relying on your own insurance to compensate you for medical expenses and lost wages, or you can sue the other driver if you can prove them to be at fault.
If you’re a bicyclist in Kentucky, you are treated as a pedestrian. This allows you to seek recovery for injury losses and expenses in two ways: filing a claim against the motorist and their insurance, or if that doesn’t cover your losses, filing a personal injury lawsuit.
In either case, you will need to establish negligence on the part of the motorist who you claim caused you to suffer injuries and other damages.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Kentucky is also a “pure comparative negligence” state, which means that, if you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against another driver, you will also be assessed a percentage of the fault, whether by a judge or jury or by an insurance claims adjuster.
Here’s how pure comparative negligence comes into play. If you file an insurance claim, the claims adjuster is going to try to pin as much blame on you as possible to limit or even deny their company’s liability. If you go to court, the judge or jury will be required to make the same assessment.
If you’re deemed to have been 20% at fault in either scenario, your reward will be reduced by that percentage. In other words, a $10,000 reward or settlement will be reduced to $8,000. Also, since Kentucky employs this pure negligence standard, you can still be judged to have been 99% at fault and receive compensation.
Statute of Limitations
If you file a claim against the driver’s insurance company, you are expected to do that as soon as possible, but if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, you must do so within two years of the date of the accident. You can always file an insurance claim first and then decide on the lawsuit option.
Trust a Team of Skilled Attorneys
A motor vehicle crashing into a bicyclist can result in serious if not devastating injuries. Injuries can include fractures, concussions, lacerations, road rashes, internal organ damage, spinal cord injuries, and even traumatic brain injuries. Some of these injuries may not even become obvious until days or even weeks after your accident, so you should not brush off any injury as slight, but get a complete medical evaluation immediately.
If your injuries do turn out to be slight, filing an insurance claim may cover your medical bills and any lost wages from missing work, but do you really want to deal with insurance adjusters? Let us do that for you. We know all their tricks and tactics. We will fight for your rightful compensation.
Insurance settlements are capped and also do not cover noneconomic losses for pain and suffering. Personal injury lawsuits expand the level of compensation available to include noneconomic losses. Remember, in order to file a claim or a lawsuit against a driver, you’ve going to have to prove negligence on their part. They, in turn, will try to pin the whole incident on you. That is why you need solid legal counsel and representation if you hope to recover fair compensation.