A Kansas law establishes a no-fault auto insurance system in the state. Personal Injury Protection, known as PIP, is one of the types of coverage required for car owners. Everyone who owns a car, drives, or rides in an automobile should understand the coverage that PIP provides.
The Kansas Automobile Injury Reparations Act, which begins at K.S.A. § 40-3101, is a complex, comprehensive law that governs compensation for injuries and damage caused by a car accident. The statute requires every auto insurance policy sold in the state to have the minimum insurance coverages. Your insurance company may offer higher policy limits for any of these coverages. The minimum coverage required by Kansas law includes:
Section 40-3103 defines many of the terms used in the law. Personal injury protection benefits include “the disability benefits, funeral benefits, medical benefits, rehabilitation benefits, substitution benefits and survivors' benefits required to be provided in motor vehicle liability insurance policies pursuant to this act.”
The law essentially requires two different types of PIP benefit coverage for state auto policies. The first type is coverage for medical and rehabilitation care. The second type covers lost income and other expenses related to the injury or death of the policyholder.
PIP coverage must include at least $4,500 for medical benefits, which covers the costs of medical treatment and services. The policy also must provide a separate amount of at least $4,500 for rehabilitation benefits, which are defined as: “allowances for all reasonable expenses, up to a limit of not less than $4,500, for necessary psychiatric or psychological services, occupational therapy and such occupational training and retraining as may be reasonably necessary to enable the injured person to obtain suitable employment.”
If you exceed the policy limits for your PIP medical coverage, your health insurance provider may cover the rest of your medical costs. Most health plans require you to use up your PIP coverage before using health care plan benefits.
If a person cannot work because of injuries from an auto accident, PIP generally pays 85% of your monthly income, up to a limit of $900 a month, for a year after the accident. When you get an auto policy, you may be able to increase the amount of disability coverage for a higher premium.
Personal Injury Protection also provides up to $25 a day to pay for someone to provide essential household services usually performed by the injured person. Examples of these services include housecleaning, grocery shopping, and yard care.
In addition, PIP coverage pays the same amount as income loss benefits to an eligible surviving spouse or dependent child under age 18, in the event of the policyholder’s death. PIP benefits also include up to $2,000 of funeral, burial, or cremation services.
The Personal Injury Protection in your auto insurance policy covers you as the policyholder, family members living in your home (whether they are driving or riding as a passenger in a car), and other passengers in your vehicle when an accident occurs, unless the unrelated passenger has PIP benefits under their own or a family member’s policy.
Some types of accidents may not be covered. For example, PIP does not cover accidents that are intentionally caused. In addition, the law does not require motorcycle owners to have no-fault coverage. Motorcyclists must affirmatively opt to purchase PIP if they wish to have the coverage.
Finally, if you (or a family member) were on a work-related trip when an accident occurred, workers’ compensation — rather than PIP — likely covers the injuries.
PIP does not cover non-economic damages from an auto accident, such as pain and suffering. For non-economic compensation, the no-fault statute limits your ability to seek compensation from an at-fault driver. To be able to make a negligence claim against an at-fault driver, the injured victim’s medical bills must have a reasonable value of $2,000 or more, or the victim must have suffered at least one of the following types of injuries:
If you were seriously injured in an auto accident, and your injuries may meet one of the requirements for filing a claim against the at-fault driver, you should talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer at the earliest opportunity. Filing a claim on your own without legal counsel can significantly affect your ability to recover compensation.
In some situations, a lawyer also can help you obtain PIP benefits under your policy or a family member’s policy, if your own insurance company denies your PIP claim. So even if your injuries may not meet the no-fault thresholds, talking with an attorney is a good idea if you don’t think you are receiving all the benefits you deserve.
The personal injury attorneys at Sloan Law Firm have the right experience and knowledge to help you handle all aspects of a car accident claim, whether your injuries exceed the no-fault thresholds or you need help receiving PIP benefits. From our offices in Topeka and Lawrence, our lawyers assist clients throughout the state. We invite you to contact us by calling (785) 357-6311 or using our online contact form.