Category Archives: Uninsured Motorist Claim Lawyer

Hit and Run Accidents and Uninsured Motorist Coverage

In the past week, two people have been struck and killed in separate hit-and-run crashes. On Sunday night, Joseph Auffenburg, 50-years old, was struck in the northbound lanes of North Kirkwood Road in Kirkwood. Then on Wednesday morning, Roy Joseph, age 41, was discovered lying in a snow bank in the westbound lanes of Olive near River Valley Drive, the obvious victim of a hit-and-run. Police are continuing to search for clues in both deaths and are asking for the public’s help in reporting any information that could lead to the identities of the criminally-responsible drivers.

Hit-and-run fatalities have got to be among the most agonizing type of case that I handle. For family and friends of the injured or deceased, the notion that anyone could be so pathologically callous as to not stop, to not check to determine the condition, to not attempt to get what possibly could be lifesaving help—is unbearable. The grief of having a loved one taken so unexpectedly and in such a brutal and senseless manner is compounded and fueled by well-founded anger. The problem, though, is that there is no face at which to direct the rage; and as such, closure—the ability to resolve grief and eventually move on while never forgetting the person—is far more difficult to achieve.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

When a hit-and-run driver cannot be identified, issues frequently arise about how to handle insurance matters. Family members may assume that they cannot seek compensation for the death or injuries of a loved one unless they know who is responsible. This is not entirely accurate. Frequently, it is possible to recover for losses incurred in a hit-and-run crash through coverage under uninsured motorist benefits provided under the victim’s own policy. If a hit-and-run driver cannot be identified, he/she is deemed a “phantom driver”, and the injured party (or the victim’s family) can collect under his/her own policy. If the at-fault driver can be identified or is killed and had no insurance, then it is also possible to seek recovery under the victim’s policy.

All automobile insurance policies in Missouri are required to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person in uninsured motorist coverage. Benefits under most uninsured motorist provisions not only extend to the policyholder, but typically to his/her family members and passengers in the insured vehicle as well. Furthermore, uninsured motorist coverage under many plans will cover for vehicular-caused bicycle, pedestrian or bystander accidents as long as the driver of the car is uninsured.

“Stacking” Benefits

Missouri law allows an accident victim (or his/her family members, passengers, etc.) to “stack” benefits accrued under each of the policies that he/she carries. Let me explain: if a victim has several vehicles, each of which has its own policy and uninsured motorist coverage, it is possible to submit a claim to the insurance company using the coverage provided under all of these policies. If, for example, a victim has $25,000/person coverage for each of his/her two vehicles, he/she may be entitled to recover $50,000 in losses by combining or “stacking” the benefits under both plans.

Insurance Companies Cannot Raise Premiums if Claimant is Not Responsible

Frequently, clients will tell me they do not want to submit claims for losses under their own policy because they fear the insurance company will raise their premiums. This is not true. It is against the law in Missouri for insurance companies to raise premiums in cases where the claimant is not responsible for having caused the crash.

Consult with a Top Trial Lawyer Experienced in Recovering Losses for Hit-and-Run Crashes

While I pray that you and or your loved ones will never need to consult with us because of a hit-and-run crash, our top trial lawyers are here if you do. We have years of experience in recovering the compensation that you need and deserve for the unfathomable pain and suffering that you have incurred. Leaving the scene of an accident is a terrible crime. We will use all of our available legal resources to work hand-in-hand with law enforcement to identify and bring to justice the driver who is criminally responsible for your  losses. Call us at 314-409-7060 or 855-40-CRASH (toll free).

Taney County Single Car Accident

On November 7, 2013, Johni Brown was seriously injured while riding as an occupant in a 2012 Honda CBR 1000 being driven by Christopher Hill. Willard Missouri resident Christopher Brown, was driving northbound on Beach Blvd in Rockaway Beach, Missouri. As a result of the crash, Springfield resident Johni Brown was rushed to Cox South Hospital in Springfield for the treatment of her injuries. The Missouri State Highway Patrol is reporting Ms. Brown’s injuries as serious at the present time.

It is important to recognize that that single car accidents are often caused by other unidentified vehilces who leave the scene. Often there is not even any contact between the vehicles. In the State of Missouri, if you are forced to swerve to avoid another vehicle and this action causes you to crash, you have the right to bring a claim for uninsured motorist benefits, even if you are unable to locate the other driver. The State of Missouri deems this type of accident to be one which involves what is called a ‘phantom motorist’, and your injuries may be covered under your insurance policies uninsured motorist coverage.

When talking with individuals about this type of accident and coverage, many people think that because they only have liability coverage, they do not have uninsured motorist coverage. However, it is illegal in the State of Missouri for an insurance company to sell liability insurance coverage unless it contains at least $25,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. This type of coverage does not cover injuries which result if you swerve to miss a dear or other animal, only if the crash was caused by an unidentified driver. You can also bet your insurance company will not voluntarily tell you about this benefit of yours.

In a case such as this, it will all depend on the cause of the crash. If the driver of the vehicle is at fault for the wreck, the passenger will be able to seek reimbursement for her loss from the driver’s insurance company. However, if another unidentified vehicle was the cause of the car accident, both the driver and occupant may be able to seek uninsured motorist benefits for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, scarring, and other harms and losses.

For more legal advice contact a top personal injury lawyer for a FREE consultation about your legal rights. Springfield injury lawyer Chris Dixon is available to discuss your case 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (314) 409-7060, or 855-40-CRASH (toll free). Chris has helped recover over $34,000,000 for injury victims and the families of those wrongfully killed.

Missouri Uninsured Motorist Accident Information

If you were involved in a Missouri car accident or truck accident and the reckless driver had no insurance, you may still be able to seek reimbursement for your harms and losses. The State of Missouri mandates that all automobile liability insurance policies carry what is known as “uninsured motorist” coverage. Simply put, the State of Missouri attempts to protect those who are injured by other drivers who drive without insurance. While the State of Missouri also mandates that all drivers carry liability insurance in the first place, this sadly does not always happen and you may be required to use your uninsured motorist coverage.

NOTE: Make sure to know the different between and uninsured motorist and an underinsured motorist.

When Does My Uninsured Motorist Coverage Apply?

Due the fact that the State of Missouri mandates large insurance corporations to provide uninsured motorist coverage, they certainly do not like to voluntarily inform their policyholders of this benefit. For this reason, policyholders must be aware of exactly when and what their uninsured motorist insurance provides. A Missouri or St. Louis uninsured accident lawyer can be on a great deal of assistance in these situations.

Recently a client came to my office who had several policies of insurance with his company. He had multiple vehicles, boats, trailers, and his home all insured with the same company for a long time. He was a loyal customer who regularly paid his premiums for that unexpected rainy day. When that day occurred and an uninsured motorist left him severely injured, his insurance company turned him away stating that he did not carry insurance on the vehicle he was driving when the crash occurred. Finally he decided to seek the assistance of one more St. Louis personal injury lawyer before giving up all together.

Once our firm investigated the claim, we quickly discovered that there was ample insurance for his injury. (On a side note, it is extremely important in these unique situations that you hire a Missouri accident lawyer who spends all of his time practicing only Missouri personal injury law and is familiar with these complex aspects of our system) In the State of Missouri, uninsured motorist coverage is governed by public policy and this policy leans towards providing coverage.

In the example referenced above, my client was able to apply and stack his uninsured motorist coverage from his other vehicles in order to provide reimbursement for his loss. This was a large payment for an extremely severe injury despite an initial denial from the company he thought he hired to protect him. It was a payment that his insurance company would rather not have paid. They in fact went through great lengths to try to get out paying anything. They never once advised him that it was even possible to apply and stack these benefits from his other policies. Instead they sat back and took satisfaction when his previous lawyers turned down his case, thinking they were off the hook.(His previous lawyers turned down the case because they were unfamiliar with Missouri Law in this area)

In addition to the complex scenario above, there are numerous other situations in which your uninsured motorist coverage may apply after an accident with an uninsured driver. For instance, if you do not have insurance, but are living with a family member who does and you are injured by an uninsured driver, your family members uninsured motorist coverage may be available to help you pay for your medical bills and other damages. It is best to contact a Missouri personal injury attorney to determine whether or not you are able to bring a claim under an uninsured motorist policy.

How Do I Make An Uninsured Motorist Claim?

Making an uninsured motorist claim is similar to making a regular insurance claim after a car accident, once you have established that your uninsured motorist coverage applies. Your insurance company will fight you as to the amount of damages you are entitled to, despite the fact that you have always paid your monthly premiums on time. For this reason it is important that you have legal representation capable of standing up to these large corporations. At the end of the day, a jury has the last word and you do not have to accept their offer if it does not fully reimburse you for all of your harms and losses.

Contact a Missouri Uninsured Motorist Lawyer

Following any Missouri car accident, you should immediately contact an experienced injury lawyer. An injury lawyer will fight to determine if the negligent party has any liability coverage or umbrella policies which can provide money for your loss. If indeed the driver who was at fault has no liability insurance, an uninsured motorist claim may be appropriate. Uninsured motorist claims often result in jury trials in which a policy holder must file a lawsuit to hold their insurance company accountable. In order to succeed at trial, you need a qualified Missouri uninsured motorist lawyer capable of standing up to these large companies.

To discuss you case with a qualified St. Louis accident injury attorney, call 314.409.7060 or toll-free at 866.869.2590 today.