A car accident can result in thousands of dollars of direct economic costs, even if no one suffers any injuries. The National Safety Council estimates the economic expenses associated with a property damage-only crash to be approximately $6,700.
The costs of a crash resulting in disabling injuries can be as high as $155,000, not including pain and suffering and future expenses.
Recognizing that even minor car accidents can result in large bills, Missouri and every other state require drivers to have liability insurance to help cover the costs. However, not all drivers take this requirement seriously.
It is estimated that over 337,000 drivers in Missouri did not have auto insurance in 2019. When you or a loved one are struck by one of these drivers, knowing what happens next can be a mystery.
How Car Insurance Works in Missouri
States are considered either “at-fault” or “no-fault” states when it comes to car accidents and how insurance works. Missouri is an at-fault state, which means that the driver who is responsible for causing an accident is financially responsible for the injuries and damage they cause. The at-fault driver’s insurance usually pays for these claims.
If someone does not have insurance, or if their insurance is not enough to cover all the damage they cause, the driver can be personally sued. A successful lawsuit means that you have a judgment against the at-fault driver and can proceed to collect that judgment from any qualifying assets they might have.
Missouri Requires Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Missouri is among a minority of states requiring uninsured motorist coverage in addition to liability coverage. This sort of policy comes into play when the driver who causes your accident does not have insurance. You can file a claim for compensation against your uninsured motorist policy, which will then pay you benefits according to its terms.
You should remember that filing a claim against your uninsured motorist policy can still cause your insurance carrier to raise your rates regardless of whether you were at fault. This can impact your decision of whether to file a claim following an uninsured motorist crash.
Uninsured Motorists Are Still Financially Responsible for Damages
Just because Missouri requires you to carry uninsured motorist coverage does not mean that an uninsured driver is not responsible for the harm they cause you. You are still legally entitled to file a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist and seek damages directly from them.
You and your insurance carrier could also seek reimbursement from an uninsured motorist if you filed a claim against your policy.
Get Personalized Guidance From a Missouri Car Accident Lawyer
Following a collision with an uninsured motorist, the best course of action is to review your options with a Missouri car crash attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you understand the potential consequences of your options and help you choose a path forward that can provide you with the compensation you need.