St. Louis Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Accident Attorney
Help when you’re injured in a crash with an uninsured driver in MO or IL
Everyone driving a vehicle on the road, whether it’s a car, truck, or motorcycle, should have insurance. However, the key word here is “should.” Even though insurance is mandatory, it doesn’t mean that every person follows the law or keeps up on their payments, and you may have the unfortunate experience of being hit by an uninsured (or underinsured) driver. When this happens, how do you secure compensation for your losses?
If you’re in an accident with a negligent driver who lacks adequate insurance coverage — or none at all — you shouldn’t have to shoulder that financial burden alone. At The Hayden Law Firm, we can help. Using a system of trust, approachability, and mutual understanding, we listen to every detail of your case and determine the best route for recovering the compensation you deserve. We understand how to negotiate and work with insurance companies that try to lowball your settlement or even deny it altogether. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation. We serve the greater St. Louis area and Illinois.
What are the uninsured/underinsured motorist laws in Missouri?
There are an alarming number of uninsured drivers on our state’s roads. Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that about 16 percent of drivers in Missouri are doing so without insurance. In order to protect the general public against these irresponsible drivers, the state government has enacted uninsured motorist laws. According to the law, an uninsured motorist includes:
- An uninsured driver who is the owner of the vehicle
- An uninsured permissive driver of the vehicle
- Any uninsured nonpermissive driver
It is also worth noting that an uninsured driver waives their right to take legal action against an at-fault driver in an auto accident.
Missouri insurance law dictates that anyone who operates a motor vehicle should have an insurance policy that contains at least $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. This means if you are injured by a reckless driver who does not have auto insurance, your uninsured motorist coverage should pay for all or a portion of your injuries, lost wages, and other damages sustained in the car crash.
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What happens when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance?
If the driver who caused your accident didn’t have insurance – or left the scene of the accident – your first step should be to get in touch with a St. Louis personal injury attorney to determine your next actions.
There are typically two ways to go about this in an uninsured/underinsured motorist crash:
- Suing the uninsured or underinsured motorist. However, whether or not this is an available option will depend upon the at-fault driver’s income and assets.
- Filing a first-party claim against your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. You may also make a claim against your own insurance company to recover damages. This works the same as if you were pursuing the other driver’s insurance company in order to receive the medical care, financial recovery, and other costs you are owed for an accident that was not your fault.
Your uninsured motorist accident attorney can help you file this sort of claim.
What is the difference between an uninsured and an underinsured driver?
An uninsured motorist is someone who lacks any type of auto insurance, perhaps because they let their policy lapse or because they never purchased liability coverage to begin with.
An underinsured driver is someone who has some amount of auto insurance, but not enough to cover the costs of your injuries and losses. Missouri law mandates that all drivers carry no less than $25,000 of liability insurance per person, and $50,000 per accident. The 25/50 liability mandate is the minimum requirement that one must have to be “legal” in Missouri.
For example, if you were involved in a devastating accident with a reckless driver who had only the minimum 25/50 insurance limit, you are entitled to $25,000 from their insurance company. However, your injuries required an emergency room visit that used up most of this amount and you still have ongoing treatments and physical therapy.
You now bear the burden to pay anything past $25,000, including your medical bills, lost wages, future medical care, and other damages. In cases like these, however, your underinsured motorist coverage may kick in to cover the rest.
But this is where underinsured motorist claims differ from uninsured motorist claims and can often get quite complicated. Uninsured motorist coverage is mandated by the State of Missouri, and therefore governed by public policy. Underinsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, is governed by the terms of the contract and insurance you purchased. One mistake in following the terms of the contract and you may forfeit your right to pursue an underinsured motorist claim.
This is why you need The Hayden Law Firm on your side. We know how to safeguard your rights and protect your best interests.
How do I file an uninsured motorist claim in St. Louis?
The best route in many cases may be to make a claim against your own insurance company to recover damages. You should be covered up to $25,000 in Missouri for uninsured motorist claims — but we know that the insurance company may not always play fair.
As a responsible driver yourself who makes diligent payments to your insurance company, you want to believe that they will be there for you during this trying time; however, this is not always the case. At The Hayden Law Firm, we see far too many instances in which the insurance company refuses to pay innocent, hardworking people that suffered an accident that was out of their control. We can help.
If your insurance company refuses to pay what you are owed, or is arguing that they only have to pay a percentage of your costs, then you should speak with an uninsured motorist lawyer in St. Louis, MO, to immediately protect your claim.
How can a St. Louis uninsured/underinsured motorist attorney help me?
Whether you are pursuing a lawsuit against the negligent party or you’re filing a first-party claim against your own insurance for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, you need The Hayden Law Firm on your side. With over 15 years of experience at the negotiation table, we combine business acumen with personal injury skills to succeed in the most complicated legal disputes against insurance companies.
In some cases, insurance companies may use predetermined formulas to calculate your damages, which may not properly reflect all of your emotional distress and physical pain. Further, in far too many cases, insurance policies have a maze of disclaimers and reasons why they say coverage is not provided at all. This is unacceptable to us, and we work to secure the compensation to which you are entitled.
If your insurance company refuses to reimburse you for the full amount required to cover all your damages, hope is not lost. It is crucial, however, that you have a personal injury lawyer who is able to navigate complex legal documents in order to seek fair and just compensation. Do not fall into the false sense of security that your insurance company is looking out for your best interests. They are a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason. At The Hayden Law Firm, we look out for you.
We get you the results you need when you need them most.
St. Louis uninsured/underinsured motorist lawyer
If you are hit by and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, it is important to get an experienced attorney on your side. At The Hayden Law Firm, we know how to handle insurance companies when they deny or lowball your claim. Let us help. Please call our offices at 314-480-3100 or fill out our contact form for a free, no-risk consultation. We are based in St. Louis, Missouri, but our firm proudly serves clients throughout Missouri and Illinois.