Can I Sue My Insurance Company for Pain and Suffering?

If you’ve suffered injury after a motor vehicle accident in Missouri, an experienced Kansas City car accident lawyer can help you determine who should pay for your damages. In the event of an injury-causing car accident, it can often be unclear who is responsible for pain and suffering, but at Dickerson Oxton, LLC, we can help. We believe that no one should have to pay for the suffering caused by a negligent party. We will pursue your case and work to get you fair compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and other losses.

For example, a person is in a car accident and suffers an injury. Perhaps he or she must go to a hospital and miss time from work. Is the injured party’s auto insurance company responsible for the recovery of money for his or her pain and suffering? The answer depends on many factors. When people sign an auto insurance policy, they are signing a contract with an insurance company. This is a legal contract that varies significantly from driver to driver.

Some standard auto insurance policies cover some of the costs incurred because of a car accident, including the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Towing fees
  • Vehicle damage

A person may not, however, sue his or her insurer for pain and suffering. The reason is that the auto insurance company itself did not cause the accident, the driver did.

insurance companies and pain and suffering

Can I Sue the At-Fault Driver?

When another driver causes injuries to a person, the driver is legally responsible for his or her actions, meaning he or she is at fault. This instance usually includes people driving carelessly, for instance:

  • Driving while texting
  • Driving while under the influence (DUI)
  • Speeding
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Driving aggressively

The at-fault driver is responsible for causing any injury, meaning his or her insurer is responsible for the recovery of damages in pain and suffering.

What If the At-Fault Driver Is Uninsured?

While it is illegal to drive uninsured in the United States, people without proper or even any insurance coverage are on the streets every day. This means people are involved in car accidents with uninsured drivers every day. When a person without car insurance causes an accident, injured parties can often file claims with their own individual insurers. The policy of the insured must include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, however.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage typically covers the following claims:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Vehicle damage
  • Pain and suffering (up to a limit)

Those injured in car accidents should reference their individual auto insurance policies; if your policy doesn’t include adequate uninsured driver coverage, consider adding clauses to protect yourself.

What If the Driver Was Not Actually at Fault?

In some cases, the driver who initially caused an accident was not legally “at fault.” That statement may seem confusing, but insurance policies are legal documents. Insurers will recognize when a driver was not necessarily responsible for causing injury or damage.

Take, for instance, a driver who falls unconscious at the wheel. His passenger suffers a major injury and needs surgery. The driver’s insurance may not have to pay the passenger’s medical bills, because unconsciousness is a valid defense to the claim.

It is important to remember, however, that filing a pain and suffering claim with any auto insurer is often a complex legal process. Those people looking to file claims or sue their insurers should talk to a qualified Kansas City personal injury attorney.

Contact a Kansas City Car Accident Lawyer

If you are interested in discussing the specifics of your car accident with an experienced personal injury attorney, we are here to help. Our attorneys offer free initial consultations and can be contacted at (816) 268-1960 or via our online form.