Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Staggering Crash Statistics Highlight the Need for Changes in Civil Law

The Kansas City Star recently published an article regarding Vision Zero, Kansas City’s effort to curb traffic injuries and deaths. The article included some troubling traffic crash statistics. “Last year, there were 102 traffic deaths, just one shy of the record of 103 deaths set in 2020. Last year’s traffic fatalities included 20 pedestrians and 18 motorcyclists. Thus far, Kansas City is on pace to exceed the record this year. So far this year, there have been 47 fatalities, which is up 38% from 34 deaths for the same period last year.” As a personal injury attorney in Kansas City specializing in serious traffic crash cases for almost 20 years, these statistics made me think of changes we need in our civil justice system. To me, these statistics highlight the following needs to ease a crash victim’s path to fair compensation.

Insurance limits need to increase

Currently, the minimum amount of insurance a driver must have in Missouri is $25,000. In my experience, this is not even enough to cover one emergency room visit. Most car crashes in my practice involve significantly more medical care than just one ER visit. Increasing the insurance limits will increase the chances of the victim getting full compensation from the at-fault driver, and not some other publicly-funded source.

Increase Tort Victim’s Compensation Fund

The legislature should increase funding for the Tort Victim’s Compensation Fund (TVCF). If minimum insurance limits are not enough to cover the injuries and damages, a Missouri crash victim’s next best option is to try and get money from the TVCF. The funding mechanism for the TVCF is such that it often does not have enough money to cover all of the claims people have made. When that happens, the amount of money each claimant gets is reduced by a pro rata amount so that every claimant can get at least some compensation. But that often leaves crash victims not fully compensated and at a loss for a crash that wasn’t their fault. Increasing the amount of money in the TVCF can prevent that.

‌Repeal laws preventing fair compensation

Laws making it harder to get fair compensation should be repealed. Some Missouri laws present a barrier to crash victims who seek compensation for their injuries and damages. For example, R.S.Mo. Sec. 303.390 (2013) prevents you from getting money compensation for pain and suffering if you yourself did not have insurance, even if the crash was not your fault. With traffic crashes and fatalities increasing each year, it should be easier for crash victims to get money compensation, not harder.

‌Contact us

These are but a few of the things that I think nee to happen to accommodate the increase in traffic crashes and fatalities. If you’ve been injured in a car crash and have questions about getting full and fair compensation for your injuries, please contact my firm. We would be glad to help.

More Resources:

Two Limitations That Can Affect Your Compensation

Exploring the Growth in Tort Victim’s Compensation Fund Claims

Options for Money Compensation from Crashes at Dangerous Intersections