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Hit and Run in Kansas: Know the Law and Stay Safe

Every time you take to the road, you assume the responsibility to operate your vehicle safely. However, if you are involved in a car accident in Kansas, the stakes are much higher.

What follows could be a criminal case, a personal injury lawsuit, or both. This article discusses two critical topics every driver should know: Kansas hit and run laws and accidents and liability in Kansas.

Kansas Hit and Run Laws

A hit and run refers to an incident where a driver, after being involved in an accident, leaves the scene without taking appropriate measures to help anyone who may be injured or exchanging the required information with the other party. In Kansas, a person commits hit and run if they:

– Fail to stop after causing or contributing to an accident resulting in personal injury or death of any person

– Leave the scene after damaging an unattended vehicle or other property without trying to find the owner or leaving information a reasonable person would with a proper authority.

If convicted of a hit and run, a driver could face felony charges. If the incident caused injury, the driver could face anywhere from 31 to 136 months in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.

If the individual left the scene after damaging property, it is a misdemeanor that could result in up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Duties of Driver after an Accident

Kansas law requires drivers involved in an accident to remain at the scene, keep their vehicle stationary, and provide the following information to the other party involved or to the proper authorities upon request:

– Name

– Address

– Registration number

– Insurance company

If anyone involved in the accident is injured or requests medical assistance, the driver must help the individual by notifying the appropriate authorities and getting them necessary medical attention.

Reporting an Accident

The driver must also file an accident report with the police or the Kansas Highway Patrol if:

– Someone was injured or killed

– The accident caused any amount of property damage, except the ones mentioned below

The driver should also notify the owner of the damaged property or make a reasonable effort to do so.

Civil Penalties for Hit and Run

Someone involved in a hit and run accident may face a personal injury lawsuit if they caused an injury or property damage. The victim can claim compensation for any physical pain, emotional distress, medical bills, and loss of income.

In some cases, the driver may also be subject to punitive damages, which aim to punish the individual for their reckless behavior.

Defenses for Hit and Run

In some cases, the driver may have left the scene of the accident because they were afraid for their safety or well-being. They must prove that their fear was reasonable and that they had no other option but to leave the scene to avoid further harm.

If the driver can show that their behavior was not due to willful or intentional misconduct, they may have a defense. The accident should have occurred due to something beyond the driver’s control and the individual could not reasonably avoid it.

Accidents and Liability in Kansas

Fault in Kansas

The state of Kansas is a no-fault insurance state. This means that each driver’s insurance company pays for their damages and medical bills, regardless of who is at fault.

This approach aims to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits filed in court and ensure that everyone gets quick compensation. Every driver in Kansas is required by law to have personal injury protection (PIP) benefits coverage.

This coverage provides up to $4,500 per person to cover any medical expenses incurred from an injury sustained in a car accident.

Damages and Compensation

If a driver suffers a personal injury in a car accident and it exceeds their PIP benefits, they can then file a lawsuit against the other driver for compensation. The victim can claim for any physical pain, emotional distress, medical bills, and loss of income.

If the accident results in damage to the victim’s property, they can file a claim with the insurance company of the driver at fault to cover the cost of the repairs.

Statute of Limitations

Under Kansas law, a person has two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is also two years from the date of death.

Striking a Parked Vehicle

If a driver accidentally strikes a parked vehicle, they must make reasonable efforts to locate the owner. If successful, they must provide the owner with their name, phone number, and insurance information.

If they can not locate the owner, they should leave a note on the vehicle with their contact information and a brief explanation of the accident.


Getting into a car accident is never easy, but knowing your legal responsibilities as a driver in Kansas can make the process less confusing. Remember, always stay at the scene of the accident, provide the necessary information, and do what you can to help anyone who may have been injured.

If you are ever involved in an accident, contact an experienced attorney for help navigating the legal process.

Hit and Run Scenarios in Kansas

A hit and run refers to a situation where a driver involved in an accident leaves the scene without providing the required information or rendering aid. Hit and runs come in different forms, and Kansas has specific laws to deal with each case.

Below are the potential hit and run scenarios in Kansas:

Property Damage Less Than $1000

If you are involved in an accident that results in only minor property damage and nobody gets injured, you still need to fulfill your legal obligations. Pull over, and exchange the necessary information with the other driver involved.

