Kansas Car Accident and Personal Injury Laws



If you've been injured in a car accident in the State of Kansas, you may have questions about how the laws will affect your property damage and/or personal injury claim. In this article, we'll review the laws most commonly associated with car accidents. To read the entirety of each law, click the link to the specific State of Kansas statutes in each section.

Here are the Kansas car accident and traffic laws we'll cover:

Pedestrian Laws

Pedestrians and Crosswalks

The driver of a vehicle must stop and yield the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian has reached the halfway point of the crosswalk, or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the crosswalk as to be in danger.
Section 15-08-1533

Restrictions on Pedestrians Crossing Roadways

No pedestrian is permitted to suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.
Section 15-08-1533

Pedestrian Control Signals

Whenever special pedestrian control signals, exhibiting the words Walk or Don't Walk or the symbols of a walking person or an upraised palm are in place such signals shall indicate as follows:

  1. Walk or Walking Person. Pedestrians facing such signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal and shall be given the right of way by the drivers of all vehicles.
  2. Don't Walk or Upraised Palm. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of such signal, whether flashing or steady. Any pedestrian who has partially completed the pedestrian's crossing on the Walk or Walking Person signal shall complete the crossing to a sidewalk or safety island while the Don't Walk or Upraised Palm signal is showing.
Section 15-08-1509

Crossing at Other Than Crosswalks

Pedestrians intending to cross a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles on the roadway.

Pedestrians must use only the marked crosswalk to cross between two adjacent intersections that have traffic-control signals in operation.

Pedestrians can cross an intersection diagonally only when it is authorized by traffic-control devices.
Section 15-08-1534

Pedestrians on Roadway

Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon adjacent roadway.

Where sidewalks are not provided, pedestrians are permitted to walk only on or along the left side of the roadway or on it's shoulder facing traffic from the opposite direction.
Section 15-08-1537

Pedestrians' Right of Way on Sidewalks

The driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk.
Section 15-08-1540
Section 15-08-1555

Drivers to Exercise Due Care

The driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway and shall give warning by sounding the driver's horn when necessary and shall exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person.
Section 15-08-1535

Pedestrians Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

A pedestrian who is under the influence of alcohol or any drug to a degree which renders them a hazard must not walk or be on a roadway, except on a sidewalk.
Section 15-08-1543

Driving Laws

Obedience to Traffic Control Devices

A driver of any vehicle must obey any traffic control devices applicable to the driver, unless directed by a traffic or police officer.
Section 15-08-1507

Driving on Right Side of Roadway

Drivers must drive in the right lane of roadways with the following exceptions:

  • When passing another driver in the same direction
  • When there is an obstruction in the right lane
  • Upon a roadway with three marked lanes of traffic
  • Upon a roadway restricted to one way traffic
Section 15-08-1514

Limitations on Overtaking on the Left

Drivers may drive to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle only if the left side is clearly visible and the overtaking vehicle can return to its lane without coming within two hundred feet of oncoming traffic.
Section 15-08-1518

Passing On the Right

Drivers may pass on the right under the following conditions:

  • When the driver about to be passed is about to make a left turn. However, the driver attempting to pass on the right must not do so without driving off the pavement of main-traveled portion of the roadway. When the roadway has two (2) or more lanes of traffic moving in the same direction.
  • The driver is operating a transit bus that is authorized and being operated according to Kansas state laws.
Section 15-08-1517

Following Too Closely

Following Too Closely A driver must not follow another driver more closely than is "reasonable and prudent", having due regard for the speed of other drivers and traffic conditions along the roadway. A driver who is towing another vehicle must leave sufficient space ahead of their vehicle to allow an overtaking vehicle to enter and occupy this space without danger.
Section 15-08-1523

Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices

Drivers must not drive while using a mobile electronic device to write, send, or read written messages, except for the purpose of contacting emergency services.
Section 15-08-15111

Drivers and Intersections

When two (2) drivers approach an intersection at approximately the same time the driver on the left must yield to the driver to their right.
Section 15-08-1526

Drivers Intending to Turn Left at Intersections

A driver who intends to turn left at an intersection, or into an alley, private road or driveway must yield the right of way to drivers approaching from the opposite direction.
Section 15-08-1527

Drivers Entering or Crossing a Roadway

A driver about to enter or cross a roadway from any place other than another roadway must yield the right of way to all vehicles on the roadway to be crossed.
Section 15-08-1529

Bicycling Laws

Bicyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 15-08-1587

Motorcycling Laws

Motorcycles

Motorcyclists must obey the same traffic laws as drivers of cars, and are subject to the same penalties as are drivers for violating traffic laws.
Section 15-08-1593

Motorcyclists and Lanes of Traffic

Motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and drivers must not take any action to deprive a motorcyclist of his or her right to use a full lane on a roadway. A motorcyclist must not pass another driver in the same lane. Motorcyclists must not ride more than two (2) abreast in a single lane.
Section 15-08-1595

