Kansas Law Regarding Fault in a Car Accident
Before answering a question as to whether a state is “no-fault” or “at-fault,” it’s important you understand what is meant by these terms. Typically, “no-fault” or “at-fault” refer to the type of insurance a state requires for car accidents. It may also refer to the right of accident victims to file personal injury claims or lawsuits against at-fault drivers to recover compensation for their injuries.
Kansas is one of the dozen states that adopted a no-fault insurance standard for car accidents. Unfortunately, while no-fault insurance has benefits, it also has several disadvantages for accident victims.
How Does No-Fault Insurance Work in Kansas?
In addition to liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, drivers are required to purchase a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) no-fault insurance coverage. The minimum PIP insurance covers:
- $4,500 for medical bills
- $900 per month in disability/loss of income for one year
- $25 per day for in-home services
- $4,500 in rehabilitation expenses
- $2,000 burial, funeral, or cremation expense
No-fault insurance pays benefits regardless of who is at fault for the cause of a car accident. In other words, each driver files a claim with their PIP provider to receive benefits after a car accident.
The benefit of no-fault car insurance is that you can receive benefits quickly because you do not need to prove fault. However, the disadvantage of no-fault insurance is that it does not compensate you fully for your damages.
Your compensation is limited to the amount of your policy limits. Also, no-fault insurance does not compensate victims for non-economic damages such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring, disability, and impairment
- Mental and emotional distress
- Loss of quality of life
Fortunately, Kansas is a modified no-fault state. Therefore, you might be entitled to additional compensation by filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage.
Kansas At-Fault Insurance Claims
If your PIP insurance does not cover your financial losses, you can make a claim for your out-of-pocket economic damages. However, you may also be entitled to file a claim for pain and suffering (non-economic damages) in some cases.
To file a claim for non-economic losses, one of the following situations must apply in your case:
- You incurred medical expenses of at least $2,000
- You sustained a fracture to a weight-bearing bone
- Loss of a body member
- You have permanent loss of a body function
- You sustained significant scarring or permanent disfigurement
- Permanent injuries within a reasonable medical possibility
- You have a displaced, comminuted, compression, or compound fracture
- Wrongful death
In addition to filing a claim against the at-fault driver, you could also be entitled to compensation under your underinsured motorist coverage. If the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover your claim, you could receive the remaining balance of your damages from your insurance provider.
Comparative Negligence Claims in Kansas
Car accident claims may also involve allegations of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a method of assigning fault to allocate damages. In other words, if you are partially at fault for the cause of your car crash, you are responsible for a portion of the damages you sustained because of the collision.
For example, if a jury finds that you were 40 percent at fault for the cause of an intersection accident, your compensation is reduced by 40 percent. If your damages are worth $100,000, you would only receive $60,000 for your damages.
Kansas is a modified comparative negligence state. If you are 50 percent or more at fault for the cause of your car accident, you are barred from recovering any money from the other driver.
Do I Need a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer?
Car accident claims can be complicated because of Kansas no-fault insurance standards. Proving that you are entitled to file a claim against the at-fault driver could be challenging. A car accident attorney helps you gather the evidence necessary to prove fault and prove that your case falls into one of the exceptions for suing a driver.
Additionally, even if an insurance company accepts liability for a car accident, that does not mean the insurance company will offer a fair settlement amount. Insurance companies undervalue claims to save money. Therefore, the claims adjuster will not tell you the accurate value of your damages.
A personal injury attorney understands how to correctly value your damages to maximize your compensation for an injury claim. Your attorney works with you and your physicians to determine the extent of your injuries. If you sustained permanent impairments, your attorney might work with medical experts and financial professionals to calculate the value for future lost wages, ongoing medical expenses, and the cost of long-term personal care.
Hiring a car accident attorney protects you from bad faith insurance practices and insurance tactics designed to cheat you out of the compensation you deserve. You do not need to handle the insurance company alone. You can have an entire team of legal professionals fighting to protect your best interests.
Contact Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation
At the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus, you can meet with a Kansas personal injury attorney for free. It does not cost you anything to discuss your case with an attorney and receive legal advice that can help you recover maximum compensation for your car accident claim.Contact our office to schedule your free consultation by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form.