If you are in a car accident in Kansas City, Missouri, and you are wondering if you have to report the accident, here are some guidelines as to when you are required to do so and when you don’t have to:
First, the law in Missouri requires reporting most car accidents. Situations, when a car accident MUST be reported, include:
- an accident which has resulted in an injury, a fatality or property damage in excess of $500.
- an accident with an uninsured driver, whether it’s on a highway, a street, a parking lot etc.
- any owner of a parked car who gets involved in an accident which results in an injury or fatality or property damage exceeding $500.
The accident can be reported to the Missouri Department of Revenue by filing an official car accident report.
Drivers are required to report the accident within 30 days. This time is allowed in case the driver is incapable of filing a report at the time of the accident. It is generally recommended that you do report an accident as soon as you are physically capable of doing so. You may have to justify the delay in reporting by including a doctor’s certification attesting to the fact that you were physically incapable of reporting the accident sooner.
In case no police officer arrives at the scene of the accident and if the parties involved in the accident were not in a position to take the driver’s information, the driver should report the accident by visiting the nearest police station or a judicial office. This is imperative in cases where there have been injuries or property damage.
Generally speaking, the Missouri Department of Revenue expects you to report an accident if the accident happened in Missouri, if it happened within the last 12 months and if someone involved in the accident did not have insurance. This is important because if the driver is uninsured and is found to be at fault, he will be held liable not only for negligent driving but also for driving without insurance. In Missouri, the uninsured driver will be held responsible based on the percentage of his fault.
Some drivers feel that by not reporting a car accident, they will be able to avoid any increase in insurance premiums. This is especially an area of concern for drivers who know they are at fault, partly or otherwise. However, this train of thought can lead to future problems for the driver.
Do I Need to Report a Minor Fender Bender Accident?
First, even if it is just a fender bender, it is in your interest to just report it. The law may not require you to involve the police or file an official accident report if there are no major injuries or damages but you should definitely report such accidents to your insurance company, even if you feel that they are minor. You may think that there isn’t much damage or that you don’t need the insurance company to pay you for the damages because you think they will be minimal anyway. However, you are not an auto mechanic and you may not even realize but that accident that you thought was “minor” and one where both you and the other driver just decided to keep it between yourself may have caused some internal damage to your car. You may end up paying much more than you initially expected.
What can happen in such cases? You could either end up paying too much; end up not getting the car repaired at all because you can’t afford it; or file a claim with your insurance company at a later stage only to be questioned incessantly about your failure to report the accident on time and in some cases, how that has negatively affected the amount of damages that you can claim and so on. This entire scenario highlights the fact that when in a car accident, your best strategy is to follow the rules and simply report it to avoid further hassles.
Why Should I Report My Car Accident in Kansas City?
A very big advantage of reporting a car accident in Kansas City, MO is that the accident will be officially recorded. In case you have suffered injuries and/or property damage and in case you file a claim, the law will be on your side because the accident has been reported. Since Kansas City will follow the at-fault system, this will help your case when your part in the accident is being determined. If there are injuries and if it turns out that you neglected to report the accident, this could hurt your chances of getting compensation. Also, reporting an accident also gives you the opportunity to establish who was at fault and to what extent. This can be extremely beneficial if you were not at fault since you will have the police report of the accident and you will also have the evaluation of the officers on the scene. Your chances of being reimbursed for any costs that you may have incurred are likely to go up if you follow the proper reporting protocol.
Keep in mind that insurance companies are not always on your side. They are always looking for ways to minimize their payout. If you don’t report an accident and the other driver reports it, your insurance company is bound to find out. This can create problems for you as well as result in a possible increase in premiums. Therefore, even if the accident is minor and even if you are not required to report it by law to the authorities; do report the accident to your insurance company.
Meet with a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Today
At Krause & Kinsman, we have a team of attorneys who are well-versed with the laws governing car accidents in Missouri. Our legal team can guide you in terms of what to report, how to report, when to file a claim, how much to claim, the impact of your role in the accident on your case, how to deal with the other driver’ insurance company etc. Call us today at 1-816-200-2900 for any advice, query or concern. Our associates are always available to help you in your time of need.
Robert Kinsman 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. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.