It's a stormy day in St. Louis. You're driving down I-44 after work, and you can barely see the Gateway Arch on your way home. You slow down to exit the highway, and suddenly, bam! The car behind you crashes into your vehicle. Will you be able to recover damages for your injuries and car damage? What steps do you take to collect money damages? Read on to learn about the Missouri car accident settlement process and timeline.
Do I Need to Report a Car Accident in Missouri?
Yes, in some situations. You are required to file an accident report if all of the following situations are true:
- It's been less than one year since the accident
- The accident involved an uninsured driver
- The accident involved injury or death of someone, or property damage exceeding $500
Missouri Car Insurance Laws
Missouri requires its drivers to carry the basic liability insurance with the following minimum coverage amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
You must keep proof of insurance at all times in your vehicle. A police officer may issue you a ticket if you can't provide proof of insurance required by law.
How Do Car Accident Settlements Work in Missouri?
Like most states, Missouri applies the "fault" system when it comes to car accidents and financial responsibility for injuries and damages stemming from the accident. If you got injured in a car accident, you have three options: (1) file a claim with your own insurance company, (2) file a third-party claim with the other driver's insurance company, or (3) file a lawsuit against the other driver in court
"Settlement" refers to an action of dropping a lawsuit and awarding damages, which is made out of court. Most car accident cases are resolved through settlements before they reach all the way to a court hearing. If you're filing a claim with an insurance company, it will investigate your case and either offer you a settlement check or deny your claim. If you believe the insurance company is not compensating you for all or any parts of your claim, make an appeal to a claims supervisor. If that doesn't work, you may file a complaint with the
What Is the Average Car Accident Settlement in Missouri?
Determining who is at fault and calculating the amount of damages can be complicated because there is no bright-line rule for it. The most common car accident damages are as follows: medical expenses, car repair or replacement costs, loss of income, and physical pain and suffering.
If you are also at fault in the car accident, Missouri applies the "pure comparative negligence" standard. This rule allows you to recover damages even if you are at fault for your own injuries. However, the amount of damages will be diminished proportionately to the amount of your negligence.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Missouri?
Missouri requires you to file a lawsuit within five years from the date of the car accident for both personal injury and property damage. After five years, you are barred from filing a lawsuit. Missouri imposes different time limits for other types of cases. So, make sure you have ample time to prepare to file a lawsuit in case dispute arises during your settlement process.
Questions About the Car Accident Settlement Process in Missouri? Ask a Lawyer
Are you wondering if you have a viable case? If your car accident case involves an injury or disputed matters, you should consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney in Missouri. Discussing your claim with an attorney can be a good starting point to explore all of your legal options, but be sure to act quickly before it's too late to file your claim.