Have You Been in an Accident with an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver?
The majority of Illinois motorists drive within the rules of the law. This includes carrying automobile insurance in case of an accident. However, the accident lawyers at Abels & Annes know too well that many drivers risk hefty fines and other penalties by driving without insurance.
This places themselves at risk of financial loss and others at risk of uncompensated damages in the event of a crash. It is estimated that over thirteen percent of drivers on the road in Illinois do not have auto insurance. As a result, uninsured & underinsured motorist claims have become very common.
When this happens, Illinois law recognizes the rights of accident victims. It lets them bring claims against their own insurance policies for damages incurred. This includes medical bills, lost income and pain & suffering. Car accident lawyers at our office handle these cases regularly.
UM Claim & UIM Claim FAQ
What is an Uninsured Motorist Claim?
An uninsured motorist claim (UM claim) is an insurance claim made against your own insurance policy. The claim is made when you have been injured in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance.
Further, accident victims can pursue a UM claim if they sustain injuries in a hit-and-run collision. In its simplest terms, an uninsured motorist claim places your insurance company “in the shoes” of the at-fault driver and pays on the personal injury claim.
What is an Underinsured Motorist Claim?
In some accidents, an at-fault driver may have auto insurance. However, they may have too little to properly compensate a victim in the event of a collision.
Often, this occurs when a defendant has state minimum insurance limits and the injuries that result in a crash are significant. Or, when multiple people have injuries from the same accident.
In these situations, a second claim called an underinsured motorist claim (UIM claim) may be available to accident victims. Like uninsured motorist coverage, an underinsured claim places your own insurance company in the shoes of the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Further, it allows you to make a greater financial recovery than if you pursued only the driver after a crash.
For example, if you are involved in a car accident and the defendant only has the state minimum $25,000 in coverage, your lawyer can pursue a UIM claim to recover any damages above the policy limits, assuming you purchased underinsured motorist coverage.
So, if you have $100,000 in UIM coverage and you sustain $75,000 in injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier would pay the first $25,000 and your own insurance carrier would pay an additional $50,000 on the underinsured claim.
Is Underinsured Coverage Recommended?
When purchasing automobile insurance in Illinois, motorists automatically get uninsured motorist coverage. Further, most insurance carriers give the option of purchasing underinsured coverage.
It is always a good idea to carry both uninsured and underinsured coverage. You never know when you will be in an accident and whether the other driver will have enough coverage.
Utilizing this type of insurance can ensure that you will have protection in the event that you suffer injuries. This, regardless of the defendant’s insurance situation. It will also prevent you from receiving less compensation than you deserve.
Many Chicago area drivers carry only the minimum amount of insurance required by the state. Legislators recently increased the minimum requirements. However, the amount is still very low. $25,000 does not provide adequate compensation for victims with serious injuries.
Settling with another driver’s insurance without speaking to a personal injury lawyer is a bad idea. It may mean that you receive less than you deserve. Further, it may prevent you from making an underinsured motorist claim later.
Are UM & UIM Claims Common in Chicago?
Yes, our injury lawyers handle these cases on a regular basis. With so many drivers without insurance on the road, this is no surprise.
The idea of bringing a claim against one’s own insurance company makes some accident victims hesitant. However, the majority of Illinois drivers carry this type of insurance.
This coverage is specifically there to protect them in a collision with an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. In fact, this type of a case can be less difficult to resolve when compared to third party claims.
In UM and UIM claims, the insurance company often does not have to address who was at fault for the collision. Most of the time it eliminates the liability issue that can slow a case down.
Additionally, the financial recovery obtained UM and UIM claims are often higher than in a case against another driver. This is in part because if a case does not settle, it goes to arbitration, not court. This saves both sides time and the cost of litigation.
What is The State Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage in Illinois?
Currently, Illinois law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person for injury or death, $50,000 per occurrence for injury or death, and $20,000 in property damage coverage. This means that when a negligent driver injures someone, that individual can recover up to $25,000 for his or her damages. Further, all victims of the accident can only collect up to $50,000 per occurrence.
After a collision, many accident victims need emergency medical treatment. They can incur significant ER bills. And if they have to go inpatient at a hospital, the bills will skyrocket.
A hospital visit alone can exhaust the minimum insurance available. This, without even considering follow up appointments, physical therapy, and other damages incurred.
To protect yourself against drivers with low insurance limits, you should definitely add underinsured coverage to your automobile policy. The more coverage, the better.
Free Legal Consultations for Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims
If you have been the victim of an auto accident and suffer injuries, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer ASAP. With a free consultation you can learn whether you have a claim against the at-fault driver, your own insurance company, or both.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we are Chicago injury lawyers who focus on fighting for the rights of accident victims. We offer anyone hurt in a crash a free, no obligation consultation.
Our law firm keeps a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at (312) 924-7575. We also offer in-home and in-hospital consultations for those victims whose injuries are too serious to travel.
Further, there is no fee unless you win your case. Call the attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. and let us help you obtain a recovery you deserve.