If the owner of the damaged property is not at the scene, leave a note with your contact information. However, if you leave the scene without offering reasonable information or help, you may face a hit and run charge.

Such a hit and run offense is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Great Bodily Injury or Death

If the hit and run accident results in great bodily injury or even death, you are looking at more serious legal consequences. Kansas law defines a “great bodily injury” as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death, severe disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of any function of the body.

In such cases, leaving the scene is considered a class A misdemeanor. A class A misdemeanor could get the offender up to a year in jail or $2,500 fine or both.

If the victim of the accident dies, hit and run is a level 6 or 5 felony, depending on the circumstances. A level 6 felony could result in 10-11 months in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.

On the other hand, a level 5 felony could mean up to three and a half years in prison and a $300,000 fine.

Accidentally Hitting Someone and Death

No driver ever sets out to kill another person while driving, but accidents happen, and sometimes they have fatal outcomes. If you accidentally hit someone with your car and they die, leaving the scene of the accident could result in severe legal consequences.

Under Kansas law, if a driver leaves the scene of an accident where someone dies, it is a level 6 felony. A level six felony could result in up to 11 months of incarceration, a $100,000 fine, or both.

However, if the driver knew or should have known that they caused the death of someone in the accident, a conviction could be for vehicular homicide or manslaughter, which carries more severe penalties.

Actions to Take After an Accident in Kansas

Getting into an accident can be scary and stressful, leaving you unsure of what to do next. However, the right actions you take after the incident can make a world of difference.

Below are the actions to take after an accident in Kansas:

Immediate Actions

After the accident, the safety of you and others involved is paramount. If anyone needs medical assistance, call 911 immediately.

If you can’t move your car or it is not safe to drive, use your hazard lights or flares to alert other drivers of the situation. Never admit fault, even if you think the accident was your fault.

Doing so could be used against you later. Instead, take pictures of the accident scene and any visible injuries.

Also, try to get contact information from any eyewitnesses who saw what happened. You should also call the police as soon as possible to report the incident.

The police will fill out an accident report form that you will need when making an insurance claim.

Phantom Vehicle Compensation

Sometimes, a driver is involved in an accident, and the other party leaves the accident scene. This situation is known as a “phantom vehicle accident,” and it can be challenging to identify the driver who caused the accident.

Under Kansas law, if the hit and run driver can’t be identified, the victim can recover compensation for their damages by proving that the phantom driver was at least 51% at fault for the accident. This is known as comparative negligence.

Option to File a Suit

If the insurance company offers you a payout that doesn’t cover all of your damages, you have the option to file a lawsuit. However, before making the decision, you should consider the legal cost of filing a lawsuit.

Consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your options and what to expect if you decide to go to court.

Striking a Parked Vehicle

If you happen to hit a parked car, stop and assess the damage. If the owner is around, exchange your contact information, and report the incident to your insurance company.

If the owner is not around, leave a note with your information and an explanation of the incident. In cases where the damage is minor, it may be tempting to ignore the episode and avoid the insurance claim.

However, Kansas law requires that all drivers report accidents that involve personal injuries, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000.


A hit and run accident can have severe legal consequences, ranging from minor fines to years behind bars. As a responsible driver, always find the appropriate way to handle any accident you may be involved in.

If you ever find yourself in a hit and run accident, report to the authorities immediately and cooperate during the investigation. Remember, the right actions you take after the incident can make a world of difference when seeking compensation.

In conclusion, understanding Kansas hit and run laws and knowing the necessary actions to take after an accident are crucial for every driver. Hit and run offenses can result in felony charges, heavy fines, and even imprisonment, depending on the severity of the incident.

When involved in an accident, it is essential to stay at the scene, provide necessary information, and render aid if needed. Remember to take immediate actions such as documenting the accident and contacting the police.

Phantom vehicle accidents and the option to file a lawsuit for fair compensation are also important considerations. By following these guidelines and fulfilling our legal responsibilities, we can contribute to safer roads and protect our rights in case of any unfortunate incidents.

Stay vigilant, be informed, and drive responsibly.

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