Every year, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), Missouri’s roads see tens of thousands of traffic accidents that cause either injury or death. Since 2015, at least 869 Missourians have been killed annually in car crashes, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Missouri is an “at fault” state, which means the person at fault for the accident must compensate you for your property damage and injuries. If their insurance company has made you an offer you believe is inadequate, you do not have to accept it.
Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today for a free consultation. We will evaluate your situation and help you assess your legal options. We work on contingency, which means you will not pay us unless we recover an award for you. For your free case assessment, contact us today at (800) 598-7557.
What to Do After an Accident
According to § 300.110 of Missouri law, if you are in an accident in St. Louis (or any other city) that has led to death, injury, or property damage that appears to exceed $500, you must contact the local police department “as soon as reasonably possible.” The police will dispatch an officer to investigate the accident and deliver a written report. (If, for whatever reason, the officer does not show up, § 300.115 gives you five days to deliver a written report of the accident to the local police.) § 330.040 requires you to file a report within 30 days with the Department of Revenue (DOR) if the other driver was uninsured.
As the DOR points out, you must stop after an accident; leaving the scene is a crime. If your vehicle is stopped in a place that may endanger other vehicles, try to move it to the shoulder or median. Otherwise, leave it be and notify the police. If it is physically possible to do so, document as much of the accident scene as possible. Take photos of the damage to your vehicles and that of others involved in the accident. Speak with witnesses about what they saw and collect their contact information. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. However, be cautious about what you say. Be polite and courteous, but do not say anything that could later be construed as an admission of responsibility for the accident, such as “I’m sorry.” You should also notify your insurance company about the accident, and you may wish to contact us to safeguard your rights throughout the process.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving St. Louis, call (800) 598-7557
In Missouri, the motorist who causes an accident is responsible for the other party’s vehicle damage as well as their medical treatments, lost wages, and other expenses. To ensure that each motorist is able to pay for these accidents, the state requires all drivers to carry insurance.
As the DOR notes, all Missouri vehicle owners must show proof of insurance coverage to register a vehicle or renew a license plate. The minimum amounts of coverage the state requires are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability (BIL)
- $50,000 per accident for BIL
- $10,000 per accident for property damage liability (PDL)
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in uninsured motorist coverage for BIL.
A conviction for driving without liability insurance in Missouri will mean an assessment of four points on a driver’s record. If drivers receive eight points within an 18-month period, their driving privileges may be revoked. If a driver does not have insurance and cannot pay for damages they caused in an accident, the state will suspend their driver’s license and/or registration for one year. They must settle the loss and pay a $20 fee to have their license and/or registration reinstated within that period.
In assessing blame for accidents, Missouri uses a traditional fault system: The person responsible for the accident is responsible for the damages. But what if the person is not 100% at fault? What if, in other words, the injured driver shares some portion of the blame? In a handful of states, even 1% of the blame is enough to disqualify you from recovering damages. Since 1983, however, Missouri has been a comparative fault state, the DOR explains, which “allows your damages to be reduced by the percentage you are at fault in a loss.”
After an accident, the other party’s insurance company will investigate, make a determination about the fault levels of everyone involved, and offer a proposal. The DOR can determine whether the insurance company fully investigated the accident, but if you disagree with the insurer’s assessment of fault or do not believe it is offering to adequately compensate you, contact us today for help.
Compensation and Statute of Limitations
There is no limit to the compensatory award an accident victim may recover from injury. Missouri law does not cap either economic or noneconomic damages. In personal injury cases, Missouri grants a person five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, according to § 516.120.
St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (800) 598-7557
How We Can Help
We do not shy away from tough cases, and we fight for those who might not be able to obtain justice for themselves. We also know that no two accidents are alike, and our team of St. Louis car accident lawyers is dedicated to seeking the best possible outcomes for our clients no matter their circumstances. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident, the last thing you should be worried about is dealing with insurance adjusters and red tape. Let us take care of that. If you would like a free consultation, call Ben Crump Law, PLLC today at (800) 598-7557.