What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Kansas?
First, let's take a step back and explain that a "statute of limitations" is simply a state law that puts a time limit on a potential plaintiff's right to file a lawsuit in court. These deadlines vary depending on what type of loss or harm you have suffered, but the filing deadline is almost always expressed in years.
Kansas is like many states in that the statute of limitations that applies to the vast majority of car accident lawsuits is the same one that applies to most personal injury cases.
Specifically, Kansas Statutes section 60-513 gives you two years to ask the state courts for a civil remedy for any personal injury or for any damage to your personal property. In the context of a car accident, that means if anyone was hurt in the crash -- whether a driver, passenger, motorcycle rider, bicyclist, or pedestrian -- or had their vehicle or other property damaged, they must get their lawsuit filed against any potential defendant within two years. The clock starts running on the date of the accident.
The same statute of limitations applies if the car accident caused someone's death, and the family or a representative wants to bring a wrongful death claim. The only difference is that for these cases, the two-year "clock" starts running on the day of the accident victim's death, which could be later than the date of the accident itself. (Learn more about Kansas Wrongful Death Lawsuits.)
You may be wondering what happens if you try to file your Kansas car accident lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed. In that situation, it's a safe bet that the person you're trying to sue (the defendant) will ask the court to dismiss the case, and the court will agree. That's why it's crucial to understand the statute of limitations and how it applies to your lawsuit.
Finally, from a strategic standpoint, it's always a good idea to leave yourself plenty of time to file a lawsuit, even if you are fairly certain that your case will be resolved through a car insurance settlement. At the very least, keeping all your options on the table will give you more leverage during settlement talks. So if the filing deadline is approaching, you may want to talk with an experienced Kansas car accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
by: David Goguen, J.D.