What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Kentucky?
First, for readers who aren’t fluent in legalese, let’s explain that a “statute of limitations” is a state law that puts a strict limit on a potential plaintiff’s right to take a dispute to court, by setting a deadline for getting the initial complaint filed (that’s the document that starts a lawsuit). These deadlines differ depending on the kind of case you want to file.
You can find the statute of limitations that will apply to almost all injury lawsuits arising from a car accident at Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.140(1)(a). This law gives you one year to turn to the state’s civil court system for a remedy after any kind of personal injury where someone else is at fault. So, in the context of a motor vehicle accident, any lawsuit by any driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian injured in the crash will be subject to this one-year filing deadline, and the “clock” starts running on the date of the accident. (If the lawsuit includes a wrongful death claim, the one-year “clock” starts running on the date of the accident victim’s death, as opposed to the accident date.
The deadline is different for a potential plaintiff whose vehicle or other personal property was damaged as a result of the car accident. Any lawsuit for these kinds of losses must be filed within two years of the date of the accident, and that time limit can be found at Kentucky Revised Statutes section 413.125.
(Keep in mind that no matter what kind of lawsuit you are bringing over harm caused by a car accident, the case will almost certainly turn on your ability to prove that the other party’s negligence was the cause of the crash. Learn more about Proving Fault for a Car Accident.)
So, what happens if you try to file your lawsuit after the deadline set by Kentucky’s statute of limitations has already passed? In that situation, the defendant is sure to ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court is very likely to agree that a dismissal is appropriate. That’s why it’s crucial to understand and abide by the statute of limitations as it applies to your potential car accident lawsuit. If the statute of limitations deadline is coming up, it may be time to discuss your situation with an experienced Kentucky car accident attorney.
by: David Goguen, J.D.