The aftermath of an accident can be a time of confusion and pain, especially if the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to fully compensate you. In such a situation, you may have an underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance claim against your own car insurer. A St. Louis uninsured motorist lawyer at Bradley Law can help you learn about your rights and options and move forward with an Underinsured Motorist (UIM) insurance claim. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

When Is a Driver Underinsured in St Louis?

In Missouri, an at-fault driver is underinsured when their insurance coverage won’t cover the total costs of damages and injuries resulting from an accident. If you’re the victim hoping to recover an insurance settlement, discovering that the responsible driver is underinsured can be worrying.

However, your own insurance can go some way to reimburse you for the damages. According to Missouri law, all drivers in the state must maintain minimum liability coverage as follows: $25,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $25,000 per accident for property damage.

That said, if you are seriously injured or your loved one is killed in a crash, your damages will likely far exceed these minimums. When this is the case, the path to recovering compensation can be complex and lengthy. Consult a St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer to learn about your next best steps.

Recovering Compensation in an Accident with an Underinsured Driver

Since recovering adequate compensation from an underinsured driver can be tricky, you will want to identify all potential alternatives, which may include the following:

  • Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This is an optional part of your auto insurance policy and kicks in when the at-fault driver’s coverage is insufficient to pay for your damages. It typically covers both injuries and property damage.
  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: If someone else caused your car crash, you can typically file a personal injury lawsuit against the underinsured driver seeking damages.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay): This is optional coverage as part of your car accident policy and can help cover your medical expenses regardless of who is at fault in the accident.
  • Collision or Comprehensive Coverage: Like MedPay, these are optional coverages that can help pay to repair or replace your vehicle after an accident.
  • Third-Party Compensation Claim: In some cases, responsibility may fall on a third party, such as an employer, manufacturer, or government entity. You could then file a lawsuit against the responsible third party and seek compensation.

If you were hurt in an accident with an underinsured motorist, you’ll need to uncover all potential avenues for recovering damages. A St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer can determine the options best suited to your specific situation and help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Third-Parties May Be Responsible for Your Accident Damages

Man writing insurance claim in front of car tireSometimes, suing an underinsured driver won’t yield results, even if you win. They may not have the assets and financial resources to adequately compensate you. This is when it’s essential to work with a skilled St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer who can analyze your accident to determine whether any third-party liability factored into the crash. Here’s who may be liable:

  • Employers: If the at-fault driver is operating a vehicle as part of their job duties at the time of the crash, an employer could be held liable. This is based on the legal principle of “vicarious liability,” which holds employers responsible for the actions of their employees while they’re on work time.
  • Vehicle Manufacturers: If a vehicle defect, such as faulty brakes or steering, contributed to the accident, a vehicle maker or part manufacturer could be responsible for your damages.
  • Government Entities: Local government bodies responsible for designing or maintaining roads could be liable for creating unsafe driving conditions. This could include a lack of signage, overgrown vegetation, potholes, and other defects.
  • Businesses: Bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to a visibly intoxicated patron could potentially be held liable if the drunk driver caused your accident. This is known as “dram shop” liability.
  • Construction Companies: Construction companies may be liable for accidents if they neglect to erect proper signage or barricade a construction zone, causing a crash.
  • Vehicle Owners: If the vehicle owner entrusts their vehicle to an incompetent or unlicensed driver who causes an accident, the owner could be responsible for your damages.

Third-party liability lawsuits can be challenging. Proving liability may require compelling evidence and statements from technical experts. Working with an experienced attorney can give you the best chance of prevailing and receiving fair compensation in a third-party lawsuit.

Compensation You Could Recover

When you’re hurt in an accident caused by another, whether an underinsured driver or a third party, you could qualify for damages. While every accident is different and damages vary, here are some examples of what you could receive:

  • Medical Expenses: Medical expenses can include emergency care, surgeries, ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, and future healthcare costs related to the accident.
  • Lost Wages: If you cannot work due to your injuries, you could receive payments for lost income and loss of future earning capacity.
  • Pain and Suffering: You may be entitled to compensation for any physical pain and emotional distress due to the accident.
  • Reduced Life Quality: If severely injured, you could qualify for damages for your loss of life quality. This can include loss of companionship, emotional distress, or the inability to participate in hobbies or activities you previously enjoyed.
  • Property Damage: Property damage covers repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other property damaged or destroyed in the accident.

However, recovering the compensation you need can be tough. The underinsured driver’s insurance policy may not cover all your losses, especially if you have high damages. You may need to file a claim with your own insurance company under their underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage and file a lawsuit.

Why You Need a St. Louis Underinsured Motorist Lawyer

Man photographing car accidentHandling a straightforward claim alone may be possible if you have no injuries and limited car damage. However, if you were significantly injured or a loved one died, you need a strong advocate who can fight for what you deserve and guide you through the legal process. Here’s how a St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer can help:

Understanding Legal and Insurance Procedures

Our attorneys know how to tackle underinsured motorist accident cases and understand the complexities of insurance claims. They can determine who is responsible for your accident and damages and negotiate strongly with an insurance company, aiming for full and fair compensation.

Determining the Worth of Your Case

Victims often underestimate the extent of their damages, such as future medical costs and income losses. Moreover, calculating intangible losses like pain and suffering can be tricky. Our attorneys know how to determine the full value of your claim. They’ll assess all the injury’s impacts on your life, including your career and quality of life.

Leveling the Playing Field

Without effective and assertive legal representation, you may find yourself at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance companies, at-fault drivers, and third parties. A St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer can stand up to large insurers and businesses and help you get justice. They can also represent you in court and argue your case convincingly before a judge or jury.

Perhaps most importantly, having an experienced lawyer by your side can give you the reassurance you need during this challenging time and take some of the burdens off your shoulders.


How much does a St. Louis underinsured motorist lawyer charge?

The cost of hiring a personal injury lawyer can vary depending on the specifics of the case and the law firm. However, most personal injury attorneys work with a contingency fee, meaning they only charge if they win the case and you receive compensation. The fee is typically a percentage of the compensation received.

Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers never charge you upfront. We only get paid when you get paid.

Should I accept the insurance company’s settlement offer?

Speaking to an attorney before accepting an insurance company’s settlement offer is advisable. In some cases, insurers make quick settlement offers in the hope you will accept and go away.

As tempting as it seems to accept an early offer, the amount may not be enough to cover all your damages, such as healthcare costs, now and in the future. Therefore, it is always best to protect yourself by seeking legal advice.

When should I file a lawsuit after an accident?

Knowing when to file a lawsuit can be tricky. On one hand, it is best to wait until you’ve recovered from your injuries or reached maximum medical improvement. This allows your doctor and attorney to estimate your future expenses, such as medical costs and wage losses, as accurately as possible.

On the other hand, you must file within Missouri’s statute of limitations or risk losing the right to compensation. According to Missouri Revised Statutes section 516.120, you have five years from the date of the accident and injury to file a lawsuit. However, certain factors could shorten this timeline, such as having a claim against a government entity. Protect yourself and contact an attorney to determine the best timing for your lawsuit.

Our St. Louis Underinsured Motorist Lawyer Team Fights for the Compensation You Deserve

Recovering what you need to rebuild your life after an accident with an underinsured motorist can be tricky. Bradley Law can help you understand your legal options and pursue maximum compensation so you can get back on your feet physically, emotionally, and financially. Contact us now for a free case review to determine your next best steps.