Is Missouri a No Fault State?
Posted in Car Accidents on December 18, 2020
In the United States, individual states have the authority to establish car accident laws and insurance rules. Some states follow a fault-based system, where drivers who cause accidents are responsible for paying for their victims’ damages. Other states follow a no-fault system, where each driver is responsible for paying for his or her individual damages, regardless of who caused the accident.
Like most states, Missouri follows a fault system for car accidents. If you suffer a collision on Missouri roads, the person responsible will be liable for your damages and the damages of other drivers, pedestrians, and passengers involved in the crash.
Missouri’s Insurance Laws
In fault insurance states, drivers must carry enough coverage to uphold their financial responsibilities in case they cause an accident. Missouri is no exception to this rule; the state requires all vehicle owners and drivers to carry the following minimum amounts of liability insurance coverage.
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in total bodily injury liability per accident
- $10,000 for property damage
Drivers can choose to purchase more than the minimum limits if they choose to do so. In addition to liability insurance, drivers must also carry uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury liability in the amounts of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. You can use this coverage to pay for your damages if you are in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, or you are the victim of a hit and run.
This insurance system differs significantly from no-fault states, which require motorists to carry enough coverage to pay for their own injuries. For example, neighboring Kansas is a no-fault state that requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP coverage pays for medical bills and specific losses in the event of a car accident, regardless of fault.
Your Legal Options After a Missouri Car Accident
Since Missouri is a fault-based insurance state, you have three options to secure compensation for your damages. You can choose to file an insurance claim, or you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Within the insurance pathway, you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance or under your own policy, provided you have the appropriate coverage.
Most car accident cases begin with an insurance claim. If the insurance company does not award fair compensation in your claim or denies it outright, you can choose to appeal the decision or escalate your claim to a lawsuit. In some cases, filing a personal injury lawsuit first may be your best option, especially if your estimated damages exceed the insurance company’s policy limits. You should always speak to your lawyer to discuss your legal options prior to proceeding with your claim.
Establishing Fault in a Missouri Car Accident Lawsuit
Fault is the foundation of a Missouri car accident claim. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster will conduct an investigation to determine whose actions caused the collision. If you choose to file a lawsuit, you will need to establish the other driver’s negligence by providing sufficient evidence to prove four elements.
- The driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver breached his or her duty of care.
- The breach of duty directly caused your accident.
- You suffered damages you can collect in your lawsuit.
Missouri’s fault rules can be complex to navigate, but a Kansas City car accident attorney can help you prove your claim. Speak to your attorney as soon as possible following your accident to discuss your legal options and strategize your next steps.