Whether you drive in Cape Girardeau, the Bootheel, or Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the odds are good that uninsured drivers are traveling on your roadways. As the economy continues to struggle, many people remain uninsured or underinsured. The Butler County car accident attorneys want to make sure Missourians understand that driving without insurance is not only foolish (and illegal): in the event of a car accident, it puts a serious financial strain on everyone involved.
Between June 2010 and June 2011, there were over 6,000 traffic accidents in Missouri that involved an uninsured motorist. This problem is an expensive one for all Missourians: the victims of these accidents are left with medical bills and property damage caused by someone who can't pay, and the cost of insurance (and medical treatment) keeps rising to compensate for accidents involving uninsured and underinsured drivers.
Missouri State Insurance Laws
Part of the Missouri Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law requires that drivers have liability and property damage automobile insurance. The state required minimums are as follows:
However, these amounts are very low, especially when you compare them to the costs often associated with an injury accident. Missouri drivers who only carry the minimum insurance requirements, while legal to drive, are underinsured: these minimum dollar amounts do not provide enough funds to fairly compensate a accident victim who suffers a significant injury.
How Big is The Problem?
In 2010, the Missouri State Highway Patrol issued 22,000 citations to people who did not have proof of insurance. However, sometimes an insurance card isn't reliable proof of coverage. One common scam is to purchase a six month policy, but only pay the premium for one month: the insurance card appears valid, but in fact, the policy has lapsed. This kind of deception suggests that the number of uninsured drivers is likely higher than the number of citations issued might indicate.
Most people understand that not carrying insurance is against the law. But they also want (and need) to save money. So, they reason, it makes sense to downgrade their coverage to the state minimum, or to let their existing policy lapse. What's more, Insurance policies can be difficult to understand, which makes it even easier for a financially-strapped driver to rationalize that he doesn't really need coverage. In this economy, some drivers have decided that paying for a policy is like throwing your money away.
Why You Need Car Insurance
In the first quarter of 2011, 6,618 people were killed in car accidents nationwide: that's three people every hour. The number of people injured every hour is much, much higher. The chances are good that you will need car insurance at some point. When you do need it, and you don't have it, everybody else has to pay.
The Southeast Missouri car accident lawyers work with people injured in car accidents, including the victims of uninsured drivers. For more information, or to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call 1-888-777-AUTO.