What if the person who hit me doesn’t have insurance?
Illinois law requires all drivers who register their vehicles in Illinois to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. Unfortunately, some drivers get behind the wheel without being adequately insured. When these drivers cause an accident on the road, it denies the damaged or injured party a sure source for financial recovery. Fortunately, Illinois law also requires all insured drivers to purchase uninsured motorist coverage at limits less than or equal to their bodily injury liability coverage limits. When you buy uninsured motorist coverage limits higher than the legal minimum limit of $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident (also known as “full coverage”), your policy by law will also automatically include underinsured motorist coverage equal to your uninsured motorist coverage.
What is Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage provides you, or others insured under your auto policy for damages or injuries that you are legally entitled to compensation for, that resulted from an accident caused by the owner or operator of an uninsured vehicle or the owner or operator of a vehicle that flees from the scene of an accident caused by that vehicle. Underinsured motorist coverage provides you with compensation for damages and injuries from an accident caused by the owner or operator of a vehicle, or whose insurance coverage is insufficient to cover all your losses.
So, if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance or with a driver who flees from the scene of the crash and cannot be identified, you may be able to turn to your own insurance policy for compensation from your damages and injuries up to the limits of your uninsured motorist coverage. Alternatively, if you are involved in an accident with a driver who does have insurance, but their insurance limits are insufficient to cover all your losses from your damages and injuries, you may be able to turn to your own auto insurance’s underinsured motorist coverage to cover those losses that are in excess of the other driver’s insurance policy limits.
Filing an UI/UM Claim
It is important to remember that filing an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim is different from filing a standard claim. Many insurance companies have notice requirements and specific technical filing steps that must be followed to submit a valid claim against your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. If you decide to submit an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim to your insurance company, it can be helpful to secure legal representation.
Filing an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim effectively puts you and your insurance company in adverse positions. This is because you are placing liability to pay your losses from your accident upon your insurance company. As a business looking to maximize its profit, your insurance company will look to limit the amount of money that it must pay to you. Having experienced legal representation when submitting uninsured/underinsured motorist claims can be especially important if your medical providers have placed liens upon any financial recovery you obtain from your accident, since you are not receiving recovery (or all of your recovery) from the party at fault for the accident.
The injury attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. know that the aftermath of any car crash is stressful, and especially so if you were hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Call us at (217) 328-2828 to discuss the legal options available to you during a free, no-obligation consultation today.