Most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of collision insurance before getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, not every driver obeys the law. Some don’t have insurance, making it difficult for people involved in accidents with these drivers to know how to obtain compensation for their personal and property damages. Luckily, there are a few courses of action available to drivers who get in collisions with the uninsured.
What Should I Do If I’m In An Accident With An Uninsured Motorist?
Nine percent and 13 percent of drivers, in Kansas and Missouri respectively, are uninsured. The coverage rates have been improving over the last five years. So while the chances of being in an accident with one are rare, it’s important to know what to do should you find yourself in this situation.
What you should do immediately after the accident – documenting the scene, talking with witnesses, assessing the damage – is the same. If the driver actually sticks around, take down whatever information they may have. In Missouri, you’ll have to contact the Driver’s License Bureau, and they will investigate whether to enforce mandatory liability. You will more than likely have to file a police report, but if you have proper insurance you will be covered for your injuries.
In 2013, Missouri passed a law which limited an uninsured motorist’s ability to sue for noneconomic damages to try and encourage drivers to purchase insurance. Unless the insured driver was under the influence, the uninsured wouldn’t be able to recoup these losses even if it was the insured’s fault. Uninsured motorist protection at $25,000/$50,000 is required in Kansas and Missouri, but it only protects for bodily injury, not property damage. It’s common for an uninsured motorist to commit a hit-and-run, so uninsured motorist protection ensures that you can be compensated even if the other driver has no ability to pay or flees the scene.
Protect Yourself With Coverage
After an accident may be too late to use this course of action, but if an accident hasn’t occurred yet, consider updating your own coverage. Just as defensive driving techniques protect you from the bad driving of others, uninsured motorist coverage protects you from motorists who don’t have insurance. Many states require motorists to carry insurance with minimum coverage for uninsured drivers, typically somewhere around $20,000. Check to see if your policy includes this coverage, and purchase additional coverage if necessary.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your vehicle even if an uninsured driver hits you. Many drivers mistakenly believe an uninsured driver will never hit them, especially since only one state (New Hampshire) currently doesn’t make coverage mandatory. However, many drivers shirk this responsibility, driving without insurance to save money. Just as you believe an uninsured driver will never hit you, uninsured drivers believe they’ll never cause an accident. Yet insurance claims involving uninsured drivers happen all the time.
File an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Missouri
As soon as you’re involved in an accident, notify the local police to file an official report. Don’t admit fault or imply that you were to the blame for the accident. Obtaining an official police report will help your case in the future if you have to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. Collect the other driver’s information, including his or her driver’s license number, license plate number, and contact information. If the driver refuses to give you his or her insurance information, treat it the same way you would an uninsured motorist claim.
Once you discover or have reason to believe the driver who hit you does not carry car insurance, notify your insurer that you want to file an uninsured claim against the accident. Don’t delay, as some car insurance policies have strict deadlines for when you must notify the carrier of uninsured claims. In most ways, an uninsured motorist claim works the same way as other claims – except this claim is against your own insurer instead of the other driver’s. Call your company, explain your situation, and then follow their directions.
File a Missouri Personal Injury Claim
If you don’t have uninsured motorist insurance on your policy, contact a Kansas City car accident lawyer. If the other driver was at fault, an attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit to recover financial losses regardless of whether the driver has insurance or not. Bringing a civil suit against the other driver involves proving his or her negligence, which can be easy with help from an experienced accident lawyer. Contact an attorney and we will interview eyewitnesses, collect photos and video footage of the accident, obtain medical information about your injuries, and explain to a jury how the accident happened.
Filing a civil suit can result in you receiving compensation for your medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A claim is often the only way to receive the compensation your damages deserves. No matter which route you take after a collision with an uninsured motorist, do your community a favor and report the driver to the Department of Motor Vehicles. Missouri and Kansas make car insurance mandatory, and you can help prevent someone else from getting in an accident with the same negligent driver.