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Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund

Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien in Saint Louis can explain how the Missouri tort victims compensation fund works. Call us today for any assistance.

We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Missouri for over 40 years.

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What Is the Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund?

Missouri torts law allows those who have suffered loss or personal injury due to the negligent actions of others to obtain compensation for their injuries by filing a lawsuit or insurance claim against the at-fault party or their insurance company. Upon filing such a claim/lawsuit, the court or insurance company will examine the facts and award the injured party a specific amount based on the extent of the injuries or damage they sustained from the personal injury incident.

But sometimes, despite their best efforts, the injured party may be unable to recover the total amount awarded or part of it for reasons beyond their control. In those circumstances, the person affected may be forced to bear the cost of their medical treatment and other related expenses caused by the at-fault party’s actions alone, which could severely affect their finances.

If you or your loved one is in such a situation, all hope is not lost. The Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund exists to help people like you get some financial relief that could make up for the compensation you could not recover.

However, the fund is not open to all, and you’ll need to meet certain requirements to benefit from it. This guide explains those requirements and how the application process works to help you understand whether you can benefit from the fund. Keep reading to learn more.

The Purpose of the Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund

The Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund was established in 1987 by Missouri law to help Missouri residents who have been unable to obtain full compensation after a personal injury incident or wrongful death of a family member because the party responsible;

  • is uninsured;
  • is underinsured;
  • has filed for bankruptcy;
  • or cannot compensate the victim for any other reason.

The money in the fund is limited and could run out since it is gotten from 50 percent of the punitive damages awarded in lawsuits across the state. As such, it is only available to tort victims who have exhausted all other legal options for getting compensation.


Who Can Apply for Compensation From the Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund?

You can apply for compensation from the fund if you meet the following requirements;

  • You have obtained a final judgment (in which there can be no further appeals) in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, where you were awarded damages (monetary compensation). Yet, you have been unable to collect the full amount awarded from the liable party despite your efforts.

  • Your insurance claim for personal injury or wrongful death could not be completely settled because the amount available under the at-fault party’s insurance policy was insufficient to cover the cost of the damage or injury you suffered.

  • Your claim or lawsuit for your family member’s personal injury or wrongful death was unsuccessful because the at-fault party was bankrupt.

There are some disqualifying factors that could make you ineligible for compensation under the fund even if you meet the above requirements. You can contact a personal injury attorney to learn about those factors and whether they apply to your case.


How Do You Apply for Compensation From the Fund?

To apply for compensation from the fund, you must file a claim by submitting a completed form, WCT-1 -Application for Tort Victims Compensation, to the Division of Workers Compensation in Jefferson City.

You can submit your application in person or send it by mail. If you send your application to any branch of the division other than the Jefferson office, your application will be rejected.

Documents You’ll Need To Provide 

You’ll need to submit certain documents to support your application and establish your eligibility for the fund. The documents include the following:

  • A certified copy of the final monetary judgment in your personal injury or wrongful death case and documents showing that the judgment can no longer be appealed.

  • Documents that show your diligence toward enforcing the judgment and that you have been unable to obtain full compensation despite your efforts.

  • Clear photocopies of your bills and proof of other expenses you incurred due to the injury or wrongful death.

These documents must be filed within 30 days of filing your claim. If you fail to file them within that time, the division may dismiss your claim, and you may need to file a fresh application.

Thankfully, the 30-day document submission period is extendable, so if you’re running out of time to submit your documents, you can apply to the division, asking them to allow you more time to submit for submission. You can contact skilled Missouri Personal Injury Attorneys to learn more about the application process and get help getting your documents together. 


When To File a Claim

The time you have to file a claim against the fund is limited by law in the following manner;

  • If your claim is based on a final monetary judgment that you’ve been unable to enforce, it must be filed within two years from when the judgment or any appeal on it becomes final.
  • If there is no judgment (such as if you followed the insurance claims process for compensation), the general Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury applies, meaning that you have five years from your injury to file your claim.
  • If your case is based on the wrongful death of a family member and there is no judgment, your claim must be filed within three years from when the wrongful death occurred unless any legal exception applies.

If you fail to file your claim within the approved statutory period, it will become statute-barred. That means you lose the right to pursue any compensation for that specific injury forever. Hence, it is important that you file your claim for compensation with the division once you’ve exhausted all other available legal remedies. A skilled personal injury attorney can help you get started as soon as possible.


How Soon Will the Division Process Your Claim?

The division will begin an administrative review of your claim within 60 days of filing your application.

Once the administrative review is completed, they will issue a written decision, also known as an administrative determination, awarding compensation in the amount they see fit based on the evidence provided or denying the claim.

The specific amount you can get as compensation if your claim against the fund succeeds depends on the circumstances of your case and the amount available in the fund. But the amount awarded will be at most $300,000.

What To Do if You Disagree With the Administrative Determination or if Your Claim Is Denied

If your claim fails or you disagree with the outcome of the administrative review, you can request that your case be reviewed by an administrative judge within 20 days from when the administrative determination is issued. If the judge’s decision is also unfavorable, you have the right to seek further appellate review of the decision with the state Labor and Industrial Relations Commission or in court. 


Get Help With Your Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Claim at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien

The Missouri Tort Victims Compensation Fund can offer you financial relief and compensation for your injuries when you have exhausted all other options. However, the application process could be difficult to navigate without professional legal help.

Our skilled personal injury lawyers at Buchanan Williams and O’Brien understand the complexities associated with the application process and can offer you personalized guidance and representation that could help you succeed with your claim. If your injuries resulted from a work injury, our Missouri Workers Compensation Attorneys can also offer quality legal advice and representation as you seek compensation from your employer or their insurers. 

Contact us immediately to share your concerns about getting compensation after your personal injury, and let us help you move forward with your case.


Frequently Asked Questions About the Compensation Fund

What role does insurance play in filing a claim with the Tort Victims’ Compensation Fund?
Notably, if the victim has received insurance payouts, this might reduce the claimable amount from the fund, as it aims to fill financial gaps not covered by insurance policies.

Are there legislative considerations affecting the fund?
Yes, legislative changes can influence both the availability of funds and the eligibility criteria. It’s vital for claimants to stay informed about such updates, which could impact their potential compensation.

These FAQs address common concerns, guiding victims through their pursuit of just compensation, ensuring they are well-informed about their rights and the intricacies of the process. For the most current and detailed information, consulting with an experienced attorney is advisable.


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