ABOUT KANSAS’S STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
A statute of limitations exists for both civil and criminal causes of actions. In the civil setting, a statute of limitations begins to run from the date of injury, or the date that the injury could reasonably be discovered (such as in the case of some malpractice claims). Most statutes of limitations are codified in statutory law, though some are found in common law.
In Kansas, personal injury statutes of limitations are codified in the Kansas Revisor of Statutes. The purpose of a statute of limitations is to provide potential plaintiffs a clear picture of when they must assert their claims and to alleviate responsibility to potential defendants for actions or omissions that occur beyond the prescribed period.
The statute of limitations is dependent on where the injury occurred, what kind of claim you are bringing, and what kind of party you are bringing the claim against.
KANSAS STATUTE OF REPOSE
While the Kansas statute of limitations sets a lawsuit-filing time limit based on when the potential plaintiff suffered harm, a statute of repose sets a deadline based on the mere passage of time or the occurrence of a certain event that doesn’t itself cause harm or give rise to a potential lawsuit. The statute of repose is intended to cut off a right of action after a specified period has elapsed, regardless of when the cause of action occurs.
Kansas has a statute of repose related to construction projects that prohibits claims for construction defects beyond 10 years after the construction is completed.
DEADLINE EXTENSIONS & EXCEPTIONS TO THE KANSAS STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In general, there’s no way around the statute of limitations. You must formally file the suit in the courts within the prescribed period, or, unfortunately, the claim is forfeited.
Generally, the only exception to the statute of limitations would be the delayed discovery rule, which is a legal doctrine that suspends the running of statutes of limitations during periods of time in which the plaintiff did not discover, or, by the exercise of reasonable diligence, could not have discovered, the injuries that would lead to their cause of action against the defendant.
The delayed discovery rule typically applies in medical malpractice claims in the tort setting. The plaintiff’s failure to timely file a complaint within the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that the defendant needs to plead and prove, and it can be waived if the defendant fails to plead it in their answer.
ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
In Kansas, a civil action is commenced at the time of filing a petition with the court if service of process is obtained or the first publication is made for service by publication within 90 days after the petition is filed. The court may extend that time an additional 30 days upon a showing of good cause by the plaintiff. If the defendant intentionally attempts to evade service, then the Kansas tolling statute allows for the tolling (or suspension) of the deadline to file and obtain service. This also applies to defendants who leave the state (unless their whereabouts are known) or even serve military duty.
Negligence Claims – Generally, negligence claims in Kansas include injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions; injuries from slip, trips, and falls from dangerous conditions on another’s property; injuries from dog bites; and most other injuries caused by an act or omission by a person or business. The statute of limitations for negligence claims in Kansas is two years from the date of injury, meaning if someone causes a car wreck that results in an injury to your person, you have 2 years to file a complaint (also known as a petition) in the Kansas courts. That does not mean that the case must be completed, verdict or settlement and all, before the end of five years.
Wrongful Death Claims – In that same scenario, if the crash resulted in death to the injured party, then the injured party’s family has a right to a wrongful death claim against the defendant. This is a different type of claim than a negligence claim in that it is a claim that belongs to the deceased’s survivors who step in, not to the injured party. The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Kansas is two years.
Minor Plaintiff – Because a minor plaintiff cannot negotiate or agree to a settlement on their own behalf, they have an extended statute of limitations, which is typically one year following their 18th birthday (but in no event more than eight years following the act giving rise to the injury). When cases are resolved when the injured plaintiff is still a minor, the parties will often need to seek court approval of the settlement amount in the form of a friendly suit called a minor settlement hearing.
Product Liability Claims – Product liability is the legal liability of a manufacturer or trader that they incur for producing or selling a faulty product. In Kansas, the statute of limitations for product liability claims is two years. The product liability can be based on defective design (products inherently dangerous or missing safeguards), hidden defects, failure to warn, malfunctions, or defective processes. Examples of some of the largest product liability cases include the Phillip Morris tobacco products case (failure to warn), General Motors for gas tank explosions, Dow Corning silicone breast implants (defective product), and asbestos building materials.
Medical Malpractice – Medical malpractice is a specific subset of tort law that deals with professional negligence and is defined as any act or omission by a physician during treatment of a patient that deviates from accepted norms of practice in the medical community and causes an injury to the patient. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice in Kansas is two years.
There are many variables involved in determining when you need to file a lawsuit in Kansas. If you or a loved one has been injured in or near Kansas City, get help from the personal injury lawyers at Brown & Crouppen with a free consultation.