Car accidents are a common occurrence in Missouri. This article discusses what you need to know about Missouri car accidents, including what to do after an accident, Missouri's negligence rules, and how to get appropriate compensation for your injuries and losses.
What Should You Do After an Accident in Missouri?
Here is a list of what to do if you are in an accident:
- Don't leave the scene; leaving the scene of the accident, even if it's minor, could be considered an illegal hit-and-run
- Get to safety out of traffic and check everyone for injuries (and consider rendering first aid to any car accident victims)
- Call the Missouri highway patrol or the police department for help and medical assistance; you will want to make sure you get a copy of the police report or accident report
- Collect contact information and driver's insurance information from the people who were driving any vehicles involved in the accident
- Take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses; also, check with nearby businesses or homeowners for security camera footage, if applicable
- Call your insurance adjuster and notify them of a possible car accident claim
- Get checked out by the doctor
- Speak to a Missouri personal injury attorney
Missouri Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
Check out the table below along with the accompanying explanations to learn more about how car accident damages are treated in Missouri.
Statute of Limitations
Five years (§ 516.120 et seq. of the Missouri Revised Statutes)
Limits on Damages
None; tort victim's compensation fund may assist in full recovery (§ 537.675.1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes)
Pure Comparative Negligence System (§ 537.765.1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
'Fault' and 'Pure Comparative Fault' Rules Apply
Missouri courts use the 'pure comparative negligence' rule. If you were, say, 80% at fault for an accident and suffered $20,000 in damages, this rule allows the court to award you $4,000 in damages. However, you will need to be able to prove the other driver's fault before the court will award your damages. This is because Missouri uses the 'fault' rule for accident claims.
Types of Damages Available for Car Accidents
Car accident damages can add up quickly, but you should be aware that you may be entitled to compensation beyond the bills piling up. While your bills typically encompass your economic damages, you may also be entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include the injuries you suffered that are not quite so easy to calculate, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.
Your car accident damage award may account for:
- Loss of income
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Repairs to your vehicle or vehicle replacement costs
- Rental vehicle
Limits on Damages in Missouri
If you wind up buried in bills, you will be relieved to learn that the state of Missouri does not impose a limit on the amount of damages injured parties may recover in car accident cases. While there are no car accident damages caps in Missouri, the state does require you to file any claim you may have before a set deadline (known as the statute of limitations).
Fortunately, Missouri gives you plenty of time to decide whether to bring a lawsuit: the limit is five years for both personal injuries and damage to personal property. Finally, if the party responsible for your injuries is unable to pay the full amount the court awards you, Missouri maintains a tort victim's compensation fund, and you may be able to recover part of your award from that fund.
Car Accident Bills Piling Up? Get a Claim Evaluation
Missouri is committed to helping you get back on your feet, whatever the cause of your car accident. An especially long statute of limitations and a lack of damage caps provide injured parties with plenty of opportunity to recover for their injuries.
To learn more about the strength and value of your claim, reach out to an experienced Missouri car accident compensation attorney for a claim evaluation.