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Missouri is not a no-fault state for auto insurance. It is an at-fault state, meaning a driver involved in an automobile accident can file a claim either with his or her own or the other driver’s insurance company. The state practices a pure comparative fault system. This kind of system assigns each driver involved in an accident a certain degree of fault. Insurers then use this degree of fault to determine how to settle claims
Provided a driver isn’t totally at fault for an accident, he or she can still receive compensation for damages, though the award would be less. How much less depends on his or her percentage of fault. As a result, determining who – and to what extent – is at fault for an auto accident is very important.
In states that use the no-fault standard, a driver’s auto insurance policy must include coverage for personal injuries to pay for medical expenses. He or she can only receive compensation from his or her own insurance company up to the policy’s limit. He or she must then prove the injuries he or she sustained are more serious in order to make a claim on the other driver’s insurance.
Missouri drivers can pursue more options when seeking compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and property damage incurred in an auto accident. These can vary by the amount of compensation sought by the plaintiff. In situations where the at fault driver’s insurance covers the plaintiff’s costs it may be better to settle rather than pursue a lawsuit. In situations where the plaintiff’s damages exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance limit, then a personal injury lawsuit would be in order.
It is illegal to drive a car in Missouri without the required minimum levels of liability auto insurance. A driver must maintain the minimum level of liability insurance in order to obtain a driver’s license. In addition to the usual penalties other states impose on uninsured motorists – generally increasingly larger fines and license suspensions – Missouri law provides for another consequence for people who disregard the requirement to maintain adequate insurance coverage.
Missouri’s “No Pay, No Play” law, officially known as Missouri House Bill 339 became state law in 2013. Under the law, uninsured drivers waive their rights to collect compensation for non-economic losses resulting from auto accidents, even when they are completely faultless. That means uninsured drivers cannot collect for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or property damage from at-fault drivers.
However, two exceptions are built into the law that allow an uninsured driver to collect damages. The first is if the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The second is if the uninsured driver’s insurance company cancelled his or her policy without giving at least six months’ notice. In both the circumstances the uninsured motorist would be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for compensation beyond economic losses.
Contact the Wendt Law Firm to speak with an experienced car accident attorney in Kansas City who can answer all your questions if you’re involved in an auto accident with an uninsured driver so you can know your rights. You shouldn’t have to pay the bill for someone else’s irresponsibility.