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Recovering from a car accident is always a distressing experience. You may be dealing with painful injuries and undergoing medical treatments at the same time that you must deal with the hassles of getting the appropriate insurance company to pay for your property damage and cover your medical expenses. Navigating insurance and liability issues becomes even murkier when you discover that the other motorist involved in your accident is uninsured. Despite Missouri’s law requiring every driver to carry at least the minimum amount of liability car insurance, an estimated 16% of Missouri drivers allow their insurance to lapse and continue to drive uninsured. In these cases, dealing with insurance companies can become tricky, even if you are carrying the legally required amount of uninsured motorist coverage.
The St. Louis personal injury attorneys at Miller & Hine put clients first with personalized attention to each unique accident case. Putting our 50 years of combined experience to work on your behalf is the right choice to ensure you get the most out of your car insurance claim. Call our St. Louis Uninsured Motorist Attorneys today for a free consultation about your accident claim.
Missouri’s At-Fault Accident Insurance Laws
While a handful of states have no-fault insurance laws so each person’s own insurance policy covers their property damage and injuries in an accident, in Missouri, it matters who caused the accident. The person found to be at fault in a car accident bears the liability and their liability insurance policy must pay for damages. Unfortunately, some accident victims find that not only did someone else’s mistake or negligence cause their accident but that the driver was uninsured, leaving the injured victim to bear the burden of untangling the insurance claims process alone—often with an insurance company that uses common tactics to deny or undervalue claims.
A St. Louis accident attorney from Miller & Hine understands the challenges of an accident with an uninsured driver and the anxiety that comes with wondering if your own insurance coverage will pay out enough on your claim to cover your economic and non-economic damages. Since Insurance companies have specific rules regarding what they will and will not cover, the attorneys at Miller & Hine can help determine the best legal avenue to maximize your damages recovery.
Common Tactics Insurance Companies Use to Deny or Devalue Claims
Insurance companies depend on paying out less in claims than they take in from collecting premiums. This business model requires them to hire adjusters whose job purpose is to find ways to deny or undervalue claims. Some common methods they use include the following:
- Calling very soon after an accident with a low settlement offer before you can know the extent of your damages
- Calling on a recorded line and then using your words out of context against you
- Requesting medical authorization to review your injuries and then scouring your medical history to find “evidence” that your pain is from a pre-existing condition
- Denying all or part of your medical treatment as unnecessary for your injury
- Attempting to assign you a percentage of fault in the accident so Missouri’s comparative fault law lowers your percentage of compensation by the percentage you’re found to be at fault
Regardless of how pleasant the insurance representative sounds on the phone, it’s important to understand that they are not on your side. One of the benefits of having an experienced St. Louis car accident injury attorney is directing all communication with the insurance company to your attorney.
Understanding an Uninsured Motorist Claim in Missouri
Missouri requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, commonly called the “25, 50, 25” policy to pay out a minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $50,000 for bodily injury damages and $25,000 in property damage. The state law also addresses uninsured motorists by disallowing them to recover any damages after an accident with the exception of their lost wages even when the other party was at fault. This is sometimes called a “no pay, no play” law.
For those injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist, the state allows two avenues to recover damages:
- Filing a 1st-party claim against their own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage
- Filing a personal lawsuit against the at-fault party
A personal injury attorney can be a great asset in deciding which option to pursue. While insurance companies employ many tactics to deny or delay claims, this may be a better option than a personal lawsuit, assuming the uninsured motorist was uninsured because they couldn’t keep up their premium payments, in which case it’s unlikely they have the resources to personally pay your damages. On the other hand, if the other driver has substantial assets, a personal injury lawsuit may be a better option. An uninsured motorist accident lawyer can investigate all aspects of your accident to determine the best strategy for gaining maximum compensation for your damages.
What Damages Can I Recover from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Accidents cause victims to suffer many economic and non-economic damages. A successful personal injury lawsuit can help injury victims to recover the following damages:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages from your recovery time
- Future lost wages or lowered capacity for earning if you’ve suffered disabling injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life in cases of severe injuries
When you’ve been injured in an accident, the impact on your life can be long-term or even permanent. You deserve the maximum compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.
Why Choose Us?
The attorneys at Miller & Hine of St. Louis will diligently investigate your accident to determine fault and liability under Missouri’s comparative fault law. We will strategize the best way forward for your unique case in order to maximize the recovery for your damages. We will aggressively pursue your interests throughout the insurance claims process or through courtroom litigation and put our decades of experience and strong local reputation behind your accident case.
Reach out to our St. Louis uninsured motorist attorneys today for a consultation with no upfront fees for representation.