What if I’m in a car accident and the other driver isn’t insured?
Getting into an accident with an uninsured driver brings up a large number of questions: what do I do? What can I do? Who will pay for my injuries, and how can I get them to pay? It is no secret that being hit by an uninsured driver is completely unfair. Not only are you suffering injuries and property damage through no fault of your own, but you now have concerns about how those damages will be paid for.
If you’ve been in an accident caused by an uninsured driver, you need an attorney on your case. For a knowledgable, skilled attorney who understands both your legal needs and your needs as an individual who has recently been through an upsetting and traumatic experience, talk to the car accident lawyers at Combs Law Group. Call (314) 900-HELP to speak to us with no obligation today.
Missouri Laws on Insurance
In Missouri, all motorists are required by law to have insurance on their vehicle. At the least, state law requires them to have a certain amount of liability insurance. This type of insurance is used to pay the other party when the policyholder is at fault in an accident. The liability insurance must cover at least the minimum amounts Missouri requires for injuries and damages–currently $25,000 for a single person’s injuries, $50,000 for the sum total of personal injuries in an accident, and $25,000 for property damages.
Unfortunately, not everyone follows this law, and there are drivers on our roads who do not pay for any kind of car insurance. In fact, it is estimated that around 14 percent of drivers in Missouri are driving without the required insurance. If you do get hit by a driver who does not have insurance, what do you do?
St Louis Claims Involving Uninsured Drivers
Each state in the US has either an at-fault (also referred to as tort) or no-fault law regarding vehicular accidents and insurance coverage. Some states follow a no-fault rule where if you are in an accident, you generally use your own insurance to cover the damages, regardless of who caused the accident. Missouri, on the other hand, is a comparative fault state. This is a type of at-fault rule where each driver pays the percent of which they were responsible for the accident, and receives compensation proportional to the percent of the accident for which they were not at-fault. In a simple accident where one driver is totally responsible, and the other driver had no fault, the at-fault driver is responsible for 100% of the other driver’s damages. The person they hit would receive that 100%. However, if it was determined that both drivers were in some way responsible (say, 70%/30%), one driver would receive 70% of the damages they would usually be entitled to get, while the other 30% of the agreed pie would go to the other party.
These laws are relevant in uninsured driver accidents, becuase it affects the type of coverage and the way your insurance company will cover accidents involving a driver who doesn’t have any insurance coverage.
You do have the right to sue the at-fault driver for damages. However, the laws on this can get complicated. Also, if your priority is to get the financial coverage you are owed because of the damage the accident caused, this won’t always make you whole following an accident. People have different reasons for what they decide to do or not do, but most drivers who do not have any insurance on their vehicle don’t have insurance because they can’t afford to pay it or don’t want to pay for it. If they won’t pay a regular insurance premium, it may be difficult to get them to pay for all the damages you’ve suffered.
In most cases, your best solution is to pursue compensation from your own insurance policy. The common reaction to this idea is: “That’s not fair. I didn’t cause the accident, so my insurance company should not have to pay,” or “Will that make my insurance rates go up? I can’t afford to pay more!” These are valid concerns, but are misguided, because what you may not know is that you have been paying for coverage in the event you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist for years.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage is also required by law in Missouri. This is insurance that is included in your regular car insurance plan that is meant to replace what the other driver’s liability insurance would have covered, had they been insured. Uninsured motorist coverage, then, has the same minimum rules as liability insurance in Missouri. Missouri law requires that both liability and uninsured motorist coverage will pay up to at least $25,000 per person for injuries.
You can and should use this uninsured motorist coverage when you’re in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance. It is covered by your regular insurance payments, and the purpose of paying those monthly or biannual premiums to your insurance company is to have access to the sum of money necessary to receive medical treatment, pursue recovery, and repair or replace your damaged vehicle in the event of an accident like this. Your rate should not go up because you make a claim for an accident for which you are not responsible.
You will need a car accident lawyer to get the most out of your situation. Insurance companies can–and often do–deny or delay claims, and a lawyer who has experience in car accidents and in dealing with insurance companies and policies can make sure you get the financial compensation you need to cover your injuries and property damage without being penalized.
In serious accidents, the amount of uninsured motorist coverage available to you will not come anywhere near the true value of your case, even if you have a higher limit to your uninsured motorist coverage. If this is the case, your lawyer can help you pursue additional compensation from other sources. You may be able to stack your insurance coverage or pursue the at-fault driver for additional compensation.
Get Help With Your St Louis Uninsured Motorist Accident
To get the best outcome from your accident with a driver without insurance, you need a lawyer who can navigate your case and has your best interests at heart. You can receive and deserve to receive compensation for the damages the uninsured driver has caused you. You should not have to pay for your injuries yourself. Contact Combs Law Group online or call us at (314) 900-HELP to begin your journey to physical and financial recovery today.