Post Date: November 27th, 2009
Recently, we were able to settle one of our client’s Missouri car accident cases for the complete $150,000.00 policy limit. More important for our client, we were able to achieve this settlement without even having to file the lawsuit. Our client was injured when she swerved to avoid an unidentified driver who had crossed into her lane. In doing so, she lost control of her car and went off the side of the road striking a tree. She then went to the hospital and followed up with her family physician who instructed her to “take it easy.” When she called us, she was still experiencing a lot of back pain and we helped make arrangements for her to see an orthopedic specialist. An MRI was taken of the spine and it was confirmed that she in fact suffered a herniated disc in her neck and back. However, because we could not identify the driver who crossed the centerline, we obviously could not make a claim against his insurance.
As a Missouri car accident lawyer, we often see cases where the wreck is caused by an unknown driver. Accordingly, we then investigated and found out that our client had uninsured motorist coverage on her car insurance in the amount of $50,000.00. However, we also found that she was insured for three (3) different cars. We were then able to prove to her insurance company that Missouri law allows drivers such as our client to combine the available uninsured motorist coverage for each car insured. This is known as “stacking.” Essentially, because she had $50,000.00 of uninsured motorist coverage on each car, we were successful in making the argument that she ultimately had $150,000.00 in coverage since there were three (3) cars.
Further, her insurance company initially argued that they were not liable because we could not prove the existence of this unknown driver. They said it was our responsibility to provide proof, beyond our client’s own testimony, that the wreck was caused by another driver additional driver. I wholeheartedly disagreed with their position that we had to show proof beyond our client’s statement (were they calling her a liar?), however, it did not matter because one of the first things we do when we get a case is to obtain statements of the police officer and all the witnesses. These witnesses did in fact confirm that there was an unknown driver who forced our client off the road. Thus, once our client had completed treatment, we gathered up all the records and sent a settlement demand package to the insurance company with all these documents. We told them they had thirty (30) days to pay the full limits of the policy or we were going to file suit, not only for our client’s injuries, but also for Vexatious Refusal to Pay. This is an underused law in Missouri and holds that insurance companies are subjected to additional penalties and attorney’s fees when they refuse to pay an insurance claim without justification. On the twenty-seventh day, the insurance adjuster called me back and said that they would in fact be paying the full amount of limits.
Joshua P. Myers is the president of Myers Injury Law and a Missouri car accident lawyer. His practice focuses entirely on personal injury law. He has been inducted into the Order of Barristers for Outstanding Oral Advocacy and has also been honored into the American Association for Justice which is limited to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in each state. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck and would like to speak with a Missouri car wreck attorney, please feel free to call Josh at 888.956.2487. He handles catastrophic injury cases throughout all of Missouri and Illinois. Additionally, there is never any fee to speak about a case and there is never any fee until we recover on your behalf.
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