Car accidents happen. Dealing with it afterwards can be a very stressful and unsure time. If injuries are involved, then your first priority is to get better. In the meantime, though, you could be off work and potentially losing pay while the medical bills accrue. There are so many different things that could happen to you financially, medically, emotionally after a motor vehicle accident. Of course, the greater the damager the greater the financial, medic and emotional burden. Fortunately for the financial part of it, Missouri law requires every driver to carry automobile insurance, but that doesn’t mean every Missouri driver does carry it. Then, if they do, they may not carry enough to cover you. And what if you’re the uninsured at-fault motorist with all the injuries, who’s to pay anything at all? If you’re in a car accident in Kansas City, Missouri, and an uninsured motorist is involved, you still have rights and options to be compensated for your damages if the other driver is the negligent driver.
How much auto insurance am I required to have in Kansas City?
In Missouri, all registered drivers must carry automobile insurance. You are required to carry at a minimum:
- $25,000 per person in liability insurance;
- $50,000 per incident insurance; and
- $10,000 property damage.
These required amounts only cover the property damage and personal injuries suffered by others due to your fault causing an accident. You must purchase additional insurance coverage for yourself and/or your familial passengers (who are related to you as immediate family members are covered by your insurance, too). Proof of insurance is required to be kept in the insured vehicle at all times.
What happens if I don’t have insurance and get in a vehicle collision in Kansas City, MO?
The Department of Revenue keeps tracks of all registered drivers to make sure that drivers maintain liability insurance policies. If it is found that your coverage has lapsed or you failed to show proof of insurance to law enforcement upon request, you could be subject to the following:
- You will be convicted of “failing to show proof of insurance” and the court will send it to the Department of Revenue. The conviction will go on your driver’s driving record and 4 points will be assessed and also go on your driving record.
Note: 8 points within an 18-month period could mean loss of your driving privilege.
- An order of supervision may be entered by the court. If this happens, the order is sent to the Department of Revenue and you will be monitored specifically to make sure you maintain automobile insurance.
- An order suspending your driving privilege may also be entered. This order is also sent to the Department of Revenue at which time your driving privilege is suspended. Periods of suspension & fees to reinstate driving privilege depend on the frequency of your suspension:
- First suspension 0 days/$20 reinstatement fee
- Second suspension 90 days/$200 reinstatement fee
- Third & subsequent suspension 1 year/$400 reinstatement fee
Also, in order to reinstate your driving privilege, you will have to show and maintain auto insurance coverage.
What if I was in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?
It is always a good idea to cover additional auto insurance that protects you and your family, specifically uninsured and underinsured insurance. If the at-fault driver is uninsured or does not have enough insurance that covers all of your damages, you can file a claim with your own insurance to recover damages.
If you do not have additional car insurance coverage, then you will have to file a lawsuit.
Who can be sued for a car accident that happens in Missouri?
Anyone party who is at-fault for the car accident can be sued in Kansas City, Missouri for causing a motor vehicle accident, and this may not necessarily mean just the at-fault driver. All parties who can be sued include any responsible party, for example:
- At-fault driver. If the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, he can be sued directly.
- Insurance company. If the at-fault driver has insurance, the insurance company can be sued if it doesn’t offer a satisfactory settlement.
- Employers of drivers. If the at-fault driver was driving while working (e.g., a carrier), then the employer can be sued;
- Car manufacturers. If the car accident was caused by a car defect, then the manufacturer can be sued.
Can I stack my insurance coverage to pay for all my damages?
Yes, in some cases you can indeed “stack” your uninsured auto insurance coverage under all applicable policies at the time of the accident. The law has been well-established in Missouri. In Tresner v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company (1997), stacking was defined as an “insured’s ability to obtain multiple insurance coverage benefits for an injury either from more than one policy, as where the insured has two or more separate vehicles under separate policies, or from multiple coverage’s provided for within a single policy, as when an insured has one policy which covers more than one vehicle”. In Bernardo v. Northland Insurance Company (1995), an earlier case was interpreted to mean that it is unlawful to restrict or limit uninsured motorist coverage to a particular car in Missouri.
Missouri’s financial responsibility law codified the stacking rule, and as a result, any policy provision that attempts to limit or deny stacking of uninsured motorist policies is unenforceable.
As an example of stacking, consider if you carried uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000.00 on your sport car, and an additional uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000.00 on the family van under a separate policy. If you are in a car accident, regardless of which vehicle was in the accident, you would have $50,000 of uninsured motorist coverage that you could apply to your claim.
Contact Krause & Kinsman Today
If you have been injured by an uninsured motorist in Kansas City, MO, you should contact an attorney today to discuss your options. Determining liability in these kinds of auto collisions is very complicated and may require extensive investigations. At Krause & Kinsman, our skilled car accident lawyer in Kansas City, MO know how to fully investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident. We know how to identify all responsible parties. We act aggressively so that you will receive the compensation you rightfully deserve according to Missouri law.
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.