Car accidents can be devastating. They cause serious injuries and have unexpected consequences that can be life-changing. If you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you have a right to expect the responsible party to pay for your losses. However, if the responsible party is uninsured or underinsured, you may be unsure about how to pay for your increasing expenses.
Illinois Drivers are Required to Have Insurance Coverage
Illinois law requires that all drivers have car insurance. This protects everyone, including the drivers themselves, if they cause an accident. This insurance, which covers injury and damage caused to other people, is called “liability” coverage. Illinois requires that every driver carry at least:
- $25,000 Bodily Injury Liability coverage for injury or death of each person in a single accident
- $50,000 Bodily Injury Liability coverage for injury or death of all people in a single accident
- $20,000 Property Damage coverage for property of another person in a single accident
The state does not require that drivers carry comprehensive or collision coverage to cover damage to their own vehicles. When registering a vehicle with the Illinois Secretary of State, a driver must confirm that they have at least the minimum liability insurance coverage mandated by the Mandatory Insurance Law.
If a driver does not have the minimum required insurance coverage, they may be given a traffic citation. License plates may be suspended and a fine of up to $500 may be assessed. If caught driving with suspended license plates, an additional fine of up to $1,000 may be assessed.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Although Illinois mandates that all drivers carry liability insurance, the Insurance Information Institute estimates that more than 13 percent of all drivers in the state do not have insurance. Many more do not have enough insurance to cover a catastrophic accident.
- Uninsured Motorists – Drivers who do not have any liability insurance coverage or whose policies have expired.
- Underinsured Motorists – Drivers who do not have coverage that meets state minimum requirements or those who cause losses that exceed their policy limits. Some out-of-state drivers may fall in this category if they carry insurance that meets their own state minimums, but that does not rise to the thresholds of Illinois requirements.
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists (UIM) Coverage in Illinois
Illinois knows that many drivers are uninsured or underinsured. In order to protect drivers, the state also mandates that all drivers purchase UIM insurance in the following amounts:
- $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability coverage for injury or death of each person in a single accident
- $40,000 Bodily Injury Liability coverage for injury or death of all people in a single accident
If your vehicle is not covered by collision coverage, which is not required by the state, you may also buy an additional UIM Property Damage policy that will cover personal property in the event of an accident.
While it can seem unfair that you must carry coverage for your own injuries and property damage when they are caused by someone else, this law protects you from having losses greater than you can handle at one time. UIM coverage is not typically extremely expensive and deductibles can be low.
Filing a UIM Claim With Your Insurance Company
If you are involved in an accident with someone who is uninsured or underinsured, you must file a claim for compensation with your own insurance company. Although your insurance company typically works for you, they are mainly interested in settling the claim as quickly and cheaply as possible. You must prove that you have damages and that you were not the primary person at fault. Your insurance company may even deny your claim.
If you are faced with filing an insurance claim after a devastating accident, you need help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will help you file a claim, make an appeal, and fight for what you deserve after an accident where you were not at fault.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Uninsured or Underinsured Driver
If a driver caused your injuries in a car accident, they are responsible for your losses, even if they did not have adequate insurance coverage. We can help you file a personal injury claim to recover compensation for the following past and future losses:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Loss of earning potential
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
Even if some of your losses have already been covered by your own UIM policy, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party for the remaining expenses. Your insurance company may also pursue compensation from the responsible party.
Our experienced uninsured and underinsured car accident attorneys with McCarthy, Rowden & Baker understand the complexities involved with obtaining compensation from the other party as well as your insurance company. For more information, contact us at toll free 1-800-373-6050.