Kansas Supreme Court strikes down cap in injury cases

June 14, 2019 - 3:57 pm
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The Kansas Supreme Court has struck down the state's statutory cap on noneconomic damages in personal injury cases.

The high court ruled Friday that capping damages that an injured person is allowed to receive in a lawsuit violates the right to trial by jury set out in the Kansas Constitution's Bill of Rights.

Its decision comes in a case filed by Diana Hilburn, who was injured in a 2010 accident when a semi-truck rear-ended the car she was riding. A jury awarded Hilburn $33,490.86 for medical expenses and $301,509.14 for noneconomic losses.

She appealed when the jury's noneconomic damages were capped at the time at $250,000.

The court found the limitation intrudes upon the jury's determination of the compensation owed her to redress her injury.

Speaker of the Kansas House Ron Ryckman (R-Olathe) issued the following statement in response to the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling on Hilburn v Enerpipe Ltd.:

"Though the effects of the Hilburn opinion are not immediately ascertainable, one thing is certain. The Court went against three decades of a balanced legal climate that protected Kansans’ access to health care and a positive business climate. The Hilburn case will increase the cost of liability coverage for physicians and businesses and the cost will be borne by Kansas patients and taxpayers."

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