What Should You Do If You Get in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?

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If you are involved in a car accident where no one is seriously injured, the protocol for after the accident is usually exchanging insurance information with the other driver, reporting a claim to your insurance company while the details are still fresh in your mind, and then waiting.  You usually take your car to a body shop or mechanic and pay for the repairs and then wait for a check from the insurance company to reimburse you for them. Unless you work in the car insurance industry, you have probably never given much thought to the different types of car insurance you carry and what they do. 

If you are injured in an accident, though, the waiting and the ambiguities become harder to endure. If your injuries in a car accident are severe enough that you are unable to work for an extended period, you should consult a lawyer. It is especially important to get advice from a St Louis car accident lawyer if the other driver in the accident had no insurance or was underinsured.


Uninsured Motorists and the Law

All drivers in Missouri must carry liability insurance, which covers the costs associated with accidents that are your fault.  (In the context of car accidents, “liability” is a synonym for “fault.”) If you cause an accident, your insurance must pay for the medical expenses of people injured in your vehicle (bodily injury coverage), the medical expenses of people injured in the other vehicle (uninsured motorist coverage), and repairs to your car, but not the other car (property damage).  All drivers are legally required to carry liability insurance, but not all of them do. Therefore, if an uninsured driver causes an accident, and you get injured in the accident, you may not get the help you need from your insurance company.


Underinsured Motorists

What if the driver at fault for your accident has some insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical expenses related to the accident?  If you have underinsured motorist coverage, it might help with your expenses. This kind of coverage is optional in Missouri. You might still end up with big bills and not enough help if an underinsured motorist is at fault for your accident.


Think Before You Sign

In the above scenarios, you always have the required insurance.  In other words, you are exercising reasonable caution in protecting yourself from the financial risks of car accidents.  Your insurance company will offer you some financial relief, but if your injuries are serious, the settlement amount they offer you might not be enough.  If you sign the settlement offer letter, you waive the right to file a lawsuit for more compensation related to the accident. It is always a good idea to consult a personal injury attorney before you sign the settlement offer.


Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys About Car Accident Cases

Contact Walton Telken Injury Attorneys in the Kirkwood, Missouri area for a legal consultation to see if you should file a lawsuit in relation to an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.

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