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  • How to Take Action Against a Uninsured Driver

    How to Take Action Against a Uninsured Driver

    I was in a car accident with an uninsured driver, what should I do?

    Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. It becomes even more challenging when the other party does not have car insurance. However, if you’ve been injured or incurred significant damages in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may still have legal options to pursue compensation. We have created this guide to explore your options after you have been in an automobile accident with a driver that does not have insurance and the process of filing a lawsuit against them as well.

    Missouri’s car insurance laws overview

    Before getting into the specifics of what your options are and how to sue an uninsured driver, we want to give you a brief overview of Missouri’s auto insurance laws and important information:

    • Missouri Law requires anyone who owns a car, truck, or any other sort of automobile to have insurance
    • You are required to have proof of insurance must in your vehicle at all times
    • Missouri does not require licensed drivers to carry insurance if they do not own a vehicle
    • In Missouri, auto insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver

    Gathering evidence after a car accident with an uninsured driver

    If you are able to take some time gathering information after an accident with an uninsured driver, some of the things you can do include:

    Contacting the police after the accident

    After an accident, it is essential that you call 911 and seek medical attention for any injuries – no matter how minor the crash or the injuries. Having police on the scene to create a report and document the scene is a vital step in the process of receiving compensation after a car accident.

    In some cases, if you are severely injured or simply in shock, you may not be able to complete all of the following steps. This makes it even more vital to have a police officer present so they can document the scene and gather the appropriate information.

    Contact the authorities and file a police report. The report will provide an official record of the accident and may contain valuable details that can strengthen your case.

    Documenting the accident itself and the aftermath

    Take photographs of the accident scene, including the position of the vehicles, damage sustained, and any visible injuries. Obtain contact information from any witnesses present.

    Seek medical attention and collect medical records

    No matter how minor the injuries, you should always immediate medical attention for any injuries sustained in a car accident. Whether an ambulance tends to your injuries at the scene of the accident or you are taken to a hospital, getting medical attention is not only vital to your safety, but it will also help when filing a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist.

    During this process, you should retain all medical records, including doctor’s notes, diagnoses, treatment plans, and bills related to your injuries.

    Record costs for repairs and damages

    Keep records of all expenses incurred as a result of the accident, such as vehicle repair bills, towing fees, rental car costs, and medical expenses. These documents will be essential in assessing the damages caused by the uninsured driver.

    Report the uninsured driver to the Driver’s License Bureau

    Additionally, you can report the uninsured driver to the Missouri Department of Revenue Drivers License Bureau. The Missouri Department of Insurance states,

    The Missouri Department of Revenue enforces the financial responsibility (mandatory liability) laws in this state. They will investigate and, if necessary, enforce the statute. Also, if you were injured, you will want to report the loss under your uninsured motorist coverage with your company.

    You can reach the Missouri Department of Revenue Drivers License Bureau by phone at 573-751-7195

    Related: What is the average car accident settlement in Missouri?

    Contacting your car insurance provider to report the case

    After a car accident, you will need to notify your insurance company as soon as possible, even if the other driver is uninsured. Your insurance policy may include coverage for uninsured motorists, known as uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed to protect you in situations where the at-fault party does not have insurance.

    Your insurance company will guide you through the claims process and assess the extent of your damages. They may also initiate an investigation to determine liability and gather evidence. Remember to provide them with all the documentation you have collected, as it will support your claim for compensation.

    Uninsured motorist coverage in Missouri

    The State of Missouri requires insurance providers to include Uninsured Motorist Coverage in their policies. This allows motorists to receive compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. The minimum required liability amount for uninsured motorist coverage in Missouri is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

    This covers costs relating to injuries to you and your passengers caused by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver.  This does not, however, cover damages sustained to your vehicle or personal items in the vehicle.

    What happens if the other driver is underinsured?

    In some cases, you may be involved in an accident where the other, at-fault driver’s insurance does not have a policy with enough insurance to fully cover the amount you need to cover all damages and expenses.

    Luckily, there is an optional add-on you can choose to purchase with your car insurance policy that will make a difference in this instance. An add-on most car insurance providers offer is called “Underinsured Motorist Coverage“.  You must carry at least double the at-fault person’s limit of coverage. So, consider a higher limit for underinsured coverage if you elect to carry this type of coverage.

    Related: What car accident compensation can I receive?

    Ways to receive compensation after an accident with an uninsured driver

    Unfortunately, if you an uninsured driver is at-fault in a car accident, there may not be a lot of ways you can force them to provide compensation. While legally, they will have consequences, even if you do file a personal injury lawsuit and win, there may not be much of a financial gain on your end.

    Individuals who drive without insurance likely do so because they cannot afford it. Because of this, these drivers, in most cases, do not have many assets that can be used to compensate you for your injuries or property damage.

    Luckily, there are other ways you can get compensation after a car accident:

    Your auto insurance provider

    As previously stated, your car insurance provider is required to include Uninsured Motorist Coverage in your policy. With this, you can receive up to $25,000 in compensation for injuries sustained due to the accident.

    Seeking compensation from the owner of the vehicle

    Since it is required to have auto insurance to purchase a vehicle, in many cases, the uninsured driver was driving someone else’s car when they were in the accident. In this case, you will be able to seek compensation from the owner of the vehicle’s insurance provider.

    Finding state compensation funds/programs

    In Missouri, and many other states, there are programs in place to provide compensation to victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers. Research if your state offers any such programs and determines if you qualify for assistance.

    One of Missouri’s programs is Tort Victim Compensation Fund. This program was created to help individuals who have been unable to receive full compensation for their injuries after being involved in an automobile accident caused by someone else’s recklessness or negligence.

    In this case, you can file a Tort Victims Claim to see if you are eligible for compensation from the fund.

    How a car accident attorney can help

    Suing an uninsured driver can be a complex legal process, and it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. A car accident attorney will help you navigate the legal system, protect your rights, and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation.

    While suing an uninsured driver directly may not result in immediate financial recovery, your attorney can help you explore other potential sources of compensation. This may include seeking judgments against the driver’s personal assets if they have any or researching state programs that offer assistance to victims of uninsured drivers. Additionally, if you have medical payments coverage as part of your insurance policy, it can help cover your medical expenses resulting from the accident.

    During the initial consultation, the attorney will assess the strength of your case, review your evidence, and provide guidance on the best course of action. They will handle all legal aspects, including filing the necessary legal documents, negotiating with insurance companies, and representing you in court if the case goes to trial.

    As St. Louis car accident attorneys, we can tell you with absolute certainty this is an important step in the process. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you understand all of your options and uncover the best ways to receive fair compensation.