What Do I Need to Know About Kentucky Negligence Law for my Car Accident Case?

The unfortunate reality of car accidents is that lives can be irreversibly altered in a matter of seconds. If you find yourself suffering an injury due to a car accident, how do you determine who is financially liable? Typically, insurance companies, judges, and juries assess negligence claims to determine which person(s) will receive compensation and how much they will receive. According to the American Bar Association, “A driver has a duty to use reasonable care to avoid injuring anyone he or she meets on the road. If a driver fails to use reasonable care and that failure injures you, then the driver is responsible (liable) to you for those injuries.” 

Elements of Kentucky Negligence Laws

According to American tort law, for any negligence claim to be applied, five components must be established. For reference to the following explanations of the elements of negligence laws, a plaintiff is a person who initiates legal action against another person. Whereas the defendant is the accused.  

  1. Duty – The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. In other words, the driver is required to do everything to safely operate their vehicle and avoid crashing.
  2. Breach of Duty – A breach is a behavior that “violates the legal duty” of the defendant to safely drive the vehicle. 
  3. Cause in Fact – It must be proven that the plaintiff would not have suffered the injuries if not for the defendant's fault.
  4. Proximate Cause – This legal term essentially signifies “foreseeability.” This stipulates that the defendant should have anticipated how his or her actions could induce an accident or injury.  
  5. Damages – The plaintiff has suffered recognizable injuries or damages. 

Who decided liability for negligence? 

According to the American Bar Association, the judge or jury will decide "what an ordinary or reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances" after hearing the evidence brought forth by the attorneys. In-car accident cases, the judge or jury will find a driver negligent if “his or her conduct departed from what an ordinary or reasonable person would have done in similar circumstances. 

Comparative Negligence Laws

According to KRS 411.182, Kentucky is a "pure comparative fault state." So if you are in a car accident and a jury decides that you are at fault, your compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault the jury places on you.


A Jury gives you $100,000 in medical bills and lost wages for your wreck, but the jury finds you 20% at-fault for the wreck. You would be award damages for medical bills and lost wages of $80,000.

The pure comparative fault system that Kentucky uses allows you to  recover damages/compensation even if you are the driver found to be mostly at fault. However, it is rare for a jury to find an individual majority at-fault and award the person money. Allocation of liability can be heavily influenced by a skillful personal injury attorney who knows how to properly engage with a jury. 

Have Any Questions? Speak with an Attorney for a Free Consultation. Operating the aftermath of a car crash can be a demanding task. We are here to assist you and talk to the jury about what was taken away from you. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to call Dixie Law Group at 502-806-8711.

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You can contact our lawyers in Louisville at 502-806-8711 or contact us online. Initial consultations are always free.


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