- July 7, 2023
- Personal Injury
When you have been injured in an accident due to the careless actions of another person, you may be able to get compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to do so you must prove that the party who caused your injuries was negligent, which can be a complex process. What exactly does this mean and how do you prove negligence in an injury case in Kansas?
What Are the Elements of Negligence in Kansas?
There are several elements to proving negligence in Kansas. Each of the following elements must be proven in order to have a valid injury claim:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty.
- The breach directly led to your injuries.
- You sustained damages because of your injuries.
To better understand each element, think about shopping at the grocery store. Grocery stores invite the public onto their premises and have a duty to take reasonable care to keep visitors safe by keeping aisle floors clean and uncluttered. If there is a spill or other hazard in an aisle that the grocer knows about, or should know about, but does not fix or adequately alert shoppers by using safety cones or other warnings, it may be argued that the grocer has failed in their duty of care if someone slips or trips and is injured. In this basic case, it would need to be proven that the grocer’s failure to fix a known danger directly caused the accident and the injuries. If the injured party had to get medical treatment because of their injuries or missed work, these are damages that they have suffered. If you require legal assistance in such situations, consider consulting a Topeka car accident lawyer.
Using a different scenario, if an adult in Kansas trespasses on another person’s property and trips and is injured, there is no duty of care owed. In this case, the injured party would not be able to prove the first element toward establishing negligence and could not sue.
What Is the Most Difficult Element of Negligence to Prove?
While each step in proving negligence can be difficult, breach of the duty of care and causation are often the most difficult elements to prove. To prove breach of duty it must be shown that the person acted outside the standard of reasonable care which another person would have observed in similar circumstances. To prove causation, it has to be shown that the breach of duty was the proximate cause of the injuries and resulting damages. The law often uses the “but for test.” This test considers whether injuries would have occurred but for the defendants’ actions (or inactions).
Proving these complex elements requires strong evidence. Depending on the accident and circumstances, evidence could include:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Photographs or video of accident scenes
- Accident reconstruction diagrams
- Expert witness testimony
- Police reports
- First-responder interviews
- Medical reports and bills.
These are some of the more common types of evidence used to prove negligence. There could be additional evidence or different evidence in your case.
The Comparative Negligence Rule in Kansas
Kansas follows the comparative negligence rule. This rule means that if you are found to have contributed to causing the accident in which you were injured, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if you sustained $10,000 in damages, but the defendant is able to prove that you were 25% liable for the accident, you would recover $7,500 rather than the full $10,000. If you are found to share more than 50% responsibility for the accident, you will not be able to recover anything.
The person you are suing may well try to claim that you contributed to the accident or even caused it in order to reduce their financial responsibility. If they are successful in doing so, you may not get the full amount of compensation you need for your damages, which is why it’s to your benefit to work with a skillful Manhattan, KS personal injury attorney knows how to counteract such claims.
Damages in Personal Injury Cases
Damages are the losses you’ve experienced because of the negligent accident. Damages that may be awarded in personal injury claims include payment for:
- Current and future medical costs resulting from the accident
- Lost wages and benefits when you miss work due to injuries
- Loss of earning capacity if your work is limited in the future
- Pain and suffering for physical pain and emotional and mental trauma.
If your family member died in an accident caused by negligence, you and other eligible survivors could potentially receive damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that may be available include funeral and burial costs, lost financial support, loss of comfort and protection, loss of household services, pain and suffering of your deceased loved one before their death, mental anguish of survivors, and more. If you are seeking legal assistance in Topeka, a Topeka wrongful death lawyer can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to navigate this challenging process.
In some personal injury and wrongful death cases, such as those handled by a Topeka burn injury lawyer, punitive damages may be awarded. These damages may be claimed in cases of gross negligence.
Deadline for Filing an Injury Lawsuit Based on Negligence
The statute of limitations in Kansas for injury and wrongful death lawsuits based on negligence is generally two years from the date of injury, or when the injury was discovered, or the date of death. However, there are exceptions to this deadline. Consulting with a Manhattan, KS brain injury attorney can be crucial, as your attorney can advise you about specific deadlines for your case and ensure that you do not exceed them.
Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Law Firm in Topeka
Most personal injury cases are settled outside of the courtroom through negotiations with insurers, but some must go to trial for resolution. Whether your case goes to trial or the negotiating table, negligence must be shown in order to receive compensation. When we accept your case, our hardworking attorneys at Palmer Law Group will work diligently to establish that the other party was negligent and caused your injuries and damages. We have extensive experience resolving negligence claims arising from motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, medical malpractice, dog bites and other incidents.