Each state has their own laws regarding the minimum liability coverage that anyone operating a motor vehicle must have. Most people follow this law and do not face additional consequences in the event that they get into an accident. However, some motorists do not carry the valid minimum liability coverage or even any insurance at all. These motorists are referred to as uninsured or underinsured motorists and can add much more stress to an already stressful situation for you by being unable to pay for your damages.
Even in this case, you still have rights, and we will be there to make sure of it. There are ways out of this sticky situation that can still help you recover the medical and auto expenses that you had to shell out in the aftermath of this accident. You can get certain insurance policies that can help you to cover some expenses and you can file a claim so that you are not left on your own after what you have endured.
At Mike Agruss Law, we have helped thousands of clients to seek justice and compensation for personal injuries, and you won’t owe us a penny for our services unless we win your case. If you or a loved one was involved in an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.
What Happens to the Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist?
After an accident, you or the other driver may experience serious injuries depending on the severity of the accident. Potential injuries include bruises, lacerations, whiplash, internal bleeding, broken bones, sprains, spinal cord injury, concussion, traumatic brain injury, disability, and even death. This list does not include the numerous psychological conditions that one could get after a traumatic accident. When you are seriously hurt and the uninsured or underinsured motorist at-fault does not carry insurance, you can run into some serious trouble and stress trying to find a way out of this issue. But, they can still face penalties for their actions.
As long as the accident was not a hit-and-run, the other motorist will likely face the repercussions of not carrying enough insurance or any insurance at all shortly after the accident. In Illinois, the law enforcement officer at the scene of the accident can impose large fines on them for not abiding by the law, suspend their license, tow and impound the vehicle, require them to purchase insurance before they drive again. Your insurance company may take some sort of action against them.
Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Driver Insurance Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is a policy meant to be used if a driver was the other, at-fault party in a motor vehicle accident and you found that they do not carry their own car insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) covers times when you are in a motor vehicle accident, the other driver is at-fault, and their liability insurance policy limits will not cover the damages that were a result of the accident.
Some states make this policy an add-on when you purchase your car insurance. But in Illinois, it is required that every liability insurance policy offers UM and UIM coverage per the Illinois Insurance Code. Even though they are required to offer it, it does not mean that each insured individual actually does buy it. The minimum liability insurance in Illinois is $20,000 for one person or $40,000 for two or more people in the accident. While this may help, it may not be sufficient to cover the damages if the accident causes injuries which require hospitalization or surgeries.
How to Proceed with Your UM/UIM Driver Claim
Through the UM/UIM insurance policies, you can recover damages that you endured due to the motor vehicle accident and file a claim against your insurance company. You should file this claim as soon as possible, but time frames vary; this is why you should have an experienced car accident attorney by your side to ensure that your claim is still valid and accepted by the time that it is filed. Your claim can be up to the limit of your UIM coverage if your UIM coverage is larger than the underinsured motorist’s policy limits. The underinsured motorist’s insurance company will pay the maximum amount of their policy while your insurance company will pay the difference up to your policy limit.
Since you are filing this claim against your insurance company, there may be a pretrial investigation, disclosure of your medical records, and depositions of witnesses. The claim will begin closer to the end or after your medical treatment so that we know the value of your damages.
Filing this claim will not raise your premiums since you were not the at-fault driver. Insurance companies may be reluctant, though, to fully pay out what you deserve for your damages. This is where we can come in to help you. Our experienced personal injury attorneys know your rights and we will make sure that they stay intact as you are rightfully compensated for dealing with this accident. We will be there to handle the dispute and get you the compensation that you deserve after such a stressful situation.
Damages That Can Be Recovered
After a car accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, you may go through some physical, mental, and financial damages. You should not feel the repercussions of their decision to not carry the insurance that they legally should be carrying. After a successful claim, you may recover some of the following damages with the money that you recover:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
If you or a loved one has been involved in an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident, contact our office today for a free consultation.