Beautiful Kansas. From the peaceful prairies and cornfields of the west, to the Kansas Turnpike that leads to the greatest professional sports teams and barbeque in the nation, Kansas is magnificent. It’s not all sunshine and sunflowers though: locals will tell you about the negative temperatures and black ice of wintertime, the rare tornados, and the rain and lightning storms that come out of nowhere -- all factors that can lead to car accidents. And if that accident involves another driver, you’ll certainly be well-advised to read up on the laws of car accident compensation.
Below, you'll find a chart laying out Kansas' car accident compensation laws, followed by an in-depth look at some of the key elements.
"No Fault" and "Contributory Negligence" Rules in Kansas
Kansas is a rare jurisdictions that employs "no fault" car insurance and accident compensation laws. For car accidents in Kansas, drivers are required to file a claim with their own insurance first, using the state-required "personal injury protection (PIP)" coverage. Drivers are only allowed to go beyond their own insurance and seek compensation from the other driver if they have exhausted their own coverage and have suffered a serious injury, defined by Kansas as:
- permanent disfigurement
- permanent injury
- permanent loss of a body function
- fracture of a weight-bearing bone
- compound, comminuted, compressed, or a displaced fracture of any bone
Should your case meet the requirements for serious injuries, you’ll want to be aware of Kansas’s "modified comparative fault" rules as well. At trial, a judge or jury calculates percentages of fault for each driver, and reduces each driver's liability accordingly. For example, if a driver suffers $10,000 in damages, but is found to be 10 percent at fault, his recovery will be limited to 90% of his damages -- here, $9,000. A driver who is 50% or more at fault cannot recover any damages.
Types of Damages
Car accident damages are typically labeled as economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages include lost wages from missing work, repair or replacement of your vehicle, past and future medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket expenses. Non-economic damages cover things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability or disfigurement.
Examples of damages that result from car accidents include:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical Expenses
- Rental cars
- Lost wages
- Loss of affection or companionship
Limits on Damages
In addition to the "no fault" insurance rules that may prohibit you from bringing a claim in court, and the comparative fault rules that reduce your damage award, there are other limits that must be dealt with in Kansas.
The first, and often most strict limit, is the time limit (Statute of Limitations) for filing a legal case. In Kansas, you have two years for personal (bodily) injury claims, wrongful death, and property claims. If you miss this deadline, your case is likely doomed – so it’s important to consult with an attorney early in the process to make sure you don’t miss the cutoff.
The other major limit is the Kansas cap on non-economic damages, which was upheld narrowly by the Kansas Supreme Court in 2012. The cap has since been modified by statute to adjust upward over time:
- $250,000 for causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 1988, and before July 1, 2014;
- $300,000 for causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 2014, and before July 1, 2018;
- $325,000 for causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 2018, and before July 1, 2022; or
- $350,000 for causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 2022.
Get Compensated for Your Injuries: Contact a Kansas Injury Lawyer
As you can see, Kansas has some pretty significant obstacles to filing car accident lawsuits. The strict time limits, damage limits, and rules on no fault insurance and comparative fault can be devastating to your claim if they are not carefully navigated. Eliminate the guesswork by getting in touch with a Kansas motor vehicle accident attorney today.