It’s bad enough that your car accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, but to discover that the driver did not have insurance is even more distressing. Your car is totaled and your medical bills are mounting. Who is going to pay for all this? Unfortunately, unless you have an attorney who is experienced handling the insurance companies on your side, the answer is most likely you—or rather, your insurance company. However, the other driver will suffer consequences for not carrying insurance.
State Laws Regarding Car Insurance in Missouri and Kansas
In both Kansas and Missouri, state law requires that motorists have insurance. In Missouri, vehicle owners are required to carry some type of motor vehicle liability coverage. The minimum coverage required by law in Missouri is as follows:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- Uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
Missouri residents are required to carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times and must show it to an officer when asked. If a motorist fails to produce proof of coverage, he will be issued a ticket and will be assessed four points on his license. He may also be monitored to ensure that he has or acquires automobile liability insurance and could have his license suspended.
Kansas requires the same liability coverage as Missouri, but also requires personal injury protection coverage. Also known as no-fault insurance, these policies include coverage for medical expenses, disability or loss of income, in-home healthcare services, funeral or burial costs, rehabilitation expenses, and survivor benefits. The penalties for an uninsured driver in Kansas are much more severe than in Missouri. For a first offense, a Kansas vehicle owner can be fined between $300 and $1000 and be sentenced to up to six months in jail. The owner can also have his license suspended and his vehicle registration revoked.
What to Do If You Are Hit by an Uninsured Driver
It is estimated that over 10 percent of drivers in Missouri and Kansas are uninsured. If you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist, you will most likely have to rely on your uninsured motorist coverage to pay your expenses.
In some cases, it may be worth pursuing a case against him to recover your damages. A court can order the at-fault driver to make regular payments to you or may issue a lien against his assets until you are compensated. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine if it is worth suing the other driver. Most often, however, people who don’t have car insurance also don’t have a lot of money or property to their name and it is not worth pursuing a case.
In both states, the uninsured motorist should be reported to the authorities—the Driver License Bureau in Missouri and Driver Control in Kansas—so that he can be charged and penalized under state law.
Where Will Your Compensation Come From?
It is worth it, however, to pursue the maximum amount from your own uninsured motorist policy. To begin with, every driver should carry more than the state minimum requirement of $25,000 per person. Medical care for most serious car accident injuries will cost much more than $25,000. In addition, Missouri allows residents to “stack” their insurance policies to recover more money. For example, if you own three cars and carry the minimum $25,000 uninsured motorist coverage on each, you can be awarded $75,000 towards your recovery. This is not the case in Kansas, however, where stacking policies is not allowed. Don’t attempt to take your insurance company on alone. They may be your insurer, but they will still do all they can to avoid a large payout. You will need the help of an experienced car accident attorney for the best possible outcome.
Call Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys Now If You’ve Been in an Accident
Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving an uninsured motorist. We will work with you and your insurance company and, if it is worth it, will pursue the uninsured driver for damages. Our office headquarters is conveniently located in downtown Kansas City, but we also have offices in Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, and Parkville. Contact us online or call us directly at 816.471.5111 to talk to one of our attorneys about your car accident.