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Supreme Court release for January 21, 2020

21 Jan 2020 4:09 PM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decision today:

Appeal No. 117,149: Williams v. GEICO General Insurance Co.

Archived oral argument video

The Supreme Court upheld the statutory right to reimbursement under the Kansas Automobile Injury Reparations Act when a person provides personal care services to a spouse who was injured in a motor vehicle accident. The unanimous decision reversed a contrary decision by the Court of Appeals.

The Sedgwick County case was brought by Royce Williams, who was injured in an automobile collision. His physician determined he was disabled and unable to perform his regular duties at home and needed to have a caregiver provide such duties. Before the accident, Williams prepared his own meals, did his own laundry, drove himself, took care of his own hygiene needs, did his own shopping, and administered his own medication. He agreed with his wife, Mary, that she would provide those services for $25 per day. From December 18, 2015, through March 31, 2016, Mary spent up to five hours a day doing this. She kept detailed itemizations of her services. She indicated she often had to be absent from work during this time.

The parties conceded reimbursement would be required had the same services been provided by anyone else. Sedgwick County District Court ruled Williams was entitled to $2,625 for his wife's services. But the Court of Appeals held his insurance company did not have to pay because the wife's obligation to help her husband "was incurred as a result of the marital relationship itself."

In a decision written by Justice Dan Biles, the Supreme Court said the Court of Appeals was wrong because state law makes no such distinction. The district court's award was reinstated.

Kansas Court of Appeals decisions released today

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