Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
Illinois law requires that all drivers maintain automobile liability insurance that provides coverage in the event that they cause injuries in a car crash. The reality is that not all drivers maintain this insurance. After a vehicle collision with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, it may be possible to pursue an uninsured motorist claim through your own automobile insurance. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, we help individuals pursuing claims after suffering injuries in an uninsured motorist accident. Our Chicago car accident lawyers are knowledgeable in Illinois law and have experience with the legal challenges posed by accidents involving uninsured drivers. We are committed to helping our clients pursue the compensation that they are owed by law, and we are prepared to advocate on behalf of injured individuals throughout the state.Understand Your Legal Options After an Uninsured