"Lane Splitting"

Motorcyclists must not pass another driver in the same lane. Commonly known as "lane splitting," motorcyclists sometimes attempt to pass other drivers when traffic is slowed, or bumper to bumper. To move forward through traffic motorcyclists sometimes drive between cars. Doing so is not only illegal, but quite dangerous.
Section 15-08-1595

Helmet Law

All motorcyclists who are 18 years of age or younger must wear helmets while riding on roadways.
Section 15-08-1598

Motorcycles and Headlights

Every motorcycle riding on a roadway must be equipped with at least one headlight.
Section 15-08-1801

Driving Offenses and Accident Requirements

Reckless Driving

A driver who drives in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving, and can be fined and imprisoned.
Section 15-08-1566

Alcohol and Minors

A driver under the age of twenty one (21) must not drive upon any roadway if the driver' blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.02% or higher.
Section 15-08-1567a

Driver's Duty to Give Information and Render Aid

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage must give their name, address and the registration number of their vehicle, and upon request must exhibit their driver's license or permit to drive, the name of their auto insurance company and the insurance policy number to any person involved with the accident.

Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.
Section 15-08-1604

Accidents Involving Death, Personal Injury, or Substantial Bodily Injury

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury or death of any person must immediately stop and remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of Section 15-08-1604.

Section 15-08-1604 reads in part that the driver must give their name, address and the registration number of their vehicle, and upon request must exhibit their driver's license or permit to drive, the name of their auto insurance company and the insurance policy number to any person involved with the accident.

Moreover the driver must render to any person injured in the accident reasonable assistance, including making of arrangements to transfer the injured person to a physician, surgeon, or hospital for medical or surgical treatment if it is apparent medical treatment is required.
Section 15-08-1602

Accidents Involving Only Damage to Another Car or Property

A driver involved in an accident resulting only in damage to property or another car which is driven or attended by any person must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must remain at the scene of the accident until the driver has fulfilled the requirements of Section 15-08-1604.

Section 15-08-1604 reads in part that the driver must give their name, address and the registration number of their vehicle, and upon request must exhibit their driver's license or permit to drive, the name of their auto insurance company and the insurance policy number to any person involved with the accident.
Section 15-08-1602

Accidents Involving Damage to Unattended Car or Unattended Property

A driver who collides with a parked car or who collides with other property which is unattended must immediately stop at the scene of the accident or as close to it as possible and must attempt to locate and notify the driver or owner of the damaged car or damaged property.

Once located the driver who caused the accident must give their name, address, and vehicle registration number.

If the driver or owner of the damaged car or property cannot be located, the driver who caused the accident must attach a written note to the damaged property in a conspicuous place giving their name, address, and vehicle registration number. Also, the driver must immediately notify the police about the accident.
Section 15-08-1605

Driver's Duty to Notify Police Department

A driver involved in an accident resulting in injury, death, or total damage to all property resulting in $1,000 or more, or in an accident with an unattended vehicle must immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice to the nearest police office.
Section 15-08-1604

Accident Reports Filed By Police Departments

Every law enforcement officer who investigates a vehicle accident that results in injury or death to any person or total damage to all property to an apparent extent of $1,000 or more must forward a written report of such accident to the department of transportation within 10 days after investigation of the accident.
Section 15-08-1611

Accident Report Forms

The department of transportation must prepare and upon request supply to police departments, sheriffs and other appropriate agencies or individuals, forms for written accident reports. The written reports must call for sufficiently detailed information about the cause, conditions then existing and the persons and vehicles involved in an accident.
Section 15-08-1612

Open Alcohol Container Law

A driver or passenger must not be in possession of an opened container of an alcoholic beverage while the car is on Kansas roadways.

An opened alcoholic beverage container can be kept only in the trunk of a vehicle or behind the rearmost upright seat where a passenger would not normally sit. It cannot be kept in the utility or glove compartment.

Passengers of a recreational vehicle can consume and possess an opened container if the passenger is located in the passenger area of the vehicle where the driver is not directly accessible.
Section 15-08-1599

Driving Under Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substance

A driver must not drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage or consuming an intoxicant in an amount which renders the driver incapable of driving safely along roadways. In Kansas, a driver is guilty of the offense of drinking under the influence if the driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.
Section 15-08-1567

Ignition Interlock Device

A driver who is guilty of driving while under the influence of an intoxicant and might be ordered to have installed at his or her own expenses an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device will serve to restore the driver's driving privileges during the pendency of the driver's probation. If an ignition device is installed, it must be installed in every car owned or operated by the driver.

