Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Claims
The majority of Illinois motorists drive within the rules of the law which includes carrying automobile insurance in case of an accident. But unfortunately some individuals risk hefty fines and other penalties by driving without insurance, placing themselves at risk of financial loss and others at risk of uncompensated damages in the event of a crash. When this happens, Illinois law recognizes the rights of accident victims and often lets them bring a claim against their own insurance policies for a monetary recovery to cover damages incurred, including medical bills.
This can occur through an uninsured motorist claim, or a type of insurance claim made against your own insurance policy in the event that you are injured in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance. This claim can also be made if you are injured in a hit-and-run collision where the other driver is never identified. In its simplest terms, an uninsured motorist claim places your insurance company “in the shoes” of the at-fault driver’s insurance should one have existed, allowing you to claim against your policy for your losses.
In other accidents, an at-fault driver may have insurance but may carry too little to properly compensate a victim in the event of a collision. Often, this occurs when a driver carries the state minimum insurance limits and the injuries that result in a crash are significant or when multiple people are hurt in the same accident. In these situations, a second claim called an underinsured motorist 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 and can allow you to make a greater financial recovery than if you pursued only the driver after a crash.
When purchasing automobile insurance in Illinois, motorists are offered the option of obtaining uninsured and underinsured coverage as well as liability coverage that pays in the event that driver causes a collision. It is always a good idea to carry uninsured and underinsured coverage because you never know when you will be in an accident and whether the other driver will be properly insured. Utilizing this type of coverage can ensure that you and your family will be covered in the event that you are injured, regardless of who the other driver is, and it will also prevent you from receiving less than you deserve.
Many Chicago area drivers and others in Illinois carry only the minimum amount of insurance required by the state. Though legislators recently increased the minimum requirements, the amount is still very low and often does not provide adequate compensation. Settling with another driver’s insurance after a collision and without speaking to a personal injury lawyer may mean that you receive less than you are entitled and may prevent you from making an underinsured motorist claim later.
The idea of bringing a claim against one’s own insurance company makes some accident victims hesitant but in reality, the majority of Illinois drivers carry this type of insurance specifically to protect them in the event they are hit by an uninsured, underinsured, or hit-and-run driver. In fact, this type of a case can be less difficult to resolve as the insurance company often does not have to address who was at fault for the collision, eliminating an issue that is significant in many other cases and can take a lot of time to resolve. Additionally, the financial recovery obtained in these cases may be higher than in a case against another driver, further benefitting an injury victim.
Currently, Illinois law requires all drivers to carry a minimum of $20,000/$40,000 in liability insurance. This means that in the event a driver is responsible for a crash that injures one or more persons, an individual hurt in that crash can recover up to $20,000 for his or her damages but that all victims of the accident are limited to collecting up to $40,000. Shortly, this minimum liability coverage will increase to $25,000/$50,000.
After a collision, many victims need emergency medical treatment at a hospital and can incur significant bills. A hospital visit alone can exhaust the minimum insurance available without even considering follow up appointments, physical therapy, and other damages incurred, like wages you could not earn because you were unable to work. To protect yourself against drivers with low insurance limits, you should consider including uninsured and underinsured coverage in your automobile insurance policy.
If you have been the victim of an auto accident and you have been injured, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer to 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 area injury lawyers who focus on fighting for the rights of accident victims. We believe that anyone hurt in a crash deserves a free, no obligation telephone consultation and we keep a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO. We also offer in-home and in-hospital consultations for those victims who prefer to meet with us in person but are too injured to travel to our offices and we will never collect a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf. Call the attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us help you obtain a recovery you deserve.
If you have been hurt in an auto accident, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or contact us online for a free case consultation.