What does it mean if Kansas is a no-fault state?
You may have heard Kansas is a "no-fault" state for car accidents, but how does that play out if you're actually in an accident? The no-fault system can be confusing to navigate, and if you don't know your rights, the insurance company may take advantage of that confusion.
We understand how the no-fault system works in Kansas, and we're here to help you navigate it. Here is how you can expect your claim to play out.
Understanding the no-fault system
In essence, "no-fault" means that your own car insurance is primarily responsible for paying your damages after a car accident. Kansas is one of 12 U.S. states that use a no-fault car insurance system. (In "fault" states, such as Missouri and Oklahoma, the at-fault driver's insurance is primarily responsible for paying damages.)
Kansas law requires that every car insurance policy sold in the state include no-fault benefits, otherwise known as personal injury protection (PIP). The minimum PIP insurance in Kansas includes:
- $4,500 for medical expenses per person, per accident
- $900/month for one year of lost income due to disability
- $25/day for in-home services (such as cleaning and childcare)
- $2,000 for funeral and burial expenses
- $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses
If you are injured in a car accident while driving your own car, your PIP insurance will pay your damages, up to the policy limit. PIP also covers you and members of your household whether they are riding in your car or injured as cyclists or pedestrians. Passengers in your car who have their own cars are covered by their own PIP insurance first, but if they don't own cars, they are covered under your insurance.
Keep in mind that the no-fault system only applies to injuries and fatalities. Damage to your car or other property is still paid for on an at-fault basis. In addition, under some circumstances, you can take legal action against the at-fault driver to pay for additional expenses related to your injuries.
Can you sue for a car accident in Kansas?
In order to sue for a car accident in a no-fault state such as Kansas, you have to meet certain criteria. Specifically, you can file a lawsuit if your medical bills are over $2,000, or if your injury includes at least one of the following:
- Permanent disfigurement
- A fracture to a weight-bearing bone, or a compound, comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture to any bone
- Loss of a body part
- Permanent loss of bodily function
Filing a lawsuit after a serious accident can get you compensation for damages that aren't covered by your PIP insurance, such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and loss of quality and enjoyment of life. It can also cover medical expenses, wage loss, and other costs in excess of your PIP policy limits.
The at-fault driver's liability insurance will be responsible for paying your damages in a lawsuit; if the other driver doesn't have insurance, then your uninsured/underinsured motorist protection will stand in for their insurance. If your lawsuit includes costs already paid by your PIP insurance (for instance, medical bills), then your insurance company may ask to be reimbursed. This is called subrogation and it can have a significant effect on the amount of compensation that ends up in your pocket.
Get a car attorney who knows the system
Getting compensation for a car accident in Kansas can be a complicated process. The no-fault system more or less guarantees that you will get something, but it can also make it much more difficult to get the full compensation you need. That's our job.
We would be more than happy to review your policy, your situation, and your legal options, free of charge. If you've been injured in a car accident in Kansas, contact Warner Law Offices today for your free consultation.