An ignition interlock is a device which measures any amount of alcohol contained in a driver's body. Before starting the car the driver must blow into a tube emanating from the ignition interlock device. If the device then detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than is permitted by law the car will not start and the violation will be reported to the prosecutor, the probation officer, and/or the judge. At that point the driver may be subject to loss of driving privileges, immediate arrest and incarceration up to the maximum term provided by law.
Section 10-8-1015

Liability Laws

Financial Responsibility Car Insurance Minimum Limits

In the State of Kansas, each motor vehicle must be covered by an insurance policy that includes liability coverage of the following amounts for all damages resulting from an accident:

  • At least $25,000 per person
  • At least $50,000 for two or more people
  • $10,000 per occurrence for property damage
Section 15-40-3107

Kansas Insurance Information

For information about auto insurance requirements, see the Kansas Insurance Department website.

Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)

In Kansas, the victim in a car accident can sue the negligent driver for compensation. The victim's liability in causing the accident, their comparative negligence, affects the amount of compensation the victim receives.

If the victim contributed less than 51% of the negligence that caused the accident, then their compensation is reduced by the amount they contributed to the accident. If the victim contributed 51% or more of the negligence that caused the accident, then the victim is barred from receiving any compensation.
Section 2-60-258a

Example of Comparative Negligence (51% Rule)

One morning, Jackson was driving north on his way to work. At an intersection, he pulled into the left turn lane. At the same time, Melanie approached the intersection from the opposite direction. Suddenly, Jackson turned left into Melanie's lane and their cars collided.

Melanie sustained serious brain injuries and damage to her car, totalling in $100,000 dollars worth of damages.

After their investigation, the police determined that Jackson had failed to yield according to traffic laws. A pedestrian witness told police he saw Melanie texting at the time Jackson's car crashed into Melanie's. As a result, the police issued Melanie a citation for using a mobile device while driving.

Melanie sued Jackson for $100,000 and claimed he was 100% at fault for the accident because he did not yield to her right-of-way. At trial, the jury found Jackson liable for failing to yield the right-of-way. However, the jury also found Melissa liable for using a mobile device while driving and partially responsible for the accident.

The verdict stated Jackson's negligence equaled 70% of the accident, and Melanie's equaled 30%. The jury awarded Melanie only $70,000 dollars.

In the event the jury had found Jackson's negligence equaled 49% of the accident, and Melanie's equaled 51%, the jury would be barred by law from awarding Melanie any compensation for the damages.
Comparative Negligence: Section 2-60-258a
Right of Way: Section 15-08-1527
Drivers and Mobile Electronic Devices: Section 15-08-15111

Kansas's No Fault Car Insurance

Kansas uses a no-fault system to handle compensation for injuries or damages due to a motor vehicle accidents. No-fault insurance allows a person, who is injured in a car accident or whose property is damaged, to file a claim with their own car insurance company. No-fault insurance allows a person to avoid pursuing a negligent driver for compensation for damages. No-fault insurance does not compensate for pain and suffering, and the amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance purchased by the injured party determines their coverage.

For information about no-fault insurance claims, see the Kansas Insurance Department website.

Statute of Limitations

Kansas has a two (2) year statute of limitations for property damage claims and an one (1) year statute of limitations for personal injuries. This means that a victim of a car accident must file a claim within the allotted time period, or else they are barred from seeking compensation.
Section 5-60-513
Section 5-60-514

Small Claims Courts

In Kansas, victims of car accidents can choose to sue the negligent driver in small claims court. The jurisdiction of a small claims court regarding personal injury and property damage is limited to a maximum of $4,000, exclusive of filing fees and court costs.

To learn about how to submit a claim in small claims court, visit the Kansas Judicial Branch website.

Kansas Government Tort Claims - Sovereign Immunity

In Kansas, it is possible to submit a claim against a governmental agency or its employees for personal injury or property damage as a result of negligence on the part of the governmental agency or its employees. The claim must refer to an lawful action on the part of the governmental agency or employee performed in the scope of their duties.

If the injury or property damage occurred as a result of an unlawful action, then the claimant can sue only the person(s) who caused injury or property damage individually. The governmental agency would not be liable.
Section 61-75-6103

Example

If Melissa, an engineer with the Wichita Planning Department, ran a red light on her way to a worksite and caused an accident, then the City of Wichita would be liable for the property damage and personal injuries caused her.

If Melissa stopped for a few drinks and became intoxicated before heading to a worksite and causing an accident, then the City of Wichita can claim sovereign immunity. Melissa performed an unlawful act and was not acting in the scope of her duties when she became intoxicated on her way to the worksite.

To seek compensation for damages, injured parties would have to sue Melissa personally. The determination of whether or not Melissa was acting within the scope of her duties would have to be decided during a trial.
Section 61-75-6103
NCSL

Sources

State Government of Kansas

Kansas Department of Transportation

Kansas State Legislature

Kansas Highway Patrol

Governors Highway Safety Association

Kansas Bar Association

National Conference on State Legislature

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