Kansas Personal Injury Laws & Statutory Rules
Learn about personal injury fault and liability rules, damage caps, the statute of limitations, and more in Kansas.
A number of Kansas laws apply to cases in which a person is injured within the state. In this article, we summarize a few key points of Kansas injury law that may come into play in court cases, or even during insurance settlement negotiations.
Time Limits on Kansas Personal Injury Lawsuits
Kansas has a time limit imposed by state law, called a statute of limitations, that creates a deadline for filing an injury lawsuit in state civil court. In Kansas you have two years to file a court case after an injury -- seeking compensation from those who are legally responsible.
Usually, this two-year time limit runs from the date of the accident. But in rare cases, if you suffer a hidden injury that cannot be discovered on the accident date, the clock for the two year deadline may start running from the "discovery date" of your injury, instead of the accident date.
Comparative Fault in Kansas
Kansas uses a "comparative fault" rule to reduce or eliminate damages when an injured person is found to share the fault for the accident or incident that led to their injury.
Comparative fault is a component of many Kansas injury cases; it is not unusual to file a court case or insurance claim against another party, only to have them claim that you were partly or totally at fault for your own injuries.
Kansas's comparative fault rule works like this: Suppose you're shopping in a grocery store one day when you trip and fall on a broken floor tile. You didn't see the tile because you were busy reading the label on a food item you wanted to buy. Eventually, it's determined that you were 10 percent at fault for the fall, and the store was 90 percent at fault. Your total damages are also added up to total $1,000.
Since you were found partly at fault, a Kansas court is required to apply the comparative fault rule. Here, the court will subtract 10 percent of the $1,000 damages total and allow you to collect the rest, which is $900. If your portion of the fault had been 50 percent or more, however, the comparative fault rule would essentially bar your claim by dropping your damages award to zero, preventing you from collecting from any other at-fault party.
Courts in Kansas will always apply the comparative fault rule when both parties share fault, because the law requires it. Insurance adjusters also like to bring the rule up during settlement negotiations, so it helps to be prepared.
Unique Laws for Car Accident Cases
Kansas has "no-fault" auto insurance laws. No-fault systems like Kansas's typically require injured people to file insurance claims under their own coverage after a car accident, rather than going to court and holding the other driver accountable.
In order to bring an auto accident case to court in Kansas, an injured person must both have exhausted his or her insurance personal injury protection (PIP) benefits and have suffered a "serious injury." A "serious injury" may be any of the following:
- permanent disfigurement
- fracture of weight-bearing bone
- compound, comminuted, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
- permanent injury, or
- permanent loss of a body function.
For more on these types of injury cases, see our article on No-Fault Car Accident Claims.
Owner Liability For Injury by a Dog or Other Animal
There is no specific statute in Kansas governing personal injury liability for dog bites. Owners will be held liable for injuries caused by their dog (or other animal) if the injured party can show that the owner “should have known” the animal was dangerous. This is known as the “one bite” rule.