Illinois Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Claims
Despite mandatory automobile insurance requirements in Illinois, many operators of motor vehicles are uninsured (have no insurance), or are underinsured (have an inadequate amount of insurance), for the damages they cause when they injure someone in a car accident. When an accident occurs, the client may have a claim for uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist benefits.
In Illinois, when you purchase "full coverage" under your automobile insurance policy, you purchase "uninsured/underinsured" coverage (known as "UM" or "UIM"). The amount of coverage depends on the language under the policy and the amount of premiums paid. Usually, the policy carries UM/UIM in an amount equal to the liability or "bodily injury" (known as "BI") limits under the policy. In some instances, where the purchaser has elected to do so in writing and certain conditions have been met, the amount of UM/UIM may be less than the amount of BI. The coverage declarations page of your policy should reveal how much UM/UIM coverage is provided under your policy. It is important to review your claim with an experienced Illinois uninsured motorist claim lawyer.
Uninsured motorist claims arise in an Illinois car accident when the at-fault motorist carries no coverage or cannot be identified. An example of when an uninsured motorist claim may arise is when the at-fault motorist has fled the scene (hit and run) and cannot be identified. Often, motor vehicle accidents in the Chicago metro area involving pedestrians or cyclists result in uninsured motorist claims. The Illinois Traffic Crash Report will reveal the identity and policy number for any insurance that was carried at the time of the accident. Under some circumstances, additional insurance coverage information can be obtained by contacting IDOT to certify whether the driver is, in fact, reported to be uninsured.
Underinsured motorist claims arise in an Illinois motor vehicle crash when the at-fault motorist carries an insufficient amount of insurance coverage. An example of when an uninsured motorist claim may arise is when the injuries or "damages" from an accident are so serious that the amount of money that is demanded or sought is significantly greater than the amount of coverage: A motor vehicle crash involving two cars occurs on Route 88 in DuPage County, Illinois: If the driver of Unit 1 (who carries $20,000 in BI liability coverage) hits and injures the driver of Unit 2, causing him to suffer medical costs of $60,000, an underinsured motorist claim should be filed. If the injured driver of Unit 2 has $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage, then an underinsured motorist claim may be filed to pursue the damages, including medical costs, pain and suffering, that cannot be recovered from the at-fault motorist.
An uninsured or underinsured motorist claim in Illinois must be filed against your own automobile insurance policy or the policy of a household or family member. Far beyond merely reporting the claim, there are written notices that must be filed and other technical steps that must be taken in order to bring an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim; therefore, you should consult with a knowledgeable attorney right away. Sometimes, there are insurance coverage issues that must be litigated in court.
Why should you be represented by counsel in the case of an uninsured driver in Illinois?
An Illinois uninsured motorist lawyer can help you identify available underinsured motorist insurance coverage and assist you in timely filing the claim against the insurance carrier in accordance with the rules for uninsured motorist claims and the specific terms of coverage under the policy. Remember, uninsured motorist claims create a conflict of interest between you and your insurance carrier. As in any adverse proceeding or litigation, you should consult with an attorney who has experience in litigating uninsured motorist claims. Your attorney should put forth a settlement or litigation strategy targeted to achieving the highest possible settlement.
An experienced and knowledgeable Illinois uninsured motorist attorney can be particularly valuable in confronting and resolving hospital, physician, and subrogation "liens" which arise from paid and unpaid medical expenses alike. This process must be completed before the overall settlement is finalized. I am often able to provide my clients with valuable assistance in resolving or adjudicating expensive liens that were filed against their claim (and actually compete against the client's net settlement), which result in substantial savings to the client in determining the net settlement amount they will receive. Remember, each dollar reduced or eliminated from a competing lien translates to a dollar earned by my client. For example, when a lien is reduced by $10,000, it results in a $10,000 additional net recovery to my client, and so on. Do not overlook this important fact when you consider whether to hire an attorney, or whom you hire. Get a lawyer who gets results.
John J. Malm & Associates is an experienced personal injury law firm representing individuals and families who have suffered an injury or loss due to an accident. You may be entitled to a substantial settlement if you have been injured. Call 630-527-4177, or 312-422-6855, and speak with Attorney John J. Malm.
- DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyers: Rental Cars: When is a "Substitute Vehicle" Covered by YOUR Illinois Insurance policy? Rental car insurance is confusing. Before you rent, it is important to know if your insurance provides coverage for the rented vehicle, and under what ....
- DuPage County Personal Injury Lawyers: What to do When the Driver Who Injures You is Underinsured? A common risk faced by Illinois drivers is being struck by a driver that is underinsured. To save money on premiums, many drivers carry only the ....
- Naperville Personal Injury Lawyers: Discovery of Facebook and Social Media Sites in Motor Vehicle Accident Cases In car accident cases, lawyers for each party are permitted to conduct written discovery by issuing subpoenas, propounding a list of written questions ....