Imagine you are sitting at a stoplight, minding your own business when another driver hits you from behind, giving you whiplash. You realize you’ve been in an accident. It wasn’t your fault, but you were injured and your vehicle sustained heavy damage. If you are like most Kansas City drivers, at this point you are probably expecting the at-fault driver’s insurance to pick up the tab. But what happens if you get out of your vehicle to exchange insurance information and the other driver doesn’t have any?
Missouri Insurance Laws
According to Missouri laws, all motorists are required to have some kind of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. Drivers and vehicle owners are required to show proof of insurance at time of registration and when renewing plates. The minimum insurance requirements for Missouri and nonresident drivers are as follows:
- $25,000/person for bodily injury;
- $50,000/accident for bodily injury; and
- $10,000/accident for property.
No matter what the law states, however, thousands of Missouri drivers will be involved in car accidents with uninsured motorists. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact the Missouri Department of Revenue, which is responsible for enforcing mandatory liability laws.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
In Missouri, the law also requires drivers to buy uninsured motorist coverage with a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury. A driver can only purchase uninsured motorist coverage equivalent to their own liability insurance. Insurance companies are required to offer uninsured motorist coverage and also have the option of additional underinsured coverage. This means when a Kansas City driver sustains injuries in an accident with an uninsured driver, they can seek compensation through their own insurance policy by filing a claim with their insurance company.
Typically, filing a claim with your own insurance company is the best option for receiving compensation for accidents with uninsured drivers. This type of insurance is also what would protect you in the event of a hit-and-run accident. Unfortunately, uninsured motorist coverage only covers bodily injury and cannot be applied to any vehicle damages.
Filing a Lawsuit
Another option for recovering damages is to file a lawsuit against the uninsured motorist. There are no special barriers to filing a lawsuit. However, this option is generally not a very successful one; even if the plaintiff wins, they may have considerable trouble collecting the settlement amount. An uninsured driver would have to pay all expenses out of pocket and they are quite unlikely to have the means to do so if they were unable to pay for the insurance itself.
Been in a Car Accident? Contact an Attorney.
Car insurance is there to protect you when you’ve had an accident, but you can’t always count on a settlement working out. Kansas City drivers who have sustained injuries through a car accident should speak with a qualified car accident attorney. For a free consultation with an attorney regarding the specifics of your case, contact Krause and Kinsman Law Firm. With years of experience, our Kansas City auto accident lawyers will fight to make sure you get the maximum compensation available.
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.