Missouri Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits
An overview of Missouri laws that could come into play in any car accident settlement or lawsuit for personal injury.
This page provides a guide to all of the Missouri-specific resources available on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, including discussion of the different state laws and auto insurance requirements that could affect a car accident settlement or lawsuit in the state. We’ll also provide tips on when it may be time to contact a Missouri lawyer for help with your car accident claim.
Missouri Car Accident Laws
If you decide to file a third party car insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver after a car accident in Missouri, there are a few state laws you need to be aware of, starting with the time limit for getting a car accident lawsuit started in civil court (called a statute of limitations).
Missouri’s statute of limitations gives an injured person a fairly generous five years after the occurrence of an injury (the date of a car accident, for example) to get the lawsuit started -- a step that usually consists of filing the initial complaint and summons in civil court.
The five-year filing deadline is the same whether your lawsuit is for personal injury or for vehicle damage. You can find this law codified at Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.120.
If you don’t get your complaint filed before Missouri’s five-year deadline passes, the court will refuse to hear your case altogether. Why does this deadline matter even if you think your case is going to settle out of court? You always want to leave open the option of filing a lawsuit, not just for leverage in settlement negotiations, but also to make sure you can turn to the court system for a remedy if settlement doesn’t offer a satisfactory solution.
Get details on other Missouri laws that could impact your car accident case in our article Car Accident Laws in Missouri.
Missouri Car Insurance Requirements and Rules
Car insurance coverage is sure to play a big role if you’re filing a lawsuit or seeking a settlement for injury or vehicle damage after a car accident in Missouri. Here is a quick snapshot of some key Missouri car insurance laws.
- Missouri drivers are required to carry at least the following amounts of insurance on any vehicle they own and operate: $25,000 per person for bodily injuries suffered in an accident, $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries, when more than one person is hurt, and $10,000 per accident for property damage.
- Uninsured motorist coverage is a required part of any car insurance policy that is issued in Missouri, but underinsured motorist coverage is optional. Learn the difference, and how these coverages can protect you, in our Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance topic.
For more details on car insurance in Missouri, check out our companion article Missouri Car Insurance Rules.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Missouri
You don’t necessarily need a lawyer for every claim you decide to make after a car accident. For example, in a situation where the other driver’s insurance carrier isn’t disputing that its insured was at fault for the crash, you suffered only minor injuries, and the settlement seems more than fair, it’s probably fine to handle that kind of claim yourself.
But what if the other driver’s insurer is saying that you caused the car accident? Or what if you suffered serious injuries and the insurer is balking at the costs of your treatment? In those situations, things can get complicated (not to mention contentious) very quickly, and it may be time to discuss your situation with a local car accident lawyer in Missouri. Remember that most lawyers will take a car accident case on a contingency basis, meaning that the lawyer only gets paid a percentage of any successful settlement or court award.
A good attorney knows how to successfully navigate not just the back-and-forth of settlement negotiations with car insurance adjusters, but also the car accident lawsuit process if your case proceeds to Missouri civil court.