Most states, including Missouri, require drivers to carry a minimum of auto liability insurance. However, that does not mean that all drivers comply. In the event you are involved in an accident with such a driver, navigating the aftermath can be complex. While there are insurance products that protect drivers in this case, lacking these coverages might require you to file suit against the negligent motorist. 

What is uninsured motorist coverage? 

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you when in an accident with a driver lacking insurance coverage, but also protects you if a driver lacks a sufficient amount of liability coverage. For example, if the costs for lost wages, medical treatment, pain and suffering, property damage, or even funeral expenses exceed the limit of the other driver’s liability coverage, the insurance company will fail to compensate you. 

There are a few different types of uninsured motorist coverage drivers can implement. Uninsured coverage protects drivers in accidents with drivers who completely lack coverage, while underinsured coverage protects against drivers who lack the right amount of insurance. These protections can offer compensation for bodily injury and property damage. 

What happens if I lack this coverage at the time of an accident? 

In the event you are without the proper insurance coverage and find yourself involved in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver, you may need to file a lawsuit to recoup your losses. In this case, the steps you take immediately following the accident are crucial to the outcome of the case. 

Even if there are no major injuries, contact the police. Law enforcement will secure the scene to prevent additional accidents or injuries from occurring. Law enforcement will also complete a police report, which you can request a copy of for your lawsuit. Be to request a copy of the report at the scene and make note of the officer’s name and badge number in case further information is needed. 

It is also recommended that you document the scene in other ways. Take pictures of the street where the accident took place, as well as damage to your vehicle. Also, take note of the time of day the accident occurred, as well as the traffic conditions. If bystanders are present, ask for their names and phone numbers so they can provide witness testimony if needed.