It is a common enough occurrence and it was bound to happen to you eventually. You were on your way to the office in rush hour traffic. You came to a stop behind a traffic jam. The car behind you did not. The impact from the vehicle that rear-ended you was hard enough to push you into the car ahead and caused your airbag to deploy.
Now you are dealing with a broken nose, a nasty case of whiplash, and a boss that is not very happy with the time you have to take off from work. On top of that, your brand new sedan looks very similar to an accordion.
After a car accident, most people have similar questions. You are probably wondering how you are going to recover damages for your injuries and your car. What do you need to do to collect from the other driver’s insurance company? What do you do if the insurance company denies the claim? Fortunately, a local Kansas City personal injury attorney can help you. However, even with legal counsel, it is important to know what you can expect after a car accident.
Reporting a car accident
In Missouri, you do need to report a car accident in some situations. If it is less than one year since the accident, an uninsured driver was involved, an injury or death occurred, or property damage was over $500, then you need to file a report.
Basic liability insurance
The state of Missouri requires that you carry basic liability insurance. You must have a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 for property damage. Every driver is required to carry the minimum coverage at all times.
Missouri adheres to a “fault” system in car accident cases. After your car accident, you have three choices. You can file a claim with your own insurance company, file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, or you can file a lawsuit in court.
In general, most lawsuits are settled before they even reach the courtroom. If you choose to file a suit, it is more than likely that the other driver’s insurance will offer you a settlement to cover the damages. If you think that insurance company is not offering enough compensation or if it denies your claim, you can appeal to a claims supervisor.
Calculating the settlement
Figuring out who is at fault and how much should be awarded in damages is a complicated process. You will probably be awarded compensation for your medical expenses, car repair or replacement costs, lost wages, and possibly even pain and suffering. However, if the court rules that you were partially at fault for the accident, your award may be reduced proportionally to your culpability.
Statute of limitations
You have five years from the date of your car accident to file a claim for personal injury and property damage. If you try to file after the five-year limitation, the court will bar you from pursuing a lawsuit.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to understand your rights and options in Missouri!