A young adult recently came in looking for help after a car crash. She was despondent. She’d been involved in a collision, her first. She was hurting, frustrated and annoyed. Her injuries required significant care and caused her to miss time from work. Costs mounted. To make matters worse, she’d recently learned the driver who caused the crash didn’t have insurance.
Unfortunately, we see this situation a lot. No doubt, this scenario is frustrating. Missouri law requires all drivers and vehicle owners maintain liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance covers one’s legal liability when harms and losses happen as a result of a driver’s negligence. Missouri law requires a driver have liability insurance providing at least $25,000 of coverage for each person injured in a crash.
Nevertheless, the Missouri Department of Revenue reports that thousands of Missouri citizens are involved in collisions each year involving drivers who fail to keep the required insurance. In such a case you may make a claim under the uninsured motor vehicle coverage provided by the policy you purchased to protect you.
Uninsured motor vehicle coverage provides benefits when you’re involved in a crash caused by another motorist who didn’t have insurance. Insurers are required to include uninsured motor vehicle coverage on all automobile insurance policies sold in Missouri. Again, policies must have at least $25,000 of coverage for each injured person.
Many of our clients express some level of hesitance about bringing a claim against their insurer. Most folks believe it’s unfair. We regularly hear: “Why should my insurer pay? It was the other guy’s fault!” We then educate our clients about the purpose of insurance and the benefits available to them because of money they spent. At that point most clients remark something to the tune of: “OK, but what about me? Will my rates go up?”
No, your rates will not go up because Missouri law protects you. An insurer cannot raise its rates because its insured made a claim against a policy for injuries or property damage resulting from a crash for which the insured is not responsible. State regulation directs: “In no event shall an insurer request an increase in premium from any insured in connection with any claim arising out of any accident for which the insured was not at fault.” 20 CSR 500-2.600(3).
In sum, there is absolutely no reason to not pursue a claim against your motor vehicle insurance policy when the at-fault driver is uninsured. Of course, these claims – called first-party claims – do demand particular expertise. Insurance policies are contracts. And, the injured person must comply with every policy provision to make a successful claim under the insurance contract. Not all lawyers are familiar with these claims and the steps necessary to press the matter. When interviewing potential personal injury attorneys to represent you, be sure to ask about their experience handling first-party insurance claims.
About the firm
Casey, Devoti & Brockland is a St. Louis-based law firm focused exclusively on personal injury litigation. Since 1983, our attorneys have helped injured people navigate the road to recovery by securing compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages. Together Partners Matt Casey, Matt Devoti and Anne Brockland have nearly 50 years of trial experience handling the following personal injury matters: car, truck and train crashes, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice, birth injuries, JUUL and e-cigarette litigation, product liability, premises liability, elder and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation and wrongful death. We proudly serve clients throughout metropolitan St. Louis, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
Our highly accessible attorneys deliver the perfect balance of aggressive legal representation, compassion and personal service. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, call the office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.