What many people do not understand is that when they get injured by another driver, that driver will not directly pay for their damages—that driver’s insurance company does. For one, most individuals do not have anywhere near enough personal funds to pay for another’s medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages, especially when the injuries are catastrophic in nature.
Secondly, it would be difficult to acquire the negligent party’s assets in a timely, or useful, fashion, and would leave them without a home or anything in the bank. Instead of suing a person directly for their personal assets, when you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit, it is filed with the negligent driver’s insurance company, which is flush with cash and is designed solely for this purpose—to pay out a large amount to a few while collecting a small amount from many customers, in return for financial protection from lawsuits that could take away their homes.
What if The Negligent Party is Uninsured or Underinsured?
14 percent of Missouri motorists are estimated to be uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). An even larger percentage have inadequate insurance—the bare minimum to legally drive, but not enough to cover substantial damages. If you are hit by an uninsured driver, you can sue them directly for what little assets they have. Additionally, you can have the court place a lien on the defendant’s home (if they own any real property) and garnish their wages.
Because they did not have insurance, they likely do not make very much money, and probably do not own a home or a home of any large value. For underinsured motorists, you may be able to sue beyond the policy limit if you go to court. This is possible when an insurance company has the opportunity to settle for an amount within the policy limit, but they refuse out of bad faith. If you don’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage yourself, you can pursue these policies.
Other Avenues to Pursue
Because many states have raised their speed limits, more people are driving more miles, automobiles are getting bigger and heavier, more drivers are using cell phones behind the wheels, the cost of medical care is rising fast, and road infrastructure is deteriorating, the severity of collision claims is rising, according to the III. This means that insurers are making it harder and harder for injured victims to collect the full damages that they deserve. As such, victims and their attorneys are having to turn to other avenues to pursue when seeking compensation, such as:
- Umbrella policies;
- Seeking multiple negligent drivers; and
- Seeking out other liable parties, such as municipalities for poor road surfaces or auto manufacturers for faulty airbags.
Call a Kansas City, Missouri Auto Collision Attorney Today
As a victim of a serious car crash, your focus should be turned towards recovering from your physical, emotional, and psychological injuries, not on how to pay for your bills and dealing with an insurance company that is surely trying to stiff you. The Kansas City Car Accident lawyers of Krause & Kinsman can take on this responsibility for you. Call us today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free consultation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.