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Kansas Medical Malpractice Law - An Overview

Important Notice: The following overview of Kansas medical malpractice laws is presented on an as-is basis. This information is believed accurate as of the date of authorship, but is not intended to provide a complete analysis analysis of medical malpractice law and may not reflect subsequent changes in the law. For a full review of Kansas's statute of limitations, or for a determination of how the law applies to a specific incident or injury, please consult a malpractice lawyer licensed to practice in the state of Kansas.


What Is Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice, sometimes referred to as medical negligence, occurs when a health care provider violates the governing standard of care when providing treatment to a patient, causing the patient to suffer an injury. Medical malpractice can result from an action taken by the medical practitioner, or by the failure to take a medically appropriate action. Examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Misdiagnosis of, or failure to diagnose , a disease or medical condition;
  • Failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition;
  • Unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition;

Medical malpractice actions can be brought by the injured patient against any responsible licensed health care provider, including doctors, counselors, psychologists and psychotherapists.

Limits on Malpractice Damages

Kansas caps awards of noneconomic damages at $250,000.00. Punitive damages are limited based upon a defendant's past income, and are capped at $5 million.

Collateral Source Rule

Under a traditional collateral source rule, a defendant may not seek to reduce its liability by introducing evidence that the plaintiff has received compensation from other sources, such as the plaintiff's own insurance coverage. For medical malpractice cases in Kansas, payment from collateral sources is admissible where the plaintiff seeks damages of $150,000.00 or more.

Rules for Expert Witnesses

At least 50% of a medical expert's time over the preceding two years must have been devoted to clinical practice.

Joint and Several Liability

Under the rule of joint and several liability, where more than one defendant is found liable for the injury suffered by a plaintiff, each defendant is individually liable for the entire amount of the judgment, such that if one defendant is unable to pay the other defendant or defendants are liable for the entire amount of the judgment.

Statute of Limitations

Medical malpractice actions must be commenced within 2 years from the reasonable date of discovery, to a maximum of four years from the date of the wrongful act or omission. Under Kansas law, a minor may commence an action within one year of his or her eighteenth birthday, but not more than eight years after the date of the act underlying the malpractice claim.

Limits on Attorney Fees

Attorney fees must be approved by the court.

Additional Rules

There is voluntary submission of malpractice claims to a screening panel upon the request of either party. The findings of the screening panel are admissible at trial.

The Health Care Stabilization Fund pays out claims over $200,000.00, with a maximum payment of $300,000.00 per year.

Why Use A Malpractice Lawyer

Medical malpractice law is a highly technical field of law, and malpractice lawsuits tend to be fiercely defended by well-funded defense firms.

Medical malpractice lawsuits can be exceptionally expensive to pursue, with costs often exceeding $100,000.00. Due to the technical skills involved in prosecuting a malpractice claim, the possibility that an inexperienced lawyer may not be sufficiently conversant with the medical issues, or might make a technical error which causes a case to be lost or dismissed, and the very high costs the malpractice law firm typically must advance, an injured patient is very well served by going with a specialist firm.

Even within the specialized practice of medical malpractice law, you will find that some lawyers have subspecialties of practice, for example focusing on surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or birth trauma cases.