In addition to being both physically and psychologically traumatic, a car accident that results in personal injury can also be financially devastating. Every year, families here in Columbia and throughout the U.S. have to deal with these costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in a one-year time period, costs associated with medical care and productivity losses due to auto accident injuries were more than $80 billion.
If you're injured in a car accident, do you know who will cover the costs of your medical care? If you're recovering from injuries sustained in a serious car accident, the last thing you need resulting is a creditor calling your home, trying to collect payment for medical treatment that you required by no fault of your own.
In Missouri, drivers are required to carry insurance that covers them to a minimum amount of 25/50: that is, $25,000 per person for bodily injury, and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident (to be shared among all the parties injured in the car wreck). Unfortunately, all too many car accidents result in catastrophic injury and the need for extensive, long-term medical treatment - and this amount isn't nearly enough to cover those costs. Motor vehicle accident victims that suffer from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious personal injuries can require years of expensive treatment and rehabilitation, long after the policy belonging to the at-fault driver is exhausted.
If you have car insurance in Missouri, you are automatically covered by your own policy in the unfortunate event you are involved in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. Additionally, Missouri drivers have the option to purchase underinsured motorist coverage, which can provide some financial relief if you are in an accident resulting in expenses beyond what the policy of the at-fault driver can cover.
Consider this hypothetical situation: you are involved in an accident that results in $35,000 in medical bills and other expenses, but the driver at fault only has the minimal auto coverage policy required by Missouri law. The driver's insurance policy would cover only the first $25,000 of your medical expenses. However, if you had an underinsured coverage option of $100,000, there would be an additional $75,000 available under your policy to cover the remaining amount of your medical expenses, after the policy belonging to the driver at fault is exhausted. In most cases, this coverage can be added to existing policies for a minimal cost, and it can provide additional peace of mind. It can be used to cover expenses like medical bills and treatment, lost wages, and other damages resulting from a car crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Navigating the legal issues and problems involved in these kinds of cases can be overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming - especially during a time when you should be focused on your family and recovering from your injuries. If you or a family member has been involved in a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you understand the full scope of your rights and options.