Legislation clarifies accident report access

It’s been more than once that we’ve seen legislation trying to limit access to accident reports in possession of the Kentucky State Police that was aimed at keeping “ambulance chasers” (attorneys) from being able to request and receive those documents.

In 2015, the General Assembly passed HB 153 which bans solicitation of those involved in a motor vehicle crash by specified medical professionals. That bill has survived recent court challenges, and its implementation is still in its early stages. Given the level of PIP (Personal Injury Protection) fraud in Jefferson County, limiting or eliminating solicitation is a major step in combatting insurance fraud.

In the past, access to motor vehicle crash reports has been a key source of solicitations. While accident reports are not allowed to be used for commercial purposes, there is an exception for access by the media. Still, some thinly-disguised referral services for attorneys said they were media and requested the report.

Existing state law specifies that accident reports in possession of the Kentucky State Police are not subject to the provisions of the Open Records Law. However, language included an exemption for a news gathering organization. That still did not keep non-news media groups from accessing the information.

For the 2017 session, another attempt was made and now sits on the Governor’s desk, having passed the House 99-0 and the State Senate 36-2.

Several groups were involved in the 2017 effort including the insurance industry (including state and national trade associations and major auto insurance carriers) and KPA. The effort was supported by the Kentucky State Police, the City of Louisville, and the KY Justice Association.

It was aimed at limiting or eliminating the use of accident reports in the solicitation of accident victims. Solicitation of accident victims is one of the key elements of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud which occurs most often in Louisville.

In the past, organizations claimed the media exception even though they were little more than referral services for attorneys and medical providers who solicit accident victims.

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