Are there caps on non-economic damages in Kansas? What damages can accident victims claim in a no fault insurance state? Up until June, Kansas statutes limited the amount of compensation accident victims could claim in a motor vehicle accident. Moving forward, the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that non-economic damage caps are unconstitutional. Thus, when an accident occurs, individuals can pursue fair compensation for pain and suffering, loss of consortium, partial or permanent disability, emotional distress, or disfigurement.
Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps
On June 14, 2019 the Kansas Supreme Court issued an opinion in the Hilburn v. Enerpipe, LTD. case. The court ruled that the standing statutory cap placed on non-economic damages was unconstitutional. This means that a plaintiff in Kansas no longer has a set maximum that they can pursue in a personal injury lawsuit.
As a result of the Kansas Supreme Court ruling, juries now have the discretion to award non-economic damages in excess of the previous statutory limits. The ruling does not change rules regarding compensation for economic damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, or property damage. It also does not change the fact that individuals cannot pursue punitive damages without prior court approval.
Types of Non-Economic Damages
Pain and suffering is one of the most common forms of non-economic damages. It is a broad term that encompasses physical pain and emotional anguish following a personal injury. Calculating pain and suffering involves a complex calculation that takes into account the type of injury, necessary medical treatments, surgical procedures, etc.
Disfigurement is another form of non-economic damages that can be pursued in a no fault insurance state. This can provide compensation for loss of limb(s), surgical scars, burns, etc.
Individuals can also pursue compensation for partial or permanent disability. For instance, diminished mobility caused by loss of sensation in leg muscles, or full loss of mobility, such as would result from quadriplegia.
Establishing Non-Economic Damages
Economic damages have a set number that can be accounted for. Non-economic damages are subjective and up to the jury to estimate. However, there are some forms of documentation that a plaintiff can provide that establish the pain and suffering, physical scars, and mental anguish. These include victim impact statements, psychological reports, photographs, and testimony provided by the victim, family members, co-workers, etc.
Call in the Bull to speak with our attorneys about non-economic damages in a no fault insurance state. Our car accident attorneys can help you understand the compensation you can pursue in Wichita, Liberal, or anywhere in Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.