The Kentucky Motor Vehicles Reparations Act allows a policyholder to recover damages for an auto insurer’s denial of basic reparation benefits following a Kentucky car crash. In Risner v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. , a man sued his insurance company for payment of benefits after he was apparently injured in a Lexington, Kentucky motor vehicle collision. Following the traffic accident, the man was treated by a local chiropractor. The injured man then sought reimbursement for his associated medical expenses from his auto insurer. About six months later, the insurance company notified the policyholder that it was denying coverage for certain medical bills he incurred as a result of the crash. In Kentucky, basic reparation benefits are typically used to pay the medical bills and certain other expenses of an individual who was hurt in a car accident, regardless of fault.
After the man’s auto insurer discontinued his no-fault benefits, the injured man filed a lawsuit against the company in Rowan County Circuit Court. According to the man’s complaint, the motor vehicle insurer violated the Kentucky Motor Vehicles Reparations Act and the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act. In addition, the hurt man accused his insurance company of negligence, breach of contract, fraud, and numerous other claims. As a result, the policyholder asked the court to award him both compensatory and punitive damages. In general, punitive damages are only appropriate when a court seeks to punish a party and deter similar conduct in the future.
The insurer removed the lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky and filed a motion for summary judgment on the injured man’s damages claims. According to the car insurance company, Kentucky Supreme Court precedent limited the man’s damages for the alleged denial of basic reparation benefits to those enumerated in the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act. After stating that summary judgment is proper when no material issue of fact is in dispute and the evidence offered demonstrates that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the federal court examined the facts of the case at hand.
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky stated the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act created a statutory scheme under which automobile insurance companies must pay no-fault benefit payments to an injured insured. The law also provides a civil remedy for hurt policyholders who are unreasonably denied basic reparation benefits. According to the court, the Kentucky Supreme Court previously held in Janet Foster vs. Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Elizabeth Henry that the Motor Vehicle Reparations Act provides the exclusive civil remedy in such situations.
Next, the federal court dismissed the injured man’s attempts to distinguish his case from Foster. The court found that each of the man’s claims was based on his auto insurer’s denial of no-fault accident benefits. Since the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act does not permit an insured to recover damages beyond those specified in the Act, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky granted the motor vehicle insurer’s motion for summary judgment.
If you or a family member was injured in a Kentucky motor vehicle collision, you should contact an experienced Bowling Green personal injury attorney today. To schedule a confidential consultation with a caring car wreck lawyer, do not hesitate to call English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP at (270) 781-6500 or contact us online.
Risner v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co., Dist. Court, ED Kentucky 2014
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