Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Are punitive damages allowed in Kansas?

The answer is yes but only in certain circumstances. In other words, punitive damages are the exception not the rule. Additionally, in Kanas State Courts no matter how bad the defendant’s conduct is a plaintiff cannot sue for punitive damages unless the Judge grants special permission to allow the plaintiff to present the claim to a jury.

Kansas law mandates that punitive damages must be decided by the jury. However, the judge is the gatekeeper and decides if the jury is allowed to consider awarding punitive damages. In Kansas, punitive damages are awarded to punish the wrongdoer for malicious, “willful and wanton invasion of another’s rights.” Cerretti v. Flint Hills Rural Electric Co’op Ass’n, 251 Kan. 347, 266, 837 P.2d 330 (1992). Not only is the express purpose of punitive damages to punish the tortfeasor, punitive damages also serve to deter the tortfeasor and others from committing similar wrongs in the future. Scheufler v. General host Corp., 915 F. Supp. 236, 239 (D. Kan. 1995).

The explanation of willful and wanton conduct is in the reference book of standard jury instructions that most lawyers and judges use, known as PIK (Civil).

Wanton conduct is defined in PIK (Civil) 103.03 as follows:

“Wanton conduct is doing something knowing that it is dangerous, and either being completely indifferent to the danger or recklessly disregarding the danger.”

Willful conduct is defined under PIK (Civil) 103.04 as follows:

“Willful conduct is doing something with the intent of doing wrong or of causing injury to another person.”

The lawyers at Brad Pistotnik Law, P.A. file a lawsuit every time an insurance company tries to take advantage of one of their clients. They will go to court when other lawyers settle. They have already filed over 20 lawsuits this year and have taken numerous depositions. Brad, Tony, Bill and Jay also regularly bring punitive damage claims against the defendant when the facts and conduct are bad enough.

Tony is currently in the process of seeking punitive damages in three different cases. Tony has a hearing set next week seeking punitive damages against a drunk driver who was intoxicated and on Meth when he ran a stop sign and struck a van transporting people with intellectual disabilities. Two handicapped individuals died and 3 other people were seriously injured. Tony is also seeking punitive damages against the other defendant who purchased the beer for her friend and allowed him to drive her car while she knew he was drunk and didn’t have a driver’s license.

Tony is also in the process of seeking punitive damages in another case where a defendant with no license, on probation and admittedly used Meth on a regular basis, caused a serious accident and then fled the scene. Tony’s client ended up having surgery and still owes tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Another lawsuit Tony is working on involves a lady who was a pedestrian struck by a drunk driver in a parking lot. The drunk driver was arrested and charged multiple crimes including DUI and aggravated battery. The drunk driver’s insurance company is refusing to even pay the woman’s hospital bills that she incurred when the ambulance transported her to St. Francis. So what happens in this situation? Tony will file a lawsuit on her behalf. He will then seek punitive damages against the drunk driver since the insurance company won’t pay the claim.

The lawyers at Brad Pistotnik Law, P.A. help people hurt like this every day. So if you have been hurt in an accident there is only one thing to do - Call the Bull. ® We represent clients all over Kansas and the Midwest. Tony even flew to Missouri last week to help a lady who was injured by a semi-truck. Brad spent a significant part of last year helping an individual who lost his leg due to a negligent driver at an auto auction in Missouri. We are not afraid to travel. If you have been injured and can’t travel we will come to you.

We have lawyers licensed in five different states- Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Illinois. We represent people in Salina, Kingman, Anthony, Harper, Liberal, Dodge City, Scott City, Houghton, Sublette, Colby, Goodland, Hutchinson, Stafford, Newton, Peabody, Emporia, Florence and numerous other towns and cities.

We are also process of opening a brand new second office in Garden City. The office is located in front of Home Depot on Kansas Ave. The direct number for the new office is 620-THE-BULL. We are Abogado El Toro. ® This office will be open in the next few weeks and will have a full-time staff and interpreter.

Our Main Office is located at 10111 E. 21st N., Suite 204, Wichita, Kansas 67206. The main number is 1-800-241-BRAD but you can reach Brad and Tony 24 hours a day on their personal cell phones so Hire the real Brad. ® Brad’s cell number is 316-706-5020. Tony’s cell is 316-617-9237.