Catastrophic injury and death are a common occurrence on our nation's highway system and Kansas is no exception to this tragic fact. In 2014 alone, over 6.1 million auto accidents occurred across the U.S., causing 2.3 million injuries and 32,675 deaths. In Kansas, 2014 saw 59,533 car accidents leading to 17,925 injuries and 385 fatalities.
Tragically, most of these injuries and deaths were preventable and only occurred because of the negligence of a driver. For example, in Kansas, 5,933 car crashes happened because someone was speeding, while 2,400 accidents were alcohol-related.
The truth is, without the assistance of a local auto accident attorney, your chances of collecting full compensation from an insurer or at-fault driver is very slim.
Only after years of study and real-world experience can a full knowledge of Kansas liability law be obtained. You will want to rely on the advice of your auto accident attorney, but some "basic" facts about wrongful injury and death suits in Kansas are given below for your benefit:
Wrongful Injury Suits
The first obstacle to compensation you will encounter is Kansas' no-fault auto insurance law, which has each driver collect only from his/her own insurer regardless of who was at fault. However, if your economic damages (mostly medical bills and loss of income) exceed $2,000 and your injuries are deemed "serious," you can file a lawsuit in addition to whatever coverage your insurance provides.
To be considered "serious," an injury must result in permanent disfigurement, a fracture to a "weight-bearing" bone, a severe fracture to any bone, be permanent in itself, or result in a permanent bodily disability.
If the other driver's negligence caused your injury, you can collect for economic, pain and suffering, psychological, and sometimes punitive damages. However, Kansas caps non-economic damages at $250,000.
Wrongful Death Suits
When someone is killed in a car accident due to the negligence or misconduct of another, his/her "heirs at law," normally a spouse, child, parent, or other family member, can file a claim in his stead. Any compensation will go to the deceased's family, and if the at-fault driver also died in the crash, the suit can be filed against that person's estate.
The same rules generally apply to a wrongful death suit as to a personal injury suit, except for the fact of who is filing the claim. The cap is still at $250,000 for non-economic damages, while economic damages are based on the actual cost to the victim/his family.
Non-economic damages like bereavement, loss of marital care, and loss of parental care, though especially common in wrongful death cases, are still under the quarter-million dollar cap. However, "pecuniary" damages are unlimited. These include things like funerary/burial costs, deceased's lost wages and/or household services, and medical bills of the deceased that are passed on to his/her family members after passing away.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney
Immediately following an accident, there may be little time to think about filing a claim as medical care is uppermost in one's mind. However, you should not delay any longer than necessary to file your claim since there is a two-year statute of limitations in the state of Kansas.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident, contact Brad Pistotnik 24/7 at 1-800-241-BRAD, 316-684-4400, on his cell phone at 316-706-5020, or by filling out the online request form.
Brad Pistotnik Law is located in Wichita, KA, and commonly hears cases from Hutchinson, Great Bend, Liberal, Garden City, Dodge City, Colby, Hays, Salina, Junction City, Manhattan, Emporia, Topeka, Kansas City, Pittsburg, and throughout the state.