When you have been in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you want to make sure that the other driver is established as the at-fault driver. When the other driver is considered at-fault, it makes it easier to file a claim through their insurance company for your injuries.
After you’ve been involved in a car accident, you don’t have to secure your compensation through a courtroom. You can easily file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Although it sounds pretty simple, nothing is really simple with insurance companies.
The at-fault driver’s insurance policy: minimum requirements in MO and KS
The amount of money that the insurance company will pay towards your damages depends on the driver’s insurance policy. While it varies from state to state, each driver is required to carry some type of bodily injury policy and property damage policy.
In Missouri, the minimum level of coverage required by state law is:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
In Kansas, required coverage is the same, with the addition of mandatory PIP insurance.
For example, many drivers carry a bodily injury policy with coverage limits of 50/100. The first limit (50) is the amount of compensation that the insurance company will pay for a single person’s injuries. In this case, the limit would be $50,000. The second limit (100) is the amount of compensation that the insurance company will pay for all injuries in a single accident. So for one single accident, the insurance company will pay $100,000.
What if my injuries exceed the at-fault driver’s policy limits?
Every insurance policy does have a limit. If your injuries exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, the insurance company will argue that they cannot cover your expenses.
Insurance companies will try to make that argument even when your injuries stay within the policy’s limit. The compensation that you request must also be separated based on the type of damages you’ve sustained.
For example, if you suffered $20,000 in bodily damages and the driver has a 50/100 bodily injury coverage, the insurance company owes you $20,000 in coverage. But that does not mean that the remainder of the coverage will go towards your property damage. You would have to file a separate claim for your property damage.
There are times where your injuries exceed the driver’s insurance policy, especially in the case of severe, catastrophic, or permanent injuries. Fortunately, there are ways that you can still get the compensation that you need for your injuries. Umbrella policies are policies that kick in after the original policy has been maxed out.
If the driver carries an umbrella policy, you may be able to collect the compensation to which you are entitled. Many drivers, especially truck drivers, carry umbrella policies.
Filing a car accident claim in Kansas City against the at-fault driver
Another way that you can secure compensation is by filing a car accident claim against the driver. In the claim, you can sue the driver for their entire policy limit. You can even sue them for additional compensation. Instead of dealing directly with the insurance company, you would hold only the driver liable for your injuries. Because the driver is already considered the at-fault driver, it should not be difficult to prove their liability in court. Your Kansas City attorney can help.
Placing a judgment on the driver
Another action that you can take is having the court place a judgment on the at-fault driver. Even though the insurance company claims they can’t cover the costs of your damages, the at-fault driver is still the person who’s ultimately responsible.
The court can place a judgment on the driver for more than just their policy limits. Some of the ways the driver can cover your expenses is by having their wages garnished or having a lien placed on their property.
Using your own insurance policy after a Kansas City car accident
Another way that you can cover the costs of your injuries is by using your own insurance policy.
Just like the other driver, there are insurance policies you carry for your injuries. Some of these policies that can cover your injuries are personal injury protection (PIP is required in Kansas) or Medpay (optional in Missouri) and collision coverage (optional in both). You also have the option of filing a claim against the other driver and having them reimburse you for your insurance coverage.
Another important coverage for you is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. You can file a claim using this type of coverage to help make up for the difference in compensation. However, using this coverage depends on certain factors.
Besides having damages that exceed the driver’s policy limits, those limits must be less than your uninsured coverage limits. With these two requirements, you’ll be able to use your coverage.
Another action that you can take is filing a claim with your own insurance company. You can file a claim and list your underinsured motorist coverage as the amount of compensation. Typically, your insurance company should be able to meet the demands of your claim. If they choose to deny your claim or deal with you unfairly, you can also consider filing a bad faith claim against your insurance company.
Your insurance company should not dismiss your claim or ignore it. They have a legal obligation to deal with all claims in good faith. If you feel that they are not handling your claim in good faith, you should file a bad faith claim against them.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we want you to recover as quickly from your accident as possible. We understand that part of becoming whole again is being financially compensated for your injuries. Because of our hands-on and thorough approach, we have established an excellent track record of obtaining fair value for your claim without having to file a lawsuit.
Call or text our office at 816-471-5111, or use our contact form to schedule your free consultation. Our headquarters are in Kansas City, but we also have offices in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph and Parkville, MO, as well as Overland Park, Olathe, and Kansas City, KS, available by appointment.
We know that it can feel as if there’s no end in sight when you’re living with a serious injury. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we’re on your side from day one. We’ll not only fight for your best interests, but we’ll help you process and deal with your injury along the way. Our personal injury lawyers handle the insurance company for you, and make sure that you find the tools and resources you need to move forward. When you need an experienced, compassionate Kansas City personal injury lawyer, we answer the call.