Kansas Auto Accident Laws and Resources
From Kansas City to Wichita to Lawrence, Kansas has thousands of miles of roads to explore. You can see downtown Topeka, Lake Wilson and the Chisholm Trail. These many roads are used by 2 million licensed drivers who each drive an average of 10,000 miles per year. In all this traveling, drivers have thousands of traffic accidents, and many of them end in serious injury or even death. If you drive in the Sunflower State, you need to have a minimum level of auto insurance, and you also should be aware of the driving rules and regulations in the state. That way, if you ever have an accident here, you will know what you need to do to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Statistics and Notable Car Accident Lawsuits
As of 2017, Kansas officials reported there was a troubling increase in the number of traffic deaths across the state. According to AAA, Kansas in 2017 was averaging one traffic fatality per day. Statistics showed there were 175 traffic deaths across the state as of May 2017. This was a 13% increase from a year before at the same time, and a 44% increase from 2015.
As is the case in many states, experts say the cheaper gas prices of the past three years have led to people driving more. But it does not mean that they are driving safely. Also, in the last few years, more people are doing more with their cell phones while driving. These devices are more complex than ever, and surfing and texting and driving on cell phones is leading to a surge in injuries and deaths.
However, for 2017, Wichita did not see such an increase in traffic deaths. The city saw only 10 traffic deaths through the first five months of 2016 and 11 through the same period for 2017.
Also, the Kansas Department of Transportation reported that 58,500 traffic accidents happened in 2013, which involved 132,000 people. Those accidents caused 350 deaths, which was almost one death per day. In that timeframe, an accident occurred in the state every nine seconds. Also, 18,000 people were hurt in those crashes.
Although the highways and interstate of Kansas are thought to be the most dangerous, with some having 75 MPH speed limits, they are still safer than city streets in the state. For 2013, city streets accounted for 52% of all traffic accidents. And only 15% of crashes happened on US highways and interstates were the source of 11% of accidents.
Interestingly, 63% of accidents happened in daylight, and 90% of accidents were in clear weather during the day. These facts suggest that distracted driving could be playing a significant role in traffic deaths in the state. Also, it was found that 28% of auto accident deaths in Kansas for 2014 were due to drunk driving.
State statistics also determined the most dangerous counties were Sedgwick and Johnson, with 9893 and 9703 accidents respectively.
A recent major car accident settlement in Kansas involved a 20-year-old woman named Kara Hansen who was rear ended in 2015 by a 20-year-old man on Highway 69 as she waited to turn into her driveway. She suffered a broken neck, and she has a low chance of ever walking again. A jury in Cherokee County awarded her more than $38 million for medical care and lost earnings. It is unclear how much of that money she will ever see, because the man who hit her only had $25,000 of liability on his policy. The other driver tried to blame the accident on bad brakes, but the jury found that the ultimate culprit was distracted driving. The woman’s attorney is trying every avenue he can to get the full settlement amount. At the very least, the man’s wages can be garnished for life to pay at least part of the verdict amount.
Auto Insurance Requirements in Kansas
The laws of Kansas require you to carry a certain level of auto insurance. If you do not carry this level of insurance, you could incur serious penalties that may include fines and jail time. The minimum amount of insurance you must carry in this state is:
- $25,000 for bodily injury for each person per accident
- $50,000 for bodily injury for each person for each accident
- $10,000 for property damage liability
- $25,000 and $50,000 in uninsured and uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $4500 basic personal injury protection for each driver or passenger
It is important to know that this is a no-fault state. This means your own auto insurance will pay for your personal injury claims no matter who caused the accident. That is why you are required to have $4500 in personal injury protection coverage. Note that you do lose some of your rights to sue for damages in a personal injury case in Kansas. You will typically need to have injuries above and beyond the $4500 coverage limit on your own policy before you can seek damages from the responsible driver.
If you get into an accident and tap your PIP benefits on your policy, you may need to reimburse your insurance company later after you get a settlement from the other person if he was at fault. The reason for this is that if you get payment from your own insurance company for the loss and then receive a settlement, you are getting paid twice.
The minimum amount of coverage for PIP in Kansas is $4500 but you can pay for more. That covers $4500 of medical bills and will reimburse you for any prescription drug purchases. For wage losses, you get a minimum of $900 per month for up to one year.
Negligence Laws in Kansas
In Kansas, you are permitted to file a claim or lawsuit against another driver or responsible party who injured you. You can do this, so you can recover compensation for your personal and accident injuries and losses. However, this state has a comparative fault system. If you were partially at fault for the accident, your damages can be reduced considering your percentage of fault for the crash.
For example, if you have $10,000 in damages and were 25% responsible for the accident, you will be awarded only $7500.
However, if you were 51% or more responsible for the crash, you may not recover damages in a lawsuit or claim. Thus, it is important for your attorney to show you were less than 51% responsible for the accident.
Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Kansas
According to state law, you have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim in Kansas. In this state, it is only two years for personal injury claims. This means you have only two years from the date of the crash to file a claim. You also have only two years from the death of a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Other Kansas Driving and Accident Laws
There are several new driving-related laws in Kansas that you should be aware of:
- All texting and driving is now banned for all drivers and there also is a ban on cell phone use of all kinds for new drivers.
- Since 2013, there has been an increase of the speed limit to 75 MPH on some Kansas highways
- Kansas drivers can lose their license if they have three or more traffic violations in a one-year period. These are moving violations, not parking tickets, etc.
- All car accidents must be reported to the police in this state if there is injury or property damage above $500.
- All passengers must wear seatbelts. This is a primary violation, so you can be pulled over for not wearing your seatbelt.
- Since 2010, it is against the law to cover any part of your license plate with any type of material that affects its visibility.
Kansas Car Accident Resources
If you have been in a car accident in Kansas, it is important to take the proper steps so that you can recover from the incident as soon as possible. Below are some resources we have found to help you.
- People who have been in a serious Kansas car accident may have substantial medical bills, lost wages and even pain and suffering. If so, you may be considering a personal injury claim. Lawsuit Info Center can help you. This is a comprehensive and free website is a useful resource that assists injured drivers and passengers to find a good personal injury attorney in their area. The website will also be useful to help you find out what the potential value of your claim is.
- If you were in a car accident in Kansas and there was more than $500 in damages to people or property, it must be reported to the police.
- If you are in the middle of a claim or lawsuit and need a copy of a crash report, you can obtain one from the Kansas Highway Patrol.