Kansas Car Accident Laws

If you’re driving through Kansas, you’ll want to know all of the laws regarding reporting and claiming car accident damages before you’re in a crash.
Written by Jacqulyn Graber
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you’re in a car accident on a Kansas street or highway, state law requires you to notify the police when there is an injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more. Then, regardless of the severity of the accident, you can claim all damages through your car insurance provider or via a personal injury lawsuit, in accordance with your level of fault.
There’s nothing simple about a car accident—especially if you’re unfamiliar with your state’s reporting rules and claims process. To make sure you’re prepared for every circumstance—from minor fender benders to major car wrecks—it’s essential to have a basic understanding of Kansas’s car accident laws before you hit the road. 
To help simplify things a bit,
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What to do after a crash: Kansas car accident reporting laws

If you’re involved in a car accident, take these steps to ensure your and your passengers’ safety: 
  • Check yourself and your passengers—as well as the passengers of any other vehicles involved—for injuries 
  • Immediately call 911 if anyone was hurt or if property damage is evidently severe
  • If you can, move your vehicle to a safer location, such as a nearby parking lot or the side of the road
  • Document the crash in every way possible—photographs are always best, but written notes or a voice recording can help you remember the details later on
  • Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s), and/or record details about their vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also be required to report the accident to law enforcement, the DMW, and your insurance company.

When to report an accident to the police

Per Kansas state law, you are required to report any and all accidents to law enforcement immediately if and when there is personal injury, death, or property damage that exceeds $1,000. This means that most accidents—with the exception of very minor love taps—will likely need to be reported. 
To report an accident, you should use your cell phone, borrow someone else’s cell phone, find a payphone, or immediately go to the nearest police department. If your car was unattended while it was damaged, you must report the damages without unnecessary delay. 
The officer investigating your accident will likely provide you with additional guidance if any additional reports to the state, city, or county are necessary.
Note that failure to report a reportable accident is punishable by suspension of your driver’s license until the report is filed (and up to an additional 30 days afterward). 

When to report an accident to the DMV

Once you’ve reported an accident to the police, you typically won’t need to file any additional reports with the DMV—the law enforcement officers will take care of this for you.
If the state of Kansas requires any additional reports or information, they will contact you directly. Additionally, if the city or county requires any special reporting, the law enforcement officer investigating your accident will advise you. 

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Kansas car insurance laws

Because they recognize that accidents happen, Kansas—like most U.S. states—requires drivers to purchase a minimum amount of
liability insurance
. These policies ensure that you can demonstrate financial responsibility for your vehicle. 
Here’s the minimum amount of coverage you’ll have to purchase per state law:
Proof of this insurance will be required when registering your vehicle at the DMV. You’ll also need to provide
proof of insurance
every time you’re pulled over by law enforcement—including in the event of an accident. Failure to do so could result in the following:
  • SR-22
    filing for 12 months (which typically raises your insurance premiums)
  • Fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 for the first offense
  • Fines ranging from $800 to $2,500 for subsequent offenses
  • Up to 6 months in jail
Unfortunately, even with these laws in place, not every Kansas driver has car insurance. In 2019, 10.9% of drivers lacked adequate car insurance, according to estimates by
Insurance Information Institute (III)
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
to your policy can help protect you from this population. Otherwise, you’ll have some trouble claiming damages to your vehicle if you ever happen to be involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured. 

Claiming damages after an accident: Kansas’s personal injury laws

There is no law that requires you to report your accident to your car insurance company—however, your policy’s contract likely outlines a specific time frame during which you must voluntarily report, if desired.
Kansas is a
no-fault state
, which means if you’re injured in a car accident, you must first turn to your insurance to claim damages—regardless of who’s at fault. You’ll specifically use your “PIP” or
personal injury protection
for medical bills and certain other out-of-pocket losses.
If you exceed your PIP limits and have suffered a “serious injury,” you may file a liability claim or lawsuit. Kansas defines serious injury as one or more of the following:
  • Permanent disfigurement 
  • Fracture of a weight-bearing bone
  • Compound, comminuted, compressed, or displaced fracture of any bone
  • Permanent injury 
  • Permanent loss of bodily function 
If you meet these requirements, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to collect two kinds of damages:
  • Economic damages: Quantifiable expenses such as medical bills, lost wages, loss of use of property, etc
  • Non-economic damages: Negative impacts on quality of life including pain and suffering, mental suffering, disability, inconvenience, etc
It is important to note that Kansas has placed a “cap” on the amount of damages one may claim. These caps apply exclusively to non-economic damages:
  • $325,000 for injuries that occurred on or after July 1, 2018 and before July 1, 2022
  • $350,000 for injuries that occurred on or after July 1, 2022
Economic damages—which are more easily quantifiable—present no cap and can be claimed to their complete amount, regardless of how high it is. 
Kansas also has a strict statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits. According to
Kansas Statutes 60-513
, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person(s) or entity you think is responsible for the accident. If you try to file your accident after the deadline has passed, the court is almost certain to dismiss your case. 

Exceptions to Kansas’s personal injury laws

The only exception to Kansas’ two-year limit on filing personal injury lawsuits applies to minors. If a child is involved in an accident, that individual will have up until one year after their 18th birthday to file a suit. 

Who’s to blame: Kansas’s comparative negligence law

Kansas also uses a “comparative fault” or “
comparative negligence
” law to reduce or eliminate damages when an injured party is found to share fault in the accident that led to their injury.
Here’s how it works: suppose you were involved in a car accident that resulted in significant injury to you and high medical bills. You file a personal injury suit for a total of $10,000. In court, however, it is found that you were 10% at fault for the accident. The total damages paid out to you will be reduced by 10%, meaning you’ll get $9,000. 
If you are found to be at 50% at fault—or higher—the comparative fault rule will prevent you from collecting damages from any other at-fault party.

How to save money on car insurance in Kansas 

Unfortunately, the stress of a car accident doesn’t end after the crash site is cleaned up and damages are all paid out. A car accident—regardless of fault—can immediately raise your car insurance rates, affecting your premiums long-term.
Fortunately, switching car insurance policies can help you save some money. If you’re hesitant to switch plans or insurance providers because you’re worried about the work involved, don’t be—just use Jerry's
trustworthy super app
does all the paperwork for you and can even help cancel your old policy! And if you have any questions along the way, just text one of our agents through the app. They will always be there to assist you.
makes choosing new insurance as easy as grocery shopping. Even though I had a car accident within the past 2 years, Jerry found me a great deal with Nationwide–I went from paying $340 to $90 a month!”—Pan N.
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