A number of Kansas laws could apply to personal injury lawsuits filed in the state's court system. In this article, we'll summarize a few of these laws, including statutory lawsuit time limits and damage caps, and special liability rules in different kinds of injury cases.
In Kansas, according to Kansas Statutes section 60-513, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person (or persons, or entity) you think responsible for the underlying incident or accident. Miss this deadline, and you've almost certainly lost your right to a legal remedy for your injuries. Specifically, if you try to file your lawsuit after the filing deadline has passed, the court is almost certain to dismiss your case.
Kansas has placed a statutory limit on the amount of damages that a successful plaintiff can be awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. Under this cap (Kansas Statutes section 60-19a02), losses like "pain and suffering" and other non-economic damages are limited to:
Bear in mind that these caps don't apply to "economic" damages like compensation for medical treatment (past and future), lost income (last and future) and other easily quantifiable losses stemming from the injury.
Under Kansas's "no-fault" auto insurance laws, when you're injured in a car accident, regardless of who was at fault, you must first turn to your own car insurance coverage (specifically, your "personal injury protection" or "PIP" coverage) for medical bills and certain other out-of-pocket losses.
In order to step outside the no-fault scheme and file a liability claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver, you must exceed your PIP limits and have suffered a "serious injury," which Kansas defines as including any of the following:
For more on these types of injury cases, see our article on No-Fault Car Accident Claims.
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 sometimes known as the "one bite" rule. Alternatively, if an injured person can show that the animal's owner failed to use reasonable care to control the animal or otherwise prevent the injury from occurring (by failing to properly restrain the animal, for example), the owner may be responsible based on a negligence theory of liability.
Kansas uses a "comparative fault" rule to reduce or eliminate damages when an injured person is found to share fault for the accident or incident that led to their injury.
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 $10,000.
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 $10,000 damages total and allow you to collect the rest, which is $9000. If your portion of the fault had been 50 percent or more, however, the comparative fault rule would essentially prevent 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.