What is the Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Kansas?

Make sure you understand the statute of limitations deadline for filing a lawsuit after a car accident in Kansas, and keep all your options open.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law
If you're thinking about making any kind of car accident claim after a crash in Kansas, it's important to have the statute of limitations lawsuit-filing deadline in mind, even if you're confident your injury claim will settle out of court. In this article, we'll explain the ins and outs of the Kansas statute of limitations for car accident cases.

And while we're on the subject of car accident-related deadlines in Kansas, we'll also discuss when you need to report a car accident to the proper authorities under state law.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

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.

What Kansas Statute of Limitations Applies to Car Accident Lawsuits?

Kansas is like many states in that the statute of limitations that applies to the vast majority of car accident cases is the same one that applies to most personal injury lawsuits.

Specifically, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-513 gives you two years to ask the state courts for a civil remedy for:

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.

What If a Car Accident Causes Someone's Death In Kansas?

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.)

What If I Miss the Statute of Limitations Deadline In Kansas?

If you try to file your Kansas car accident lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline has already passed, 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.

What's the Deadline for Reporting a Car Accident In Kansas?

Each state, including Kansas, has rules about when and how drivers are required to report car accidents to local and state authorities.

When You're Required to Report a Car Accident in Kansas

Under Kansas law, if no police officer is present, you have to report a car accident when the accident involves one or more of the following circumstances:

  • the death of any person
  • injury to any person
  • property damage in an apparent amount of at least $1000, or
  • property damage to an unattended vehicle.

You also have to report an accident when you're not able to exchange contact and insurance information with anyone injured in the accident or anyone responsible for property that was damaged in the accident. (Kan. Stat. Ann §§ 8-1604, 8-1605 (2023).)

Immediately Report the Accident to the Police

If no police officer is present, drivers or passengers 18 or older must immediately—using the "quickest available means of communication"—inform the nearest office of a "duly authorized police authority" about a reportable accident. Examples of duly authorized police authorities include a local police department, a county sheriff's office, or the Kansas Highway Patrol. For most drivers and passengers, the quickest available means of communication is a phone call from the scene of the accident.

Drivers who hit unattended vehicles must report the accident to an authorized police authority "without unnecessary delay." (Kan. Stat. Ann §§ 8-1604, 8-1605 (2023).)

You May Need to Report the Accident to the Kansas Division of Vehicles

The Kansas Division of Vehicles may require a driver or owner involved in an accident to file a written report whenever the division decides it's necessary. The Kansas Department of Transportation prepares and supplies crash report forms to law enforcement agencies and individuals. (Kan. Stat. Ann §§ 8-1607, 8-1612 (2023).)

Penalties for Not Reporting a Car Accident in Kansas

If you fail to report an accident, your driver's license will be suspended until the report is made. The suspension may be extended for up to 30 days.

Failing to report damage you cause to an unattended vehicle or failing to submit a report required by the Kansas Division of Vehicles is a misdemeanor. The punishment for a first offense is up to one month's jail time and a $500 fine. (Kan. Stat. Ann §§ 8-1605, 8-1609 (2023).)

Report the Accident to Your Car Insurance Company

All standard car insurance policies require policyholders to report all car accidents that could trigger coverage to their insurer as soon as possible. If you don't report an accident, your insurer may deny coverage for the crash or cancel your policy.

Get tips on contacting your car insurance company after an accident.

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