Filing an Injury Claim Under the Kansas Tort Claims Act

Learn about filing a personal injury lawsuit against the State of Kansas for personal injuries sustained from a state government entity or employee.

In Kansas, as in every state, a personal injury lawsuit is an option for anyone injured by the negligence of a private individual or organization. But what if your injury is caused by the careless or wrongful action of the state/local government or one of its employees?

Injury claims against the government in Kansas follow special rules that don’t apply to other types of injury cases. In this article, we take a look at these rules and how these claims proceed.

Bringing an Injury Claim Against the Government in Kansas

The Kansas Tort Claims Act appears at Kansas Statutes Chapter 75, Article 61. Section 75-6103 specifies that "each governmental entity shall be liable for damages caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission" of its employees whenever the employees are acting within the scope of their jobs.

The Kansas Tort Claims Act applies only to situations in which the employee would have been liable for negligence if he or she had been acting independently. Learn more about Negligence and Fault for an Accident.

What the Kansas Tort Claims Act Does (and Does Not) Cover

The Kansas Tort Claims Act covers many of the same types of claims that can be filed in an ordinary personal injury case. Some of the most common kinds of incidents giving rise to claims include:

Section 75-6104 of the Kansas Tort Clams Act limits the types of claims that may be filed. For example, a government entity or employee may not be held liable for:

  • legislative or judicial acts (like passing or interpreting a law)
  • claims covered by the Kansas Workers’ Compensation Act
  • vandalism of traffic signs or signals (unless the road commission did not fix the problem within a "reasonable time")
  • claims related to snow, ice, or other unusual weather conditions
  • claims related to police or fire protection, and
  • claims related to the use of public cemeteries, public parks or recreational areas, unless the government was "guilty of gross and wanton negligence" resulting in the injury.

Several other types of claims are also prohibited by the Kansas Tort Claims Act. In addition, certain other Kansas statutes provide immunity to government agencies, officials, and employees in particular situations. The Kansas Tort Claims Act may not be used to sue the government when another statute specifically provides immunity.

How to File an Injury Claim Against the State Government in Kansas

To bring an injury claim against the State of Kansas, you first need to give the state notice of the claim. The Joint Committee on Special Claims Against the State offers a claim form and instructions on the legislature’s Web site. The form requires contact information for the injured person, a description of the event and the injuries or damage that occurred, and a statement of the amount of damages the injured person is claiming.

Claims are generally processed between June and December, according to the Joint Committee on Special Claims. If a claim is received after November 1st of any year, it is typically held for the next session.

Claims under $1,000 may be paid directly by the state agency involved. Most state agencies, including state universities, have specific forms and instructions for filing these claims. For example, the Kansas Department of Transportation makes a claim form available on its Web site.

Damages in claims against the state government in Kansas are “capped,” or limited, to $500,000 per accident. In addition, punitive damages may not be awarded by the court in claims against the state government. Learn more about Damages and Personal Injury Claims.

How to File an Injury Claim Against a Local Government in Kansas

The Kansas Tort Claims Act specifically states that local and municipal governments are bound by its rules, in addition to the state government. As a result, the process for filing a claim with a city or county government is very similar to the process for filing a claim with the state government.

Most cities and local governments offer claim forms that can be used to submit a claim. For example, the City of Topeka offers a claim form on its Web site.

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