Accident Claims that Exceed Policy Limits

Car accidents. They are often unavoidable despite our best efforts to drive safely.

We simply cannot dictate what others do on the road.

Car accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes the damages are relatively low, and recovering compensation is a simple process.

A low-speed accident causing less than $5,000 or $10,000 might take only a few weeks to settle with an insurance company.

That’s exactly why all 50 states require drivers to carry liability insurance in some form or another. 

Other times, things aren’t so easy. For example, if a car accident´s damages exceed the responsible party’s insurance limits, things become a bit more complicated.

When a car accident claim exceeds policy limits, you might not know exactly what to do or what to expect. When this happens, you might feel like giving up.

Doubt might creep into your mind and make you wonder, Can you settle for more than policy limits? You always have the option of suing beyond policy limits.

After you read through this piece, we hope that some of the uncertainty surrounding what happens when damages exceed insurance limits is cleared away.

Insurance Requirements In Arkansas and Missouri

Before we get into what happens when an insurance policy limits a settlement, we need to first go over basic insurance requirements.

At Cottrell Law Office, we have teams to help people recover from car accidents throughout both Missouri and Arkansas.

As such, we need to discuss the basic insurance requirements in both states. If your damages exceed these basic policy limits, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover all your damages.

Missouri Insurance Requirements

The state of Missouri requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto liability insurance.

You can, of course, purchase insurance products that exceed the minimum. Still, the minimum gives us a baseline on whether a given accident might exceed policy limits.

Missouri requires all drivers to carry the following:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury,
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury,
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage,
  • Uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person, and
  • Uninsured motorist coverage of $50,000 for bodily injury per accident.

Thus, if you are in a Missouri car accident and your damages exceed $25,000 or $50,000, you should prepare to file a lawsuit to recover your damages. You may not have to, but you should ensure you are prepared to do so.

Arkansas Insurance Requirements

Just like Missouri, Arkansas requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. If the damages in your accident exceed these amounts, you may have to file a lawsuit to fully recover from your accident.

Arkansas’ insurance requirements are as follows:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury,
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury, and
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage.

Unlike Missouri, Arkansas does not require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage. However, uninsured motorist coverage is always available for purchase.

We’ll take care of everything else.

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How Often Do Auto Accident Settlements Exceed the Policy Limits?

Auto accident settlements exceed policy limits every day. Beyond the minimum requirements, there is no way for you to know what insurance limits other drivers are subject to.

That is, you won’t know until an accident happens. While not every accident settlement exceeds policy limits, many do. If your accident exceeds policy limits you should contact an experienced car attorney right away.

Cottrell Law Office Is Here for You

At Cottrell Law Office, it doesn’t matter how large or small your car accident was. We are here to help. If you need to file a lawsuit, we can do that.

If all you need is for us to negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, we can do that too. We serve clients throughout the great states of Missouri and Arkansas, and we are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Don’t forget to check out some testimonials from our previous clients, then give us a call to schedule your consultation today!

Author Photo

Wesley Cottrell

Wes Cottrell earned his B.A. from Pittsburg State University in 1981 and his J.D. from the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas in 1985. He was admitted to practice law in Kansas in 1986, in Missouri in 1987, in Arkansas in 1989, and Oklahoma in 1993. He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.

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