Kansas Is a No Fault Car Accidents State, Know Your Rights
Kansas is one of thirteen states that have adopted a “no-fault” approach to insurance claims. This means that, in the event of a car accident, your insurance pays for your damages and the other party’s insurance pays for his damages. Sounds simple, right? It was supposed to lower premiums across the board. The intent was to remove court action for low damage cases.
Unfortunately, things do not always work as we would like. Sometimes the nature of a car accident injury is so severe that the injured party’s insurance cannot (or will not) cover all expenses. In cases like this, you may have to file a claim against the other party or parties’ insurance company.
Kansas is one of thirteen states that have adopted a “no-fault” approach to car insurance claims.
In Kansas, all motorists must carry car insurance that includes Personal Injury Protection benefits. PIP benefits are designed to compensate the injured party for car accident related injuries, lost wages, medical care, rehabilitation, etc. You receive PIP benefits regardless of who is it at fault, but PIP benefits are limited. They are not always enough and do not take into account things like pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
The expense of a car accident and the expense of injury often exceed the PIP limits. For example, many insurance companies will only pay out 85% of lost wages up to $900 per month for a year for lost wages due to injury. For some, this is enough, but if you are a used to a much higher income, this amount is a drop in the bucket compared to what you have lost due to your car accident. In another example of where PIP benefits can fall short, Kansas law requires a minimum of $4,500 in PIP benefits for medical care. If you have ever looked at a medical bill (or been forced to pay a hospital bill out of pocket), you know that this isn’t enough to cover the expense of a major injury.
Fortunately, Kansas is not a pure “No-Fault” state. We operate under a modified “No-Fault” system. First you can always make a claim or sue, if necessary, for your out of pocket expenses. These are sometimes referred as Actual Expenses or, in legal speak, economic loss. In order to make a claim for pain and suffering the injury’s effect on you;- your emotional loss or in legal speak your NON-Economic Damages your case must fall into at least one of the following threshold requirements: (1) your medical expenses exceed $2,000 or more; (2) you have a permanent disfigurement or significant scarring; (3) you suffer a fracture to a weight-bearing bone; (4) you have a compound, comminuted, displaced, or compression fracture; (5) loss of a body member; (6) permanent injury within reasonable medical probability; (7) permanent loss of a bodily function; or (8) death. If you were not at fault, you have the right to sue the other party for damages
If your PIP benefits do not cover your costs, under Kansas law, you have 2 years to settle your claim or to sue the person or persons responsible for the accident. You have 5 years to sue your insurance company for uninsured or underinsured claims.
You do not have to settle for the minimum. If you have been injured in a car accident and feel that you are entitled to more than just the minimum, please fill out our free car accident claim evaluation to determine what you may be entitled to, or contact one of our attorneys.