After a car accident, you have lots of things to take care of. Car repair. Medical expenses for yourself and possibly a family member. You may be out of work for a while, so you may also have lost wages.
You may also get a call from an insurance adjuster offering you a settlement, maybe even the day after your accident. But how do you know if that settlement will be enough to cover everything? Chances are it probably isn’t, and you don’t have to accept a substandard amount. Don’t agree to or sign anything until you’ve spoken to a KC car accident attorney.
Anything you can recover for after an accident is covered by the term “damages.” This can be anything from your damaged iPhone to medical and repair expenses. The most common damages after a car accident are:
- Car repair
- Medical bills, past, and future
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Damage and diminished value to your vehicle
- Destroyed or damaged property in the vehicle (i.e., cell phone, etc.)
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
- Other related expenses
This isn’t a complete list, and of course, not all of them will apply to every car accident. Your health insurance can cover some, if not most of the current medical expenses. But if your future involves disability from a car accident, you’ll need additional compensation to continue your care if you no longer have your health insurance from your job.
You Must Report The Accident
Of course, you must tell your insurance company as soon as possible. While it’s not law to do so, you may be breaching the contract you signed with the insurer.
Missouri requires that an accident must be reported under the following conditions:
· With an uninsured motorist on any publicly available street, highway, parking lot or other parking facility
· Where more than $500 of damage has been sustained to either property or a person, or if any person is injured or killed.
· If you are the owner or operator of a vehicle that was involved, and more than $500 in damages was sustained, or an individual was injured or killed and the other party was uninsured, you must report the accident.
· An owner of a parked car involved in an accident where damage to a person or property exceeds $500, or someone is injured or killed, must also report the accident.
The accident must be reported in writing within 30 days of the date of the accident to the Missouri Department of Revenue using the official car accident report form for the state of Missouri. If you are unable to do so within 30 days of the accident due to injuries, you’ll need a doctor’s certificate to certify that you were physically incapable of reporting the accident in a timely fashion.
Statute Of Limitations
Unlike most states that have a two or three-year window for filing claims, Missouri’s statute of limitations is five years (Missouri Revised Statutes § 516.120.) This includes any claims for property damage, such as damage to your vehicle, as well as if there are any injuries. If you don’t file your claim before the five-year mark, your case will be dismissed.
This statute of limitations only applies to filing a lawsuit, not filing claims with insurance companies. However, you should file claims with insurance first, leaving plenty of time for you or your lawyer to negotiate settlements, and file a lawsuit if it becomes necessary.
Things change slightly if a wrongful death occurs during a car accident. The statute of limitations for the wrongful death claim is only three years from the date of death, but not necessarily the date of the accident. If an individual was injured on Monday but died on Friday, the three-year period starts on Friday. If the date of death is three months after the date of the accident, that’s when the three-year period will begin.
Call KC’s Expert Car Accident Attorneys
The time after a car crash can be difficult and confusing. Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you, and don’t try to settle a complicated case by yourself. They don’t have your best interests at heart. Call us first!
The Popham Law Firm has helped hundreds of people in all kinds of accident cases. We’ll be happy to review your case, let you know if you have one, and how to proceed. Contact us today at (844) 243-2288 to get started. The call is free, and so is the consultation, with no obligation.