Our clients often ask whether they can be compensated in the accident was
partially their own fault. The short answer to this question is yes. Kansas
has adopted a modified comparative fault scheme. See K.S.A. §60-258a.
Under Kansas law, you can receive compensation for your injuries as long
as your fault, as determined by a jury, is less than 50%. This means that
you can still be compensated for part of your injuries if an accident
was partially your fault. Take for example this set of facts:
You are operating your motor vehicle on a highway when a driver turns left
in front of you. A collision ensues and because of that collision, you
sustain injuries. You hire an attorney who files a lawsuit on your behalf
against the other driver. At trial, the jury finds that you sustained
$100,000.00 in total damages but finds that you could have potentially
avoided the collision assigns 20% to the fault to you and 80% to the other
driver. In this example, you would be able to collect 80% or $80,000.00
of your damages from the other driver.
Also, sometimes our clients ask if they can still recover even though "the
police officer found them at fault" or the "other insurance
company said it was their fault." It is important to understand that
neither the police officer nor any insurance company gets to
decide fault. In fact, the police officer's opinion of fault is inadmissible at trial.
See Ratterree v. Bartlett, 238 Kan. 11, 707 P.2d 1063 (1985). Insurance companies cannot decide who
is at fault for an accident either—it is up to a jury to decide.
If you've suffered injuries in an accident and haven't pursued
damages because either an insurance company or police officer said you
were partially or totally at fault, you should
contact a knowledgeable Kansas personal injury attorney immediately.