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Category Archive: Underinsured Motor Vehicle Claims

  1. Winter Conditions Require More Cautious Driving

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    According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, two people were killed in a crash on an icy Missouri highway when one driver lost control of his vehicle and slid into the path of the second victim’s vehicle.  The accident happened on the morning of December 29, 2015.  As drivers in Missouri and Illinois know, winter conditions require more cautious driving.  Personal injury lawyers in the St. Louis area see far too many accidents each year that could have been avoided with just a few small precautions.

    The Missouri Department of Transportation has several recommendations for people travelling in the area when the weather conditions are less than ideal.  For example, they recommend checking road conditions, either with MoDOT’s website or their toll-free number (888-275-6636), prior to going out.  They also have the following suggestions for staying safe on Missouri and Illinois roadways this winter:

    • Conduct a pre-trip inspection of your car, looking closely at the tires, brakes, wiper blades, and wiper fluid levels.
    • Equip your vehicle with items such as a first-aid kit; blankets; non-perishable food and bottled water; a shovel; and sand to use as traction under wheels.
    • Try to avoid travel until roads have been cleared, if at all possible.
    • Watch closely for other drivers who may be struggling with road conditions.  Be sure to give all other drivers extra space.
    • Keep mirrors, windows, and lights clean, and make sure your lights are on.

    Smart drivers will avoid using cruise control on any slick surface (ice, snow, sand).  According to the experts, when driving in snow, you should accelerate and decelerate slowly; applying gas gradually is the best way to regain traction and avoid skids.  Keep these tips in mind while travelling through the St. Louis area this winter may help you to avoid collisions that can result in serious injury or death.

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  2. Troy, Missouri Woman Injured in 6 Car Accident in Lincoln County

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    Fox News reports that a woman from Troy, Missouri, was injured in a car accident on Highway 47 in Lincoln County, Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reports that six cars were stopped in traffic when a driver failed to stop and crashed into the rear of the car in front of him. This caused the motor vehicle struck in the rear to strike the car in front of him ending in a chain-reaction collision involving seven cars. Fortunately, there was only one injury reported.

    Chain collisions can pose several issues for the Missouri personal injury attorney. Situations arise in chain-reaction collisions where the driver of the last car will allege that the car in front of him had already struck the rear of another vehicle. Investigation by an accident attorney may yield evidence one way or the other as to the mechanics of the chain-reaction rear end collision.

    A Missouri automobile accident involving several cars may also give rise to insurance law issues. The driver who caused the chain reaction may have insufficient liability insurance to compensate all injured persons. If several people sustained injuries in the accident, there may be multiple claimants. If a lot of people are injured, there may be a per occurrence limit issue for the injured persons and their auto accident lawyers. In some situations when an insurance carrier believes that the value of all injury claims exceed their per occurrence policy limit, the insurance carrier may interplead the money with the court and let the court determine how to apportion the money based on the various injury claims.

    In situations where there is not sufficient liability insurance to compensate all injured parties in a car accident, Missouri attorneys will frequently look to see whether their client had underinsured motor vehicle coverage. In general, underinsured motor vehicle coverage can compensate an injury victim if the insured’s damages exceed the available liability insurance. The terms of underinsured coverage vary from policy to policy. Missouri does not have a statute requiring the purchase of underinsured coverage.

    Liability policy limit issues, underinsured claims and interpleader actions are all best handled by personal injury lawyers. Claimants faced with these issues would be best served utilizing the services of a Missouri accident attorney.

    One Injured in 7 Vehicle Pile-Up Near Troy, CBS St. Louis, March 2, 2011

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  3. St. Louis Police Seek Suspect in Pedestrian Hit and Run Auto Accident

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    St. Louis Police are seeking the assistance of the public in locating a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run automobile accident with a pedestrian in December. This pedestrian hit and run occurred as the pedestrian was walking in the southbound lanes of S. Jefferson in St. Louis, Missouri when she was struck and killed by an SUV. St. Louis Police believe the truck involved in the accident was a Chevrolet Suburban. The police also believe there may be witnesses to this pedestrian accident. A reward has been offered to anyone coming forward with information.

    This is a tragic situation for the family of the deceased. It is all the more difficult knowing that the person involved in this accident left the scene. If the victim’s family determines to pursue a wrongful death claim, the injury lawyers handling that matter would also want to try to identify the driver of the truck. If the driver’s identity cannot be determined, then the personal injury attorneys may pursue uninsured motor vehicle claims. When the driver of a car or truck leaves the scene of a collision and cannot be identified, the driver is often referred to as a “phantom motorist”. A phantom motorist is usually treated as an uninsured motorist. The fact that the pedestrian was not in a motor vehicle is not relevant. If the injury or death was caused, in whole or part, by an uninsured motor vehicle, then the claim can be made.

    In Missouri, uninsured motor vehicle insurance is considered partly contractual in nature. As such, the insurance generally follows the insured and is not limited to a particular vehicle or car. That is why a pedestrian involved in an accident with an uninsured driver can make an uninsured motor vehicle claim even though the pedestrian was not occupying a motor vehicle at the time of the accident.

    The Missouri personal injury attorney investigating an uninsured motor vehicle claim will want to know about all automobile insurance policies of anyone living in the same household as the injured client (the pedestrian in this case). Many automobile insurance policies provide coverage to relatives residing in the household of the named insured. At times, this will provide the lawyer with more avenues of recovery for an injured client or the family of a deceased client.

    Police Seeking Public Help in Locating Hit and Run Suspect, KMOV.com, January 19, 2011

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  4. St. Louis Car Accident Involving Pedestrian Seriously Injures Teen

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    KTVI news in St. Louis reports that a 17 year old was seriously injured in an auto accident at an intersection in North St. Louis on December 6, 2010. The news report indicates that the teen was struck by a hit & run vehicle.

    The St. Louis Police are searching for two different vehicles. Witnesses on a Bi-State bus nearby described one of the vehicles as a black truck with Illinois license plates. The other vehicle the police are looking for is a passenger car. The young woman was reported in critical condition. Police were using an accident reconstructionist to determine what took place.

    Personal injury lawyers in St. Louis will frequently use private accident reconstruction experts in investigating the facts of a car accident. The expert will investigate the facts and try to formulate an opinion as to the mechanics of the accident. In this pedestrian situation, an expert may be called upon to try to identify the location of the pedestrian at the intersection, the location of the vehicles, etc. The investigation may result in determining the identity of the cars or trucks involved in this St. Louis pedestrian accident. The pedestrian accident attorney can use this information to determine the extent of any civil liability for the injuries to the victim of the hit and run accident.

    Of course, it is possible that the identity of the driver or drivers of this accident will never be determined. In that case, the pedestrian would be able to pursue an uninsured motorist claim. An unknown, unidentified or “phantom driver” is considered the operator of an uninsured motor vehicle in Missouri. This is separate from an underinsured motor vehicle claim. An underinsured claim applies when the identity of the driver is known and the driver had liability insurance, but the liability insurance is not sufficient to compensate the injured accident victim.

    Teen Critically Injured in Hit & Run, KTVI, December 6, 2010

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