Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Kentucky?

Learn what kinds of car accidents need to be reported in Kentucky, and what happens if you don't report the crash.

By , Attorney

In every state, drivers have certain legal obligations they must comply with if they get into a car accident. Kentucky, like most states, requires that almost all car accidents be reported, but as with any law, there are specifics and exceptions. This article will help you understand what type of car accident needs to be reported in Kentucky, how it must be reported, and other things drivers need to keep in mind after a car accident.

When Must a Car Accident Be Reported in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, the operator of a vehicle that was involved in an accident on any public road in the state must report the crash if results in

  • a fatality
  • a known or visible injury to a person, or
  • damage to a vehicle that renders the vehicle inoperable.

The operator must report the accident to a Kentucky public safety answering point, law enforcement agency, or law enforcement officer having jurisdiction over the area where the accident occurred.

Under Kentucky law, the operator of the vehicle must report the accident immediately as long as he or she:

  • is physically capable of doing so, and
  • has a functioning cell phone.

Does the Driver Have to File a Written Accident Report in Kentucky?

Yes, in certain situations. If a vehicle was involved in an accident on a public road that resulted in injury to or death of any person or that resulted in total property damage of $500 or more, and where a law enforcement officer did not conduct an investigation, the operator must file a written accident report with the Kentucky State Police within 10 days of the accident on an official State Police accident report form. (You can download a Civilian Collision Report Form from the Kentucky State Police Forms/Downloads page.

What If I Don't Report a Reportable Accident in Kentucky?

Failure to give immediate oral notice of a reportable accident in Kentucky is punishable by a fine of $20 to $100. Failure to file a written accident report, if required, is also punishable by a fine of $20 to $100.

What If I Am Unable to Report the Accident Immediately?

If the operator fails to give required immediate notice -- or is incapable of doing so -- then notice must be given within a reasonable amount of time by:

  • any occupant of the vehicle at the time of the accident, or
  • the owner of the vehicle, once the owner learns of the accident.

More Information on Car Accidents in Kentucky

For more information on the rules for reporting a car accident in Kentucky, you can refer to Kentucky Revised Statutes section 189.580 and Kentucky Revised Statutes section 189.990.

And for more state-specific rules, check out our articles Car Accident Laws in Kentucky and Car Insurance Rules and Regulations in Kentucky.

Should I Report the Accident to My Automobile Insurance Company?

No state requires its drivers to report a car accident to the driver's car insurance company. However, if you get into an accident, you would want to report that accident to your insurer so that you are in compliance with the terms of your insurance contract.

That's because all standard automobile insurance contracts -- in every state -- require an insured driver to report any accident within a reasonable period of time after it occurs. If the insured fails to report the accident within a reasonable period of time (like, within a day or two), the insurer may deny coverage for the accident.

You do not want your insurer to deny coverage, so even if your accident was minor and did not rise to the level of a "reportable accident" as Kentucky law defines it, you should always report it to your insurer so you have coverage in case you need it.

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