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Major car accident with lots of damage to cars

Should I Use My Own Insurance
After a Car Wreck?

Biesterveld & Crook, LLC April 27, 2022

Each year in Kansas, there are over 130,000 people who are involved in a car accident, either as the driver or passenger of a car—or as a pedestrian. While the majority of these people are physically unharmed, they still must contend with insurance companies if there was any property damage. Sadly, the ones who are injured in these accidents have a much longer road ahead of them.

Whatever situation you’re in, you should know what to expect after an accident and under what circumstances you would go through your own insurance compared with the other driver’s insurance. At Biesterveld & Crook, LLC, we focus solely on personal injury cases and can help you navigate the difficult and stressful process of filing an insurance claim and recovering damages. We’re proud to serve individuals in Overland Park as well as Jackson County, Missouri, and Douglas, Shawnee, and Johnson Counties in Kansas, as well as all of Kansas City Metro. Call us today to schedule a consultation.

Car Accidents in Kansas & Missouri

If you live in the Kansas City area, you’ll need to be aware of the different laws in Kansas and Missouri. Specifically, Kansas is a no-fault state and Missouri is an at-fault state. If you get into an accident in a no-fault insurance state, you will first need to go through your own insurance provider to seek damages, no matter who caused the accident. Note that this only applies to property damage. In the case of bodily injury, Kansas acts as an at-fault state. In an at-fault state like Missouri, after an accident, you’ll seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance, typically in addition to your own.

Auto Liability Insurance Requirements
In Kansas & Missouri

Any no-fault state (including Kansas) requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which covers damages like medical costs, lost income, or rehabilitation for the driver or passengers regardless of fault. Drivers must first use this coverage before seeking compensation from the other driver. In some cases, PIP will be enough to cover your expenses, but depending on the severity of the accident, it may not be sufficient. This is especially true if your car was totaled because PIP does not cover property damage.

Missouri does not require drivers to carry PIP, so you will almost always have to determine fault before you can start to seek compensation. The only requirements that Missouri drivers have are liability coverage and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. This can pay for medical expenses, property damage, other costs related to the accident, and coverage if the other driver was uninsured.

How is Fault Determined
After a Car Accident?

Determining fault is one of the most important aspects of an insurance claim, and this will look a little different in each state. For any claim, you will be assigned an insurance adjuster who will look at the details of your case, gather statements from both drivers and any witnesses, examine evidence regarding your property and injuries (which is why seeking medical attention immediately after your accident is always a good idea), then determine the amount of liability each driver holds.

What each state does with this information is slightly different. Missouri is a “pure comparative” negligence state and Kansas is a “comparative negligence” state. In Missouri, this means fault can be shared by both drivers regardless of the proportions. For example, if you are only found to be 20% at fault for the accident occurring, your awarded damages will be reduced by 20% to reflect your share of liability. Even if you were found to be 90% at fault for the accident, you can still file a claim, but you can only seek the 10% of damages that you weren’t responsible for. In Kansas, fault can also be shared—but only up to 50%. If you are found to be liable for over half of the accident occurring, you are barred from seeking any damages from the at-fault driver.

Will I Receive Compensation From the Insurance Company if I File a Claim?

There is no way to determine who will or will not receive compensation until an investigation is completed. The best way to ensure your chances of receiving an adequate settlement is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you negotiate with the insurance adjuster, gather evidence, prepare your personal statement, and if necessary, file a lawsuit.

You will also need to pay attention to the statute of limitations for each state to ensure your claim is made in a timely manner. In Kansas, you have two years to file a claim. In Missouri, you have five years to file a claim—but the longer you wait. the more difficult your case may become.

How a Knowledgeable Attorney Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you’re unsure of which insurance provider to use or whether to file a personal injury claim, our attorneys at Biesterveld & Crook, LLC can help. If you’re in the Overland Park, Kansas area, or anywhere in Kansas City, call us today to start discussing your options.