In 2018, 56,581 people were injured or killed in a car accident in Missouri. That is an average of 155 crashes each day that either cause death or injury. In Kansas City alone, there were 20,783 collisions in 2017 — causing 98 deaths and 8,021 injuries.
If you have been hurt in a car accident, you likely have many questions about what to do — and what comes next. Below, we’ll answer some of the most common questions that we receive. If you need additional information, reach out to a Kansas City car accident attorney.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Missouri?
There is a time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for filing legal claims in Missouri. Generally, you have 5 years to file a personal injury case; the clock on this limit starts to run at the date of the injury. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, such as for claims against government entities. For this reason, you should consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after an auto accident.
What If I Was Partially to Blame for the Accident?
Under Missouri law, even if you were partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover for your losses, but your damages will be reduced by the percentage that you were at fault. This is known as a pure comparative fault system. For example, if you suffered $20,000 in damages and a court decides that you were 35% to blame for the crash, then your compensation will be reduced by 35%, or $7,000, for a total recovery of $13,000.
Should I Take the Settlement Offered by the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
If you are in a car accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may quickly offer you a settlement. Accepting this settlement typically means giving up your right to sue — even if it turns out that your injuries were more serious than you originally believed. For this reason, you should consult with a lawyer before signing any documents or accepting a settlement offer from an insurance company.
What If The Other Driver Was Uninsured or Underinsured?
Under Missouri law, all drivers must have a minimum amount of insurance ($25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 per accident for property damage), as well as uninsured motorist coverage ($25,000/$50,000 for bodily injury). If another driver hits you, and they either don’t have insurance or don’t have enough insurance to cover your claim, then you can file a claim against your own insurance policy’s uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
If you are pursuing a legal claim against another driver for a motor vehicle accident, you may be concerned about the possibility of going to trial. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the chances of going to trial are exceptionally low — about 3% — with most cases settling before trial. Working with an experienced trial lawyer who is ready and willing to take your case to court can increase the likelihood of achieving a favorable settlement.
Hurt in a Car Crash? We Can Help.
After a car accident, you may be overwhelmed: unable to work, in pain, and facing mounting bills. If another driver was at fault for the collision, then you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. A Kansas City car accident lawyer can aggressively advocate for your rights and help you get the best outcome for your claim.
Since 1997, the attorneys of Wagstaff & Cartmell have represented clients who have been hurt in a range of accidents, including car crashes. We have both the experience and the knowledge to get the best possible results for our clients. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation, call us today at 816-701-1100 or email us at any time.