Underinsured Motorist Claims
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Enough Insurance to Pay ALL Your Bills?
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Unfortunately, many drivers in Illinois are underinsured. Illinois law mandates that every individual must have automobile insurance at certain minimum coverage limits. When a motorist does not have sufficient automobile insurance coverage, it can be devastating to those who are involved in a vehicle accident.
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What is an Underinsured Vehicle?
The at-fault party does not have sufficient insurance to cover all of the victim’s damages. In Illinois, an underinsured motor vehicle (UIM) is typically considered to be an automobile whose total amount of applicable liability coverage is less than the amount needed to adequately compensate the victim of a car crash.
Have you been hit by someone WITHOUT insurance — File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
How Do Underinsured Motorist Claims Work?
When an at-fault driver does not have enough insurance coverage to FULLY compensate an accident victim the victim can start a UIM claim. This often occurs often when the at-fault driver has bare minimum coverage and the accident expenses are significant.
Here’s an example:
If a person is involved in an accident and the at-fault party only has the state minimum insurance coverage of $25,000, the injured party’s attorney can help the victim recover damages above the policy limits. This is under the assumption that the victim in the crash has Underinsured Motorist Insurance. Hence, if a person has $100,000 in UIM coverage, and he or she sustains $80,000 in medical bills related to injuries from the crash, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover the first $25,000, and the victim’s insurance carrier may pay $55,000 on the underinsured claim.
When this happens it’s best to consult with an experienced lawyer that can help your UIM claim go as smoothly as possible. A good lawyer can even recover for lost work wages.
What is Illinois State Minimum Automobile Insurance Coverage?
Do I need under-insurance coverage myself?
Yes. In Illinois, drivers must carry a minimum of $25,000 per individual for injury or death. Moreover, they must also have $50,000 in coverage per occurrence for injury or death, and $20,000 for property damage.
What this means is that the victim can recover a maximum of $25,000 from the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, or more if the policy limits are greater. Furthermore, all accident victims can obtain up to $50,000 per occurrence.
Car Accidents Get Expensive
Following an accident, many victims require emergency medical attention. This can result in significant medical expenses. Especially if an injury victim needs to be hospitalized.
With high medical costs these days, a hospital visit alone can exhaust the minimum insurance available. Hence, without even considering the costs of physical therapy, follow-up appointments, and medication, the medical expenses can greatly exceed the limits of an underinsured motorist’s automobile insurance.
We don’t want to sound like insurance salespeople but this is why it is critical for a person to carry underinsured motorist coverage to be sure that their expenses are covered in the event of an accident with an underinsured driver.
Dealing with Your Own Insurance Company
Insurance companies are a business. It’s important to realize that an insurance company might not be as cooperative as one would expect.
It’s difficult for many people to imagine that their own insurance company is taking the side of the person who caused a crash just to limit what they will have to pay. This happens MUCH more than you think.
Given this unique situation, claims often go to arbitration before a settlement can be reached because the insurance companies will do everything possible to devalue even their own customer’s claim. Talking with a skilled Illinois underinsured motorist attorney is highly recommended, as they can advise an accident victim of their legal rights, and options.
Collecting Damages from an Underinsured Motorist (in Illinois)
If an individual sustained injuries in an automobile accident caused by another individual, he or she has the right to collect damages from the at-fault party. This includes, without limitation, medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other types of damages.
If a case involves an underinsured motorist, the injury victim may pursue monetary compensation from their own insurance company if they carry UIM coverage. In other words, the victim can recover damages from their own insurance carrier above and beyond the at-fault party’s insurance limits in order to be properly compensated for their losses.
Wrongful Death Claims Involving Underinsured Motorist
In the case of a wrongful death action, the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, codified at 740 ILCS 180/1 et.seq., dictates that the spouse and next of kin can seek such damages that include, without limitation, funeral expenses, grief, sorrow, and mental suffering. In essence, the next of kin of the deceased are entitled to collect the proceeds of a UIM claim for wrongful death damages.
Is Underinsured Motorist Coverage Worth It?
UIM coverage is typically an inexpensive add-on to one’s automobile insurance, and as previously discussed, can prove beneficial if an at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover the cost of damages resulting from a crash. Different types of underinsured motorist coverage are available from most insurance carriers. Some coverage includes bodily injury and others will cover property damages, while still others will compensate a victim for both costs.
Hire Lawyers Who Fight For You
We have the experience and skills to build your case for a successful resolution. We’ll help you overcome the challenges that your insurance company will make to try and devalue your underinsured motorist claim. For a FREE, no-pressure consultation about what we may be able to do for your case, e-mail, call, or text message us 24/7/365 at (815) 964-8303.