In every state throughout the country, auto insurance plays a large role in any car accident. In no-fault auto insurance states, injured individuals must file a claim with their own insurance company to recover benefits, regardless of which party was at fault for the crash. So is Missouri a no-fault state? And what does that mean?
No-fault insurance does provide the benefit of receiving coverage soon after a crash, but there are downsides, as well. For example, you cannot recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering through a no-fault claim. Fortunately, Missouri is not a no-fault state and so, after an accident you can claim the maximum damages you deserve for all of your losses.
Contact Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC today to help with your case in Missouri and Illinois.
Missouri Follows Tort Law After a Crash
Car accidents in Missouri are governed by tort law, meaning that the person at fault for the crash is liable for paying damages. To recover this monetary compensation, accident victims can file a claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. If successful with a claim, you can recover damages such as medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
After an accident, you can claim damages up to the insurance policy limits. If you exceed these limits, you can then file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the careless driver instead of their insurance company. In a no-fault system, drivers must have exceeded the serious injury threshold before this option becomes available.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Missouri
Under Missouri law, all drivers in the state are required to carry both liability coverage and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. All drivers must also carry a minimum amount of each type of insurance. It is best to check with your insurance agent as to the minimum amount of insurance required or contact us directly at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC at (618) 726-2222.
Liability coverage will provide compensation for the property damage, medical costs, and other losses sustained by the injured individual, whether they are another driver, passenger, or a pedestrian. It is possible to purchase more than the minimum requirements, which could shield you from personal liability if you are ever found at fault for an accident. Your liability insurance will provide coverage if a relative is driving your family member, or you have given permission for another person to use it. Your own liability coverage will also apply any time you rent a vehicle.
It is important to know that liability coverage will not cover your own injuries or damage to your vehicle after a crash. If you are involved in an accident and no other party involved has coverage for your losses, you may need additional coverage. For example, if you purchase collision coverage, you can file a claim with your own auto insurer to receive compensation that will cover it.
In Missouri, you must also purchase uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in the event you are injured by a driver that does not carry insurance. Note that UM coverage will not provide any compensation for property damage sustained during a crash. Again, it is best to check with your insurance agent as to the minimum amount of insurance required or contact us directly at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC at (618) 726-2222.
Penalties for Failure to Prove Insurance
Auto insurance is meant to protect all motorists when they are out on the road and when drivers fail to purchase and provide it at the scene of the crash, they can face very serious penalties. Since the law for penalties can change, it is best to contact us directly at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC at (618) 726-2222.
Time Limit when Filing an Auto Insurance Claim
Although you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, you only have a limited amount of time to do it. Fortunately, in Missouri, you have more time than most when filing a claim. In most cases, you have five years from the date of the accident to file a claim. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations and if you file a claim after it expires, you will forfeit your claim to recover any damages at all.
Contacting the Insurance Company After an Accident
After an accident, the insurance company that covers the negligent party may contact you. They may even do this while you are still in the hospital receiving initial treatment for your injuries. The insurance adjuster will act as though they are your friend and may even tell you that they will take care of you and pay full damages for your injuries. Unfortunately, none of this is true.
Insurance companies prioritize their own profits over the safety and well-being of accident victims and they want to pay out as little damages as possible. As the adjuster talks to you, they are actually trying to find things they can use against you, such as a statement from you apologizing for the accident. While you may have simply been stating you were sorry the crash happened at all, the insurer will take your words out of context and use them as an admission of guilt.
Before speaking to any insurance company after an accident, even your own, you should contact us directly at Jerome, Salmi & Kopis, LLC at (618) 726-2222. We know the strategies insurers use to reduce claims and will ensure they are not used against you. We will also negotiate with the insurer on your behalf, so you recover the full damages you deserve.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Missouri and Illinois Today
If you have been involved in a car accident and now need to file a claim, call our car accident lawyer in Illinois and Missouri first. At the Law Office of Jerome Salmi Kopis, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to helping car accident victims and we want to put our experience to work for you. Call us today at (618) 726-2222 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.