Life is unpredictable and there is never a convenient time to suffer a personal injury. You may leave your home in perfect health and return home with a significant injury as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you become a victim of such an unforeseen tragedy, you may be entitled to compensation. However, there are caps on the compensation you may receive for your personal injury damages under Kansas law and it can greatly impact your recovery.
Despite nearly unanimous criticism of tort reforms by legal experts and even the American Bar Association, the restrictive caps on personal injury damages prevail in several states, including Kansas. In order to better understand the caps on recovery, it is helpful to outline a few different types of compensation.
Personal injury damages compensation can generally be divided as follows:
- – Compensatory damages: This includes special and general compensation and covers both tangible and intangible losses.
- – Punitive damages: Intended as monetary punishment, it is awarded with the express aim of discouraging or punishing egregious conduct. These damages are not awarded on every case, but generally require special circumstances.
Compensatory damages are offered in an attempt to undo the detrimental effects of a personal injury incident, whether they are economic or non-economic. Compensatory personal injury damages consist of the following:
Special damages: are also referred to as economic or tangible damages. These damages are quantifiable and are often supported by evidence such as medical reports and bills, past pay stubs or tax records, and other documentation to showing additional expenditure or loss. This can include:
- – Loss of past, current and future earnings
- – Medical expenses incurred due to the incident
- – Future medical expenses, including rehabilitation expenses
- – Cost of trips/plans that had to be cancelled because of the incident
- – Property damage
- – Funeral or burial expenses
General damages: are non-economic or intangible damages and can be very hard to calculate and prove. No monetary compensation is able to fully restore the injured person for injuries of this nature. Due to the limited ways of calculating or demonstrating these types of losses, general damages can be incredibly hard to quantify. For example, being wheelchair bound may not impact the working potential of a computer programmer, but it will undoubtedly have an irrevocable impact on quality of life. General damages include:
- – Pain and suffering
- – Diminished life quality
- – Loss of companionship
- – Mental anguish
- – Property damage
- – Long-term psychological effects
What are the caps on personal injury claims under Kansas Law?
Kansas laws impose statutory limits on all non-economic damages. Therefore, recovery for both special and punitive damages is restricted. The maximum compensation that is recoverable differs depending on the type of claim pursued or personal injury damages sought.
General Compensatory Damages:
- For injuries that occurred between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2018 = $300,000
- For injuries that occur between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2022 = $325,000
- For injuries that occur on or after July 1, 2022 = $350,000
- The lesser of the defendant’s gross annual income over a period of 5 years preceding the incident.
- If the court finds that the plaintiff should be awarded more, the jury can award one half of the defendant’s net worth, or $5 million, or 5 times the net compensation awarded to the plaintiff, whichever is greater.
- In case of corporate defendants (companies), the award can go to 1.5 times the company’s profit.
Wrongful Death Claims:
Compensation cannot exceed $250,000 in wrongful death claims.
Kansas follows the 51% modified comparative negligence rule. This means that your own contribution to the incident and to the resultant injury will be weighed in comparison to the fault of the defendant. The compensation you receive will be diminished by the same percent of fault attributed to you. For instance, if it is found that you were 20% at fault and the court awards $10,000, you will only receive 80% of that amount, or $8,000. As long as you are less than 50% at fault, you will have the opportunity to recovery monetary personal injury damages. If you are found to be more at fault than the other party, you are barred from making a recovery.
With these restrictions and caps in place, many Kansans have given up on the court system and are simply walking away with whatever is being offered by the insurance companies. Take action to protect yourself now. You have the right to receive fair compensation. If you settle for less today, the financial repercussions of your decision may affect you and your family for years to come.
DeVaughn James Injury Lawyers knows what it takes to show to the judge and the jury the true extent of both the economic and non-economic damages that you have suffered. Our experienced lawyers will call in economic experts and doctors so that both the value and the strength of your claim can be established in court. We will fight on your side, to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to. Contact us today to ensure a better tomorrow for yourself and your loved ones.