Kansas Negligence Laws
Nobody wants to get injured, and certainly not due to the fault of others. Negligence is the legal concept of owing a duty to other people, and not meeting the standard of care that duty requires. For example, a shopkeeper should maintain a clean floor. If the floor is still wet from a coffee spilled on it hours ago and a customer slips and is injured, that could be seen as the shopkeeper's fault for not cleaning the floor in a reasonable amount of time or in failing to warn customers of the danger.
This article provides a brief overview of negligence laws in the state of Kansas.
The Elements of Negligence
Negligence law itself is fairly uniform from one state to the next. Typically, the elements of a negligence case are:
- The defendant owed a duty to act or refrain from acting;
- They breached that duty;
- This breach of duty caused the plaintiff to be injured;
- The defendant's actions or omissions were a reasonably foreseeable cause of the plaintiff's injuries; and
- The plaintiff suffered some type of damage, such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of a limb, etc.
Comparative and Contributory Negligence
There are two main legal systems of negligence in the U.S. The first is the traditional contributory negligence where any fault on the part of the plaintiff bars recovery at all. This draconian system in which the plaintiff could be found 1% at fault while the defendant is 99% at fault and yet the plaintiff gets no relief for their damages is only used in a few states today.
The second method is called comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is when a plaintiff recovers from the defendant, but only for the percentage of which the defendant was at fault.
Comparative negligence can further be broken down into “pure" and “modified." In a pure system, a jury can find the defendant 1% at fault and the plaintiff 99% at fault, and the plaintiff can still recover that minimal amount. In a modified system, such as Kansas', the plaintiff can only recover if they were only about half at fault. Some states say the plaintiff can recover as long as 50% or less at fault, others say 49% or less. Kansas is a 49% or less recovery state.
Kansas Negligence Laws: At a Glance
The following chart further details the negligence laws in Kansas.
|§ 60-258 et seq. of the Kansas Statutes
Modified Comparative Negligence
|Since 1974, Kansas has used a modified comparative negligence system of recovery for various torts (personal injury or accident law).
|Contributory negligence isn't a bar to recovery if the claimant's negligence is less than the causal negligence of defendant's, but if the plaintiff is 49% or less negligent than the defendant, the plaintiff's damages are reduced in proportion to the negligence attributable to the plaintiff
Contribution Among Tortfeasors
|Kansas has a pure several liability legal system, meaning each defendant is only responsible for their assigned portion of damages based on the percentage the jury found them responsible for the plaintiff's damages
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Get Professional Legal Help With Your Kansas Negligence Claim
Getting harmed by an accident is far from enjoyable, especially if it could have been prevented. If someone was negligent, you may want to sue them to help pay for the injuries you've sustained. To learn more about your legal options, contact an experienced Kansas personal injury attorney today.
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