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Is Missouri a Fault or No-Fault State?

June 10, 2021Car Accidents

Missouri is a fault state for auto accident claims, which means the driver responsible for causing an accident must pay for damages. Under the state’s “pure comparative fault” system, multiple parties can be at fault, and their degree of liability determines how claims are settled.

Understanding Missouri Insurance Coverage

Drivers are required to carry minimum amounts of auto insurance called liability insurance. The minimum amounts required in Missouri are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
  • $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability
  • $25,000/$50,000 uninsured motorist coverage

The policy covers the losses that other drivers or passengers suffer due to the policyholder’s actions or inactions. Liability insurance does not pay for the policyholder’s losses when they are responsible for them. Still, there are other optional forms of car insurance available to carry, such as collision or comprehensive coverage.

The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Insurance Coverage

At-fault states, such as Missouri, place the blame and financial responsibility on individuals. First, it must be determined which driver was at fault; then, you can decide whether to file an accident claim with your own insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurer. If another driver is to blame, you have the right to seek the total amount of compensation you are entitled to from their insurance company. This can include medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.

When a liability insurance policy does not cover all of a victim’s damages in a fault state, they have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party for additional compensation. That is why it is essential to have proper auto insurance in place that offers enough protection.

In a no-fault state, a driver’s auto insurance policy will cover the costs of their collision up to the policy limits regardless of who was to blame. There are only a limited number of circumstances in which an accident victim can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company in a no-fault state.

What If the Accident Was Partly My Fault?

If you are partially to blame for your car accident, Missouri’s pure comparative negligence rule will determine how much compensation you can recover. Under this law, a percentage of fault is assigned to each driver, which reduces their payment accordingly. For example, if you are awarded $20,000 and found 30 percent at fault, you will receive 70 percent or $14,000.

Missouri’s “No Pay, No Play” Car Insurance Law

The Missouri State Senate passed the “No Pay, No Play” law in 2013, which states that uninsured drivers waive their right to collect non-economic damages. This means that if an accident occurs and you do not have liability insurance, you cannot receive compensation for physical pain, emotional distress, and mental suffering.

Even if you borrow a friend’s car and neither you nor your friend carries auto insurance, your recovery will be limited by this law. There are a few exceptions to the “No Pay, No Play” rule, such as if the driver who caused the accident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. An attorney can advise you on whether this law applies to your unique situation.

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If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident, Goldblatt + Singer can help. We provide free consultations; talk to our St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer today.

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