What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Lawsuits in Kansas and Missouri
June 24, 2021
If you or a loved one have been injured physically, mentally, or emotionally as a result of another person’s conduct, you may have a lot of questions. Personal injuries can be overwhelming and traumatic, leaving you feeling as if your life has been turned upside-down. But you don’t have to navigate the aftermath of an accident on your own.
At Grissom Miller Law Firm, we represent clients in Kansas and Missouri who have been victims of common accidents like:
- Vehicle accidents,
- Slips and falls,
- Workplace injuries,
- Dog bites,
- Assault, and
- Defective products
Personal injury laws differ from state to state, so it is worth taking a look at the key differences between lawsuits in Kansas and Missouri. Before we get into legal specifics, let’s take a quick look at the steps you should take if you or a loved one are injured.
What To Do If You Are Injured in Kansas or Missouri
First and foremost, seek medical care if you are injured. It is important to get the treatment and care you need, regardless of how you were injured. If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, you need to contact your insurance company right away. In Kansas, no-fault auto insurance laws require you to turn to insurance first for personal injuries, but you can still sue the responsible driver if your claims exceed auto insurance limits.
This brings me to your next step: consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you or a loved one have been seriously injured. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so there is no cost or obligation to find out if you have a viable claim. At Grissom Miller Law Firm, we offer free consultations and contingency fees – where you are not charged unless we recover a monetary award or settlement. We also represent victims in both Kansas and Missouri. That being said, there are some important differences between personal injury lawsuits in both states. Let’s take a look at some of these key differences and how they could potentially impact your case.
Differences Between Kansas and Missouri Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury lawsuits are generally guided by the laws of the state where the injury occurred (although you may have a choice as to where you can file, which is worth discussing with an attorney). That means your chances of filing a lawsuit, succeeding, and recovering damages differs state to state. Since we represent clients in both Kansas and Missouri, we’ll cover some of the major differences between the states when it comes to common personal injury claims. The main differences to be aware of are statutes of limitations, damage caps, and comparative fault rules.
Kansas Legal Considerations
In Kansas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. That means you have to file a lawsuit within two years of the incident which caused injury. Kansas also limits the amount of non-economic damages one can be awarded in personal injury lawsuits (for things like pain and suffering) to $325,000. This cap will increase to $350,000 for injuries that occur after July 2022.
It is also worth noting Kansas’s use of “comparative fault.” Comparative fault laws take into consideration that injured victims may share some blame for their injuries, but that does not mean they should not be compensated for their injuries. Injuries are hardly ever black and white. For the sake of example, let’s say you are seriously injured in a car accident. An investigation of the accident found that you were speeding, but the other party was both speeding and distracted by their cell phone. In court, a jury determines that you were 10% at fault, while the other party was 90% at fault for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. As long as you were less than 50% at fault for your injuries, you can still recover damages. However, your damages will be reduced proportionately. In this example, let’s say a jury found there were $100,000 in damages, but you were 10% at fault. Your award would be reduced by 10% or $10,000 – so you would still recover $90,000 even though the jury determined you were partially at fault.
Missouri Legal Considerations
Missouri’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is five years. In most personal injury lawsuits, Missouri does not place a cap on damages. However, plaintiffs cannot recover more than $442,574 in non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims.
Unlike Kansas, Missouri uses a “pure comparative fault” rule, which means an injured person’s compensation will be reduced proportionately with their percentage of fault – no matter how great a person’s fault is. If a jury, for instance, decides that you were 99% at fault for your injuries, you can still recover 1% of your damages from the other party.
Finally, Missouri treats dog bites differently than the majority of states. Since dog bites are a common source of personal injuries (with more than 4.5 million dog bite injuries every year) it’s useful to understand dog bite laws. Most states have what is known as a “one-bite” rule, where owners are protected from liability the first time their dog injures someone (as long as they had no reason to believe their dog was dangerous). In Missouri, however, owners are strictly liable for all dog bites, regardless of the dog’s past behavior.
In a nutshell, Missouri has more plaintiff-friendly laws when it comes to common personal injuries. Plaintiffs are afforded a longer period of time to file a lawsuit, not subjected to damage caps, and can recover damages even if they were mostly at fault for their own injuries.
You Can Count on the Attorneys at Grissom Miller Law Firm
If you or a loved one have been injured in Kansas or Missouri, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve. We know that lawsuits can be overwhelming, especially when you are struggling with life-changing injuries. That’s why we are dedicated to educating clients and providing advice in terms you can understand – so that you know what is happening every step of the way.
If you would like to find out whether you have a viable claim or just want guidance as you deal with personal injuries, contact the attorneys at Grissom Miller today.