Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Auto Insurance Coverage and the Kansas Motor Injury Reparations Act

The purpose of this act is to provide a means of compensating persons promptly for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of motor vehicles in lieu of liability for damages to the extent provided herein. The purpose of this act is to provide a means of compensating persons promptly for accidental bodily injury arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of motor vehicles in lieu of liability for damages to the extent provided herein. It is found at K.S.A. 40-3101 et. seq.

Generally, this act requires that every owner of a motor vehicle shall provide liability insurance coverage in accordance with the provisions of this act for every motor vehicle owned by such person, unless it is under an approved self-insurance plan. The act requires that an owner of an uninsured motor vehicle shall not permit the operation thereof upon a highway or upon property open to use by the public, unless such motor vehicle is exempted from the provisions of this act.

The act further requires that no person shall knowingly drive an uninsured motor vehicle upon a highway or upon property open to use by the public, unless such motor vehicle is expressly exempted from the provisions of this act.

The law requires that every person operating a motor vehicle upon a highway or upon property which is open to use by the public shall be required to display, upon demand, evidence of financial security to a law enforcement officer. The law requires that the law-enforcement officer shall issue a citation to any person who fails to display evidence of financial security upon such demand. The law-enforcement officer shall attach a copy of the insurance verification form prescribed by the Secretary of Revenue to the copy of the traffic citation reported to the Court.

This law further requires that a person must have proof of financial security or liability insurance at all times. When a driver or operator of a motor vehicle does not have sufficient proof of insurance and receive a traffic citation for failing to have appropriate liability insurance mandated by this law, then they are required to have their insurance company provide insurance verification within 10 days after they are arrested for failing to have liability insurance.

>When a person is operating a motor vehicle in Kansas without proper and appropriate mandatorily required liability insurance then the law requires that they are guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1000 or confinement in the county jail for a term of not more than 6 months, or both such fine and confinement.

The law further requires that any person that is convicted of violating any provision of that section within 3 years of a prior conviction for operating a motor vehicle without insurance shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine of not less than $800 nor more than 2500 hundred dollars.

This law additionally imposes other penalties upon drivers and motors who failed to maintain their liability insurance. The law provides that they may be given a suspended driver’s license. If the driver is a nonresident of the State of Kansas, then the law provides that their privilege of operating a motor vehicle within the state can be restricted. The law provides a person who operates a motor vehicle without insurance may have a complete revocation of the registration of all vehicles owned by that owner for an accident.

K.S.A. 40-3107 is the appropriate statute for motor vehicle liability insurance policies and the required contents and exclusions of all policies. This statute requires that every policy of motor vehicle liability insurance issued by an insurer to an owner residing in the State shall designate by explicit description or by appropriate reference of all vehicles with respect to which the coverage is to be granted. The law requires that the insurer, the person who is named as an insured in the policy and any other person that may use the vehicle with the express or implied consent all be given insurance coverage.

The law requires that the coverage meet minimum state guidelines which are required in the State of Kansas. The law requires that every policy of insurance in the State of Kansas shall be for not less than $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage to one person in any one accident, and to a limit of not less than $50,000 because of bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any one accident, as well as to a limit of not less than $10,000 because of harm to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. This minimum mandatory level of insurance coverage in the State of Kansas provides safety to all residents that are driving on the State roads and highways.

Many individuals take out much higher levels of coverage, purchasing limits that are as high as $100,000 per person and 300,000 per accident. Some individuals and businesses go to the next level of coverage which is $250,000 per person and 500,000 per accident. Others persons and businesses that are more concerned about liability insurance coverage will buy policies with a $1 million limit of coverage. A few persons and businesses will purchase umbrella policies in order to make sure that if they have an accident that they are protected from a civil suit.

K.S.A. 40-3107(f) requires that every vehicle in the State of Kansas, carry personal injury protection benefits, also known as PIP benefits. This requirement is to the named insured and all relatives residing in the same household, as well as persons operating the insured motor vehicle and all passengers in the motor vehicle. In includes individuals like pedestrians and bicyclists who might be struck by the driver of a motor vehicle.

The personal injury protection benefits or PIP benefits payable under this act, include, but are not limited to some of the following:

  1. Each policy shall pay a minimum of $4500 of medical benefits;
  2. Each policy shall pay $4500 of rehabilitation benefits;
  3. Each policy shall provide for a minimum of approximately $900 of wage loss benefits per month when a covered person is unable to work;
  4. Each policy shall provide for a certain amount of death benefits when a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident which are for funeral expenses.
  5. Each policy provides a payment for essential services that have to be taken over for an injured person that is approximately $25 per day. This is for where an injured cannot take care of necessary household needs and may need to have someone come in to do household cleaning, food preparation, laundry, assistance with dressing, toileting and bathing and similar type replacement services.

Many injured persons fail to understand that they have automatic medical coverage in Kansas which is known as our no-fault system of insurance coverage. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and injured it is extremely important that you go to a hospital and/or other emergency clinic to determine what your injuries are. You should know that you have at least this minimum level of $4500 to help pay for this initial medical care. These PIP benefits are typically reimbursed to the insurance company that pays the insurance benefits. An exception to the insurance carrier’s right of reimbursement or subrogation is found where the injured persons does has damages that are high enough above the limits of insurance of the defendant and their own under insured coverage, that they are not considered duplicative. When damages are not duplicative, the insurance carrier is not entitled to be reimbursed for their PIP payments, and they are not subrogated.

K.S.A. 40-3113a provides that when PIP benefits are paid that the right of reimbursement or subrogation of the insurance carrier is limited to nonduplicative recovery. The same statute provides that in the event of recovery of damages under the comparative fault statute, K.S.A. 60-258a that the insurance carrier has a lesser right to be reimbursed. In the event that a driver who receives PIP benefits has comparative fault, this statute provides for a reduction in the right of the insurance carrier against the monies that they have paid out where their insured is comparatively at fault. This means that if your insurance carrier paid $4500 in medical benefits for you and you were 40% at fault, they would not be able to recover that portion of the payments that they made on your behalf and their right of recovery would be reduced by 40 percent.

The same statute provides under sub paragraph (c) that the insurance carrier actually gets an assignment of the rights of the insured person to collect the monies that the insurance companies paid out at 18 months from the date of the accident. In other words, after 18 months from the date of your accident they can file suit to get repaid if you or your lawyer has not already settled or filed suit. The law is so strong that it allows an insurer or self – insurer to file the suit in the insured person’s own name or in the name of the injured person, representative, or dependents of the injured person.

Finally, this same statute fixes a proportionate sharing system of attorney fees, such that the injured person has an offset for attorney fees where the insurance company is collecting their nonduplicative insurance benefits. This means that if you hired a lawyer and they charge a percentage or contingency fee, your insurance carrier should pay their fair share of the attorney fees on the total recovery. This helps you by making sure that the insurance company pays their own proportionate share of the total attorney fees on the amount that they are asking to be reimbursed for.

© Bradley A. Pistotnik, 2015