Missouri Car Accident Laws

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Cassandra Hamilton
· 6 min read
The state of
requires you to report most accidents to the Driver License Bureau. If you want to claim damages or have medical bills reimbursed, you’ll need to
file a claim with your insurance company
based on your level of fault.
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What to do after a crash: Missouri car accident reporting laws

The first thing you should do
after a car accident
is to make sure that you and your passengers are safe. If your vehicle ends up in a place where another accident can occur, try to move it to a safe place if possible. Check for injuries and call 911 to report the crash and get assistance for anyone who was injured.
You should also document the crash in many different ways—photographs, specific records of the aftermath (including damages and location), and writing out what you remember before your memory fades. You’ll also need to exchange insurance and vehicle information with the other party.
But what happens next? If you’re in an accident in Missouri, you might need to report the accident a few times:
  • To emergency personnel
  • To the Driver License Bureau
  • To your insurance company
Let’s talk more about the portion of Missouri car accident laws that address when and how to report an accident.

When to report an accident to the police

You’re required to report any accident to the police if one of the following is true:
  • Someone was injured or died
  • Property damage exceeds $500
  • Your insurance company requires a police report
  • You can’t contact the owner of a parked vehicle that was damaged
You have 30 days to report an accident to the police in Missouri, but it’s in your best interest to report an accident as soon as you possibly can. The time the state allots for reporting an accident is only to account for delays because of injury.
You will still have to file a report with the Driver License Bureau if your accident meets the criteria we talk about in the next section, even if the police show up. 

When to report an accident to the DLB

You must report an accident to the DLB if all of the following are true:
  • The accident happened less than a year ago
  • The accident involved an uninsured motorist AND
  • The accident caused more than $500 in property damage OR someone was injured or killed
You have up to a year to report an accident to the Driver License Bureau. The police won’t file the report on your behalf, so you will have to file your own report. Fill out
Form 1140
and send it to the following address:
Driver License Bureau
301 West High Street – Room 470
PO Box 200
Jefferson City, MO 65105
You’ll need to include certain information on the form, like the date and time of the accident, vehicle information of all involved parties, and your insurance information. You may even need to draw a diagram of the accident.

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Missouri’s insurance laws

Right, the insurance—what are you required to carry in Missouri, and
what if you’re the uninsured party in an accident
Missouri requires all of its drivers to purchase car insurance for their vehicles.
Missouri car insurance law
dictates that drivers must carry a minimum of 25/50/10 liability coverage, which is:
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
matching those bodily injury liability limits is also required by state law.
If you don’t carry these minimums on your policy, or can’t provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop, you could get 4 points on your license and have your
driving privileges revoked
for up to one year. Your ability to claim damages through insurance or a personal injury lawsuit will also be affected. 
Despite these potential consequences, a study by the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
discovered that 16.4% of drivers in Missouri don’t carry car insurance

Claiming damages after an accident: Missouri’s personal injury laws

You may want to receive more damages than an insurance claim allows. To do this, you’ll need to file a personal injury lawsuit to collect the damages you seek. With a lawsuit, you can claim both economic and non-economic damages.
  • Economic damages are medical bills, lost wages, lost employment or business opportunities, loss of property use, and burial expenses.
  • Non-economic damages are pain and suffering, mental suffering, inconvenience, and humiliation.
Missouri has one of the most generous statutes of limitation in the country—five years to file a suit, regardless of the type of damage claims you are seeking.

Exceptions to Missouri’s personal injury laws

There are some exceptions to claiming damages from a car accident and a few cases where the statute of limitations could be extended.
The laws in Missouri prohibit anyone without car insurance to claim non-economic damages from an accident.
For other claimants, the statute of limitations could be extended past the usual deadline if one of the following is true:
  • The claimant is a minor—the five-year clock starts when this person turns 21
  • The claimant is mentally incapacitated—this person has five years to file suit once they are declared competent

Who’s to blame: Missouri’s pure comparative negligence law

After an accident, the biggest question on everyone’s mind is who’s at fault? If Sophie makes a left turn on red and hits Jacob, who was speeding, who’s to blame? Who collects damages in this instance?
Missouri is one of the dozen
pure comparative negligence states
, which means both Sophie and Jacob can claim damages. Pure comparative negligence allows anyone who is not 100% at fault in a car accident to get compensation in proportion to their level of fault.
In our example, both Sophie and Jacob were
breaking traffic laws
so neither one of them is entirely at fault. If Sophie is 80% at fault and Jacob is 20% at fault, Sophie (or her insurance company) has to pay 80% of Jacob’s damages, but Jacob only has to pay 20% of Sophie’s medical bills or vehicle repairs.
Missouri’s comparative negligence laws are very driver-friendly, but remember that your state’s laws don’t follow you across state lines. If you get into an accident in another state, you’ll have to play by their rules instead.

How to save money on car insurance in Missouri

You could see a
35% to 80% increase
in your
car insurance rates
if you’re involved in a car accident in Missouri, especially if you're partly at fault. It might feel hopeless after an increase like this, but there are tools to make sure you’re not stuck overpaying for insurance—take Jerry, for example.
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