The aftermath of a car accident is chaotic, and in addition, there are specific rules, laws, and insurance procedures that must be followed. The car accident laws in Kansas City will determine important factors, such as who is responsible for your damages and how long you have to file a lawsuit.
Goza & Honnold are car accident lawyers in Kansas City who will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Missouri is a Fault-Based Insurance State
When an accident occurs in Missouri, someone takes the blame. That is because Missouri is a “fault” state. Each party’s insurance company pays for car accident damages according to their policyholder’s degree of fault. The motorist who caused the accident is responsible for any resulting damages to whoever was injured.
A person involved in a car accident who suffers property damage and/or an injury has the right to proceed in one of three ways:
- Filing a claim with their own auto insurer (as long as they have collision coverage). Their insurer will then file a subrogation claim against the at-fault party’s insurer for reimbursement.
- Filing a claim directly with the at-fault driver’s auto insurer (known as a third-party claim).
- Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.
In “no-fault” car insurance states, victims must file a claim with their own insurer regardless of fault.
Kansas City Car Insurance Requirements
By law, all drivers in Missouri must carry liability car insurance coverage and uninsured motorist coverage (UM). The minimum amounts of liability car insurance coverage required by law are:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person
- $50,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
- $10,000 for property damage per accident
The at-fault driver’s liability coverage should cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other accident-related expenses up to the policy’s limits. If your damages exceed policy limits, your only option is to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver personally. UM coverage can protect you in the event of a hit-and-run accident or if the liable party does not have insurance.
Comparative Negligence Law
In the process of dealing with your car accident claim, you may come across Missouri’s rule of “pure comparative negligence.” This law allows parties to recover compensation even if they are 99% percent responsible for a collision. However, their compensation is diminished based on their assigned percentage of fault for contributing to the accident. If the at-fault driver alleges you also caused the crash, and if the courts find you partially responsible, your award will be reduced accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 and found 40% at fault, you will receive 60% of your award or $60,000. If you are assigned 80% of the blame, you will receive 20% or $20,000, and so on.
Accident Reporting in Kansas City
Under Missouri law (Missouri Revised Statutes section 303.040), you must notify law enforcement of a car accident in Kansas City if:
- A person is injured or killed.
- There is more than $500 in property damage to any one person.
- The accident involves a parked vehicle, and the owner can’t be immediately contacted.
- Your insurance company requires it.
Time Limits for Filing a Car Accident Claim
The state has established a time limit for car accident victims to file a Kansas City personal injury lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. Any party injured in a collision has up to five years to pursue a claim. However, if the accident caused a fatality, the victim’s loved ones have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a Kansas City car accident, contact the attorneys at Goza & Honnold, LLC today!