Car accidents can be traumatic and overwhelming events, and the situation becomes even more complex when an uninsured motorist is involved. Branson, Missouri, known for its picturesque landscapes and tourist attractions, is no stranger to road accidents. In this article, we will explore 8 topics about what happens if an uninsured motorist hits you in Branson and the legal and financial consequences that may follow.
- Reporting the Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, whether it’s with an insured or uninsured motorist, the first step is to report the accident. You should immediately contact local law enforcement, typically the Branson Police Department, to report the accident. This is crucial as it creates an official record of the incident, which may be important later for insurance claims and legal proceedings.
- Seeking Medical Attention
Your well-being is paramount, so if you or anyone else involved in the accident requires medical attention, call for an ambulance or seek immediate medical help. It’s essential to document any injuries and receive proper medical treatment, even if you initially feel fine, as some injuries may not manifest immediately.
- Exchange Information
As with any car accident, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other party involved. In the case of an uninsured motorist, gather as much information as possible, including their name, contact information, and vehicle details. This information will be crucial when pursuing compensation through alternative means.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company promptly to report the accident and begin the claims process. In Missouri, all drivers are required to carry minimum liability insurance coverage. If you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM) as part of your motorcycle insurance policy, it can provide protection in cases like these. This motorcycle insurance coverage can help pay for your medical expenses, property damage, and other losses caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Missouri
Missouri law mandates that all auto insurance policies must include uninsured motorist coverage unless the policyholder explicitly rejects it in writing. Uninsured motorist coverage normally consists of two sections:
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): This covers your medical expenses and lost wages if you are injured by an uninsured motorist.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UMPD): This covers property damage to your vehicle caused by an uninsured motorist.
- Filing a Lawsuit
If the uninsured motorist coverage is not sufficient to cover your losses or if you do not have such coverage, you may consider filing a lawsuit against the uninsured driver. This can be a challenging process, as uninsured drivers often lack the financial means to compensate you fully. You may win a judgment in court, but collecting on that judgment can be difficult.
Before pursuing legal action, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess the feasibility of your case and guide you through the legal process.
- Collecting a Judgment
Winning a lawsuit against an uninsured motorist is one thing, but actually collecting the awarded damages can be a daunting task. The court may grant you a judgment, but it’s your responsibility to collect it. Some options for collecting a judgment in Missouri include:
- Wage Garnishment: You can request the court to garnish the uninsured motorist’s wages to satisfy the judgment.
- Asset Seizure: If the uninsured motorist has valuable assets, you can ask the court to seize and sell these assets to pay the judgment.
- Payment Plan: Negotiating a payment plan with the uninsured motorist, supervised by the court, may be an option.
- Third-Party Collection Agencies: You can hire a collection agency to pursue the judgment on your behalf, though this may involve additional costs.
- Seeking Legal Assistance
Navigating the legal process after an accident with an uninsured motorist can be complicated and time-consuming. Seeking legal assistance from a knowledgeable attorney is advisable. They can help you assess your options, negotiate with insurance companies, file a lawsuit if necessary, and take the appropriate steps to recover your losses.
Being involved in a car accident with an uninsured motorist in Branson, MO, can be a challenging and frustrating experience. However, it’s essential to remain calm and take the necessary steps to protect your rights and seek compensation for your losses. Reporting the accident, seeking medical attention, contacting your insurance company, and consulting with an attorney are crucial steps in this process.
Uninsured motorist coverage plays a vital role in providing financial protection in such situations, but it’s essential to understand your policy’s terms and limitations.
Ultimately, while recovering from a car accident with an uninsured motorist may present challenges, pursuing the appropriate legal avenues can help you achieve the compensation you deserve.
Reach out to our Branson insurance experts today for personalized guidance on uninsured motorist coverage. Your financial security matters.