You’re driving down the road minding your own business, when all of the sudden you’re involved in a car accident. At the scene of the accident, or at the hospital, you learn that the negligent driver was uninsured. Unfortunately, this is a scenario that happens all too often.
Generally, if you have been injured in a car accident, caused by an uninsured driver, your recovery will be limited to the amount of your own uninsured policy – or UM coverage. In Missouri, all insurance policies must provide bodily injury or death coverage in the minimum amount of $25,000.00 per person, and $50,000.00 for two or more persons. In addition to the bodily injury or death coverage, each policy must provide a minimum of $10,000.00 in property damage coverage.
Uninsured coverage, and dealing with insurance adjusters, can be very complicated, especially when you own more than one vehicle. If you have been injured in a car accident seek out a competent personal injury attorney immediately.
The minimum coverage may not cover your damages. The cost of medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering add up quick. Take a look at the following three examples:
1. Joe, alone in his vehicle, was injured in a car accident caused by a negligent uninsured driver. Joe’s insurance policy provides for the Missouri State minimum coverage as described above. Joe does not own any other motor vehicles covered by insurance (more than one vehicle may change the outcome). Joe’s suffered a fractured leg, and other injuries, which exceed his $25,000.00 limits.
- Although his insurance company may argue the amount of damages, Joe is entitled to his policy limits of $25,000.00; and
- Despite the fact that Joe has damages exceeding his limits, he will NOT recover additional damages.
2. Joe and his wife Jane were both injured in a car accident caused by a negligent uninsured driver. Joe and Jane suffer fractured legs and other injuries. Joe’s and Jane’s injuries exceed the $50,000.00 limits.
- Joe is entitled to $25,000.00;
- Jane is entitled to $25,000.00; and
- No recovery of more than $25,000.00 per person or $50,000.00 will be had.
3. Finally, Joe, Jane, and their passenger John, are all injured in a car accident caused by a negligent uninsured driver. Each individually suffer injuries with damages exceeding $25,000.00.
- All three must share in the total of $50,000.00; and
- No individual shall recover more than $25,000.00
As you can see in the above examples, uninsured coverage, if purchased at the State minimum, is likely to fall short of the damages one may suffer in an auto accident in Missouri. The solution may be to purchase higher uninsured coverage. According to my insurance provider, I can purchase up to $500,000.00 in uninsured coverage. The cost of uninsured coverage is relatively inexpensive and should be discussed with your insurance provider.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Springfield, Missouri, caused by anuninsured driver, you should seek representation immediately. I am a personal injury attorney in Springfield, Missouri, dedicated to helping injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. As a former insurance defense attorney, I can tell you the insurance companies are not out to help you. The insurance company is always represented, you should be too!
By Matthew Sims