5 Legal Defenses That Can Affect Your Auto Accident Compensation in Kansas

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When you suffer serious injuries in a Kansas auto accident, the law allows you to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver if your injuries meet the required criteria. However, if you file a claim, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can use five legal defenses to avoid liability completely or reduce your auto accident compensation.

Before you make a claim against an at-fault driver for auto accident injuries, you should discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer. If you pursue compensation for significant injuries without understanding the defenses available to the insurance company, you may impair your ability to recover the full amount of compensation you deserve.

Comparative Negligence

In an accident case, negligence standards determine liability. Generally, negligence means the failure to use the legally required amount of care to avoid causing injuries. In Kansas, a negligent at-fault driver can avoid or reduce liability by demonstrating that the injured victim also was negligent and contributed to causing the accident.

The Kansas statutory rule is a standard of comparative negligence, which considers the contributions of both the driver’s negligence and the victim’s negligence in determining compensation. Under the rule, if the victim’s negligence is 50% or more, the victim cannot recover any compensation from the other negligent driver.

If the victim’s negligence is less than 50%, the victim may still recover compensation from the at-fault driver. However, the amount of recovery is reduced by the same percentage as the victim’s negligence.

Attempting to prove comparative negligence is one of the primary strategies an at-fault driver’s insurance company uses to avoid or reduce liability in an accident case. In fact, if you talk with the insurance company for the at-fault driver, the adjuster will try to get you to admit facts that constitute your own negligence.

You should never talk with an insurance adjuster if you have an accident injury claim against an at-fault driver. The best approach is to contact a knowledgeable auto accident lawyer before doing anything else to pursue your claim.

Mitigation of Damages

Under Kansas law, an injured accident victim has the duty to take reasonable steps to mitigate (reduce) the damages resulting from the injuries. If an insurance company shows that an injured victim did not seek medical help immediately or did not follow medical advice, the company will claim that those actions aggravated the injuries and increased the damages. A reduction in compensation may result. This defense also applies if a victim chooses unnecessary or excessively expensive medical treatments.

If you receive injuries in an accident, your first priority is getting professional medical attention. Your condition can worsen from lack of treatment, which can significantly affect your recovery, in addition to affecting your ability to recover compensation.

Third Party Responsibility

Multiple vehicle accidents are common. They are factually complicated and require complex analysis to determine fault and negligence. In any accident involving more than two vehicles and drivers, all the insurance companies try to avoid liability by blaming the other drivers and the victim.

In that situation, an experienced personal injury attorney files claims against all potentially liable drivers, to protect every avenue for recovering compensation for an injured victim. Then, the attorney analyzes the evidence to determine which driver caused the victim’s injuries.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit on asserting a legal claim. In Kansas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years. If an injured victim does not file a lawsuit within two years of the date of an accident, the court will not allow a legal action to proceed in most cases.

Even waiting any amount of time to pursue an accident claim is not advisable. If you receive serious injuries in an accident, you should talk with a lawyer as soon as you are able to do so. That is not only because it takes time to prepare a lawsuit to file in court. As time goes by, evidence and witnesses can disappear, which makes the case more difficult to prove.

Pre-Existing Injuries

If the victim had any previous injury to the same part of the body that was injured in the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will claim that the victim’s condition is due to the pre-existing injury (rather than caused by the accident) to avoid liability. However, a previous injury does not prevent recovering compensation, as long as the victim’s attorney demonstrates a causal connection between the injury and the accident.

If you suffer injuries in an accident, it is important to tell your lawyer if you had a previous injury to the same part of your body. That enables your attorney to prepare the evidence necessary to overcome the pre-existing injury defense.

When Should You Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer?

If you receive injuries in an auto accident, the first priority is getting treatment and beginning your recovery. When your injuries are significant, making it likely that you will exceed the Kansas no-fault insurance limits, you should talk with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you feel up to it.

If you talk with the insurance company for the at-fault driver, you could jeopardize your claim and your financial recovery. The insurance adjuster’s goal is to deny or minimize your claim. The company will assert every available defense and strategy for reducing your compensation.

A skillful attorney knows how to counter aggressive insurance company tactics and potential defenses and how to secure full compensation for your injuries. You should concentrate on making a full recovery, while you rely on your attorney to pursue your rights and protect your interests.

Talk With Our Experienced Salina, Kansas Personal Injury Lawyers

At the Salina, Kansas law firm Hampton & Royce, L.C., we assist clients throughout the state with personal injury matters, including car and truck accidents. Contact us by phone or email to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

Categories: Personal Injury Law