Every driver in Missouri is supposed to have the state minimum $25,000 liability policy. This minimum is often not enough to cover injuries suffered in a serious car accident. Even worse, many car accidents are caused by drivers who don’t have any insurance at all.
If you have been in an accident with an uninsured driver, you may still get paid for your injuries, if you have car insurance. Most autombile insurance policies have what is called “Uninsured Motorist Coverage,” which pays compensation to people injured by uninsured, negligent drivers.
If you have this coverage in your auto policy, and are injured by an uninsured driver, you are entitled to uninsured motorist benefits, up to the policy limit for such benefits. Twenty-one states (including Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas) require insurance companies to include uninsured motorist coverage in their policies.
The damages covered by the uninsured motorist provision depends on the the policy. Most uninsured motorist clauses include “Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage”, which includes your medical expenses, lost wages, and other personal injury related expenses in an instance where the negligent driver is not insured.
Two types of persons may be considered “uninsured” under an uninsured motorist policy:
1. Drivers who do not have insurance, and
2. Unidentified hit and run drivers.
Some states recognize other uninsured drivers, such as drivers that do have insurance, but the amount of that coverage is less than the victim’s uninsured motorist coverage.
We recently recovered uninsured motorist benefits for a client who was injured when he collided with a vehicle that had been abandoned at night on an interstate highway in St. Louis. The driver and occupant of the abandoned vehicle had been drinking and got into an argument. The passenger grabbed the wheel and caused the vehicle to crash into the median.
The intoxicated driver and passenger fled the scene leaving the vehicle in a driving lane where the vehicle was struck by our client. Thankfully, our client was not killed in the collision. But, our client was injured, and we filed suit to enforce his rights.
The passenger was considered a driver of the vehicle because he grabbed the wheel, and there was no evidence that he was insured. We brought a workers’ compensation claim for our client because he was injured while driving in the course of his employment. We also sued the driver of the vehicle and our client’s uninsured motorist carrier on account of the uninsured passenger who grabbed the steering wheel. The claims resolved successfully and we were able to recover uninsured motorist benefits for our client.
If you have been in an a car or truck accident, give us a call. We will review all available insurance to make sure you receive all of the compensation you are owed.