I Was Hit by an Uninsured/Underinsured Driver. What Do I Do?
If you’re injured by another driver in an accident, you expect to be compensated by your insurance policy or by that of the other driver. Unfortunately, according to the Insurance Research Council, about one in eight of all drivers lack insurance, so you could be stuck facing medical bills and associated expenses, including lost wages, all by yourself.
Fortunately, both Kansas and Missouri require drivers to carry uninsured motorists (UM) coverage. The basic UM policy in both states is $25,000 in bodily injury per person and $50,000 in bodily injury per accident. If those limits don’t cover all related injury expenses, including wages lost from missing work, then your only recourse is to seek payment from the other driver.
Kansas also requires underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in the same amounts. Missouri does not. UIM coverage kicks in when the other driver has insurance but its liability limits have been exceeded.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist in or around Overland Park, Kansas, contact the Grover Law Firm, LLC.
The attorneys at Grovery Law firm, LLC will meet with you, listen to the circumstances of your accident, and then fight together with you for the just compensation you deserve. They proudly serve clients throughout Kansas and Missouri, including Independence, Shawnee, Liberty, Olathe, and Kansas City.
Insurance Requirements in Kansas and Missouri
The major difference between the two states is that Kansas is a no-fault insurance state, while Missouri is an at-fault insurance state.
Both states require vehicle operators to carry bodily injury, property damage, and uninsurance motorist coverage, with somewhat differing limits. In Kansas, however, your own insurance policy will pay for injuries to you, your family members, and any uninsured passengers up to the limits of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
In Missouri, you will have to seek compensation for injuries from the other driver. In both states, if the other driver does not carry insurance, your mandated uninsured motorist coverage can be accessed up to its limit for your injuries and injuries to your passengers, but PIP insurance is the first recourse in Kansas.
In Kansas, the mandated liability coverage is $25,000 per person for bodily injury to others caused by you, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury to others, and $25,000 in property damage to the other driver’s vehicle. The uninsured motorist coverage is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in both states. Missouri has the same limits except for property damage, which is just $10,000 minimum. Of course, you can also pay for higher limits.
If your UM limits are exceeded, you will have to seek the remainder of damages – medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering – from the other driver through a personal injury lawsuit. The only catch here is that in a no-fault state such as Kansas, to sue the other driver for injuries, your PIP coverage must be exceeded and your injuries deemed severe.
PIP insurance in Kansas covers $4,500 per person for medical expenses, $4,500 for rehabilitation expenses, $900 a month in disability or loss of income for up to one year, $25 a day for in-home services, and $2,000 for the funeral, burial or cremation services in the case of death. PIP does not cover pain and suffering, however. For that, you will need to go to court.
Remember also that Kansas requires drivers to carry underinsured motorist coverage and Missouri does not. UIM is important if your injuries breach the compensation limit of the other driver’s insurance.
Steps to Take if You’re Involved in an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accident
The first and most important step is to seek medical help for any injuries sustained by you or your passengers. If you’re physically capable, take scenes of the accident with your cell phone, including road signs that may have been violated. If there are witnesses, get their statements and contact information. If police show up, try to get a copy of their accident report when it’s available.
Of course, you need to get the other driver’s contact information, including insurance information if any. Also, retain all medical records of your examination and subsequent care and treatment. These documents will be necessary for seeking compensation for your injury.
Both states require you to file an accident report if the police do not show up. As for reporting a claim to your insurance company or to the other driver’s insurer, auto policies have provisions requiring prompt reporting of accidents, so you want to do that as soon as possible. If you wait weeks for whatever reason, the insurance company may reject your claim as not being timely.
After reporting your claim, the insurance company is going to assign a claims adjuster to you. This person is a trained professional whose goal is to limit the parent company’s liability. Claims adjusters have an arsenal of questions and techniques they employ to get you to admit some form of fault, so they can reduce or even deny your claim. You don’t want to talk to them. They’re likely going to try to get you to accept a low-ball settlement offer.
Your best bet is to consult and retain an experienced personal injury/car accident attorney to deal with the insurer and their claims adjusters.
How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help
In addition to negotiating for a better settlement with the insurance company – yours or the other driver’s – a personal injury attorney also can help you assess the extent of your injuries and other losses. A too-quick settlement shortchanges your future if your injuries resurface or worsen, or if you’re unable to work for an extended but indeterminate period. Remember, a settlement is final. Once you agree to it, you can’t go back for more even if you face new medical challenges.
There is also the question of whether to pursue legal action against the uninsured/underinsured motorist who injured you. A knowledgeable attorney can assess the situation and advise you of your best options, including a personal injury lawsuit if warranted.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in or around Overland Park, Kansas, including throughout the states of Kansas and Missouri, contact the Grover Law Firm, LLC. Your first consultation is free. Don’t let an insurance company shortchange you.