When Can You File a Lawsuit For a Kansas Auto Accident Injury?

Mature Couple Reading Letter About Wife's Injury

State law limits your ability to file a lawsuit for a Kansas auto accident injury.  In some cases, your only right to recovery exists under the state’s no-fault car insurance system.  Our Salina, Kansas personal injury lawyers explain everything you need to know if you receive injuries in a Kansas accident.

Kansas No-Fault Auto Insurance System

Kansas has a no fault car insurance system, which may limit your options for recovering compensation if you receive injuries in an accident. 

Your own Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage pays your medical bills and some other out-of-pocket economic costs, regardless of who caused the accident.  If you operate a car or other vehicle in Kansas, the law requires that you maintain these minimum levels of insurance of PIP coverage of accident injuries:

  • $4500 per person for medical expenses
  • $4500 per person for rehabilitation expenses
  • $900 a month for disability or loss of income, for up to a year
  • $25 a day for in-home services
  • $2000 for funeral, burial, or cremation expenses if the injuries cause death

Kansas PIP coverage also includes survivor benefits if a family member dies in an accident.  The minimum coverage includes:

  • $900 a month for disability or loss of income, for up to a year
  • $25 a day for in-home services, for up to a year

PIP policy benefits cover the policyholder, as well as others, including:

  • Policyholder’s family members who live in the household, if injured driving the vehicle or riding as a passenger; and
  • Non-family, non-household individuals injured as passengers in the car, unless the injured individual has coverage under their own PIP policy.

The above amounts are the minimum PIP coverage required under Kansas law.  A policyholder may elect to include higher coverage in his or her policy at a higher premium.

PIP coverage compensates the injured victim only for medical expenses and the specified economic losses.  No-fault PIP coverage does not include compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages.

The Kansas no-fault car insurance law applies only to victims’ injuries caused by a crash.  PIP does not cover any vehicle damage.  An at-fault driver is legally liable for vehicle damage or other property damage caused by an accident.

In addition to minimum insurance requirements for Personal Injury Protection, Kansas law includes the following minimum liability coverage:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM / UIM) required minimums are:

  • $25,000 per person
  • $50,000 per accident

As with PIP, these amounts are the minimum coverage required by law.  Policyholders can — and often do — elect higher coverage amounts, since a driver causes an accident may be liable personally for losses that exceed the limits of the driver’s insurance policy.

When Can You File a Lawsuit Against the At-Fault Driver?

While Kansas insurance law does include no-fault provisions, our system is not a pure no-fault system.  It is a modified no-fault system.  If certain requirements are met, you can pursue a legal action against the driver who caused the accident. 

If you receive a severe injury, and your PIP benefits do not fully cover your losses, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for the unpaid losses.  In addition, the law allows you to file a negligence lawsuit for a Kansas auto accident injury against the at-fault driver to recover for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses if your injuries meet one of these requirements:

  • Medical expenses exceeding $2,000
  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Fractured weight bearing bone
  • Compound, comminuted (splintered), displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone
  • Loss of a body part
  • Permanent injury
  • Permanent loss of bodily function
  • Death

When a person dies from injuries caused by another person, family members also may be able to file a wrongful death action, which is a separate legal cause of action.

If you pursue a claim against the at-fault driver and recover for losses paid by your own PIP coverage, you will be required to reimburse your insurance company for those payments.

Should You Talk With a Lawyer About Your Kansas Auto Accident Injuries?

In any situation where you suffered serious injuries in an accident caused by another person and meet one of the threshold requirements for pursuing a claim against the driver who caused the accident, talking with an experienced personal injury attorney is essential.  You should consult a lawyer before you contact the at-fault driver’s insurance company or talk with their insurance adjuster.  In fact, talking with the adjuster at all can be a big mistake.

The insurance company’s only goal is to settle your claim for the smallest possible amount or, if possible, to avoid liability completely.  The adjuster will try to get you to make (and even sign) statements that harm your case.  If an adjuster calls you, simply tell him or her that your lawyer will be in touch.

Calculating damages for pain and suffering and other non-economic damages that are recoverable in a claim against an at-fault driver is a complex task.  A skillful personal injury attorney knows how to maximize every component of your losses to ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.  If you try to negotiate your own case without legal counsel, you could end up with much less than you are entitled to — or even end up with nothing at all.

Talk With Our Salina, Kansas Car Accident 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 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case with us.

Categories: Personal Injury Law