Personal Injury FAQs
Our personal injury attorneys at the Oleen Law Firm have been serving clients throughout Manhattan, Kansas, and Junction City for decades. We're here today to address some of the most frequently asked questions we've gotten about personal injury law in Kansas.
What is "negligence"?
Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care in a situation, resulting in harm or injury to another person. In personal injury cases, negligence refers to the legal responsibility of an individual or entity for causing harm or injury due to their careless actions or inaction.
What is "medical malpractice"?
Medical malpractice is a form of negligence where a healthcare professional fails to provide the expected standard of care, resulting in injury or further harm to a patient. This can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication/prescription errors, and more.
These cases are complex and require the resources and insights of an experienced personal injury attorney, as they often need a medical expert's testimony to prove malpractice.
What is "premises liability"?
Premises liability law holds property owners accountable for injuries that occur on their property due to their negligence. Property owners have a duty to maintain safe conditions on their premises and warn visitors of any potential hazards. If they fail to do so, and someone gets hurt, the property owner will be legally liable for the damages and costs related to the injuries.
This area of law covers slip and fall accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, and more.
What does it mean that Kansas is a "no-fault" state?
In Kansas, we operate under a "no-fault" system. This means if you're injured in an accident, your own insurance company is the first stop for compensation, regardless of who was at fault. It's important to understand your policy and what it covers so you're prepared when unexpected incidents occur.
For example, let's say you got in a car accident after another driver ran a red light and hit you. Even though the other driver was at fault, your insurance company would cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to your policy limits. However, if the accident resulted in serious injury or permanent disability, you may be able to seek additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Kansas?
The clock starts ticking on the date of your accident. In Kansas, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is two years. That means you have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action. If you miss this deadline, your case may not be heard. So, don't delay in seeking legal advice.
How does the comparative fault rule work in Kansas?
Kansas operates under a comparative fault rule. This rule states that if you are 50% or more at fault for the accident that led to your injuries, you cannot recover financial compensation. The court will determine the percentage of fault for each party involved in the case.
What types of damages can I recover in a personal injury lawsuit?
In Kansas, damages available for personal injury cases include both economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages refer to quantifiable losses like medical bills and lost income. Noneconomic damages cover non-tangible losses like pain and suffering. [We’ll get into more specifics two answers below.]
Are there caps on recoverable damages in Kansas?
Not anymore. Historically, Kansas has had caps on noneconomic damages. For injuries occurring between July 1, 2018, and July 1, 2022, the limit was $325,000. Then, for injuries after July 1, 2022, the cap was scheduled to increase to $350,000. However, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in June 2019 that the statutory cap on noneconomic damage awards in personal injury cases is unconstitutional. As a result, this limitation can no longer be enforced.
What if someone dies in a personal injury case?
Every ten minutes in the United States, four people die due to preventable circumstances. If someone dies as a result of a personal injury, their surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In Kansas, specific family members or representatives of the deceased's estate can file a wrongful death claim. This includes spouses, children, parents, and siblings. The purpose of this claim is to seek compensation for both economic and non-economic damages resulting from the loss of a loved one.
Economic damages refer to quantifiable financial losses, such as funeral costs, medical expenses related to the deceased's final illness or injury, and loss of the deceased's future earnings.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, consider the emotional toll of the loss. This can include compensation for mental anguish, suffering, bereavement, loss of companionship, and loss of protection and assistance.
It's crucial to keep in mind that Kansas imposes a cap of $250,000 on non-economic damages in wrongful death cases. Also, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Kansas is two years from the date of death.
Do I need legal representation for a personal injury or wrongful death claim?
While you are not required to have legal representation for a personal injury claim in Kansas, having an experienced attorney can greatly benefit your case. A personal injury lawyer can provide valuable guidance and support, handle all communication with insurance companies, and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve. It's important to choose a reputable and reliable attorney who will prioritize your best interests and advocate for your rights.
Address Your Questions With a Personal Injury Lawyer
We hope this guide has answered some of your questions about personal injury law in Kansas. At Oleen Law Firm, we're dedicated to providing you with the information and representation you need. If you have any more questions or need assistance with filing a personal injury claim, don't hesitate to reach out to our firm in Manhattan, Kansas. We're here to help.