If you’ve ever gotten into a car accident in Missouri, you likely wondered what your rights were in filing a claim. A few of the most common questions include:
- How does auto insurance work in Missouri?
- Does Missouri operate using a no-fault standard or a fault standard?
- What are the minimum car insurance requirements?
Knowing how car insurance laws in Missouri work is key to filing a successful personal injury lawsuit or claim in the event of a car accident. For further help understanding these issues, discuss your case with one of our car accident attorneys in Kansas City.
Missouri Car Accident Fault Laws
Missouri is an at-fault state for insurance. This means that injured drivers can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or their own. In addition, the driver responsible for the accident is liable for any financial harm, which the insurance company usually pays for, up to policy limits.
Unlike no-fault insurance states, Missouri residents injured in car accidents have a wide range of options available for reporting the accident and receiving compensation to cover any physical, financial, and emotional losses. If you have suffered injury and damage from a car accident in Missouri, you can:
- File a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver
- File a claim with your own insurance company, provided that policy limits can cover the extent of the damage
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, up to policy limits
Under a no-fault standard, drivers in other states do not have this range of options available to them. Typically, drivers in no-fault states must have personal injury protection with their insurance company that covers damages from accidents, such as medical bills. These drivers can only receive funds up to their policy limits. If they want to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, these drivers will need to prove their injuries are serious. Luckily, Missouri residents do not have to worry about these regulations.
No Pay, No Play in Missouri
Missouri House Bill 339 is also known as the “No Pay, No Play” law. In 2013, the Missouri State Senate voted to pass the bill, which states that an uninsured driver waives his or her right to collect non-economic loss as a result of a car accident. This means that drivers without insurance can only collect damages for medical expenses from the at-fault driver.
There are two exceptions to this law:
- If a drunk driver caused the accident
- If your previous insurer canceled your auto insurance without at least six months’ notice
Critics have denounced this law for punishing drivers who can’t afford auto insurance. Missouri does not currently offer a low-income car insurance option. In the event of an accident, if you are uninsured, you cannot collect damages for:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damages
Filing a Lawsuit for Car Accident Injuries in Missouri
Your option for collecting damages outside of the car insurance system is to file a personal injury lawsuit. With these lawsuits, your attorney will collect as much evidence as possible to build a compelling case and argue for a settlement. You can recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Property damage
Missouri operates under a pure comparative fault standard. This means that the jury will determine how liable you are for the accident and, as long as you aren’t completely at fault, you can receive compensation. However, if the jury finds you partially liable, the courts will deduct your percentage of liability from the final settlement amount.
For example, if your final settlement is $10,000 and the jury finds you to be 20% responsible for the accident, you will only receive $8,000. The other $2,000 will stay with the at-fault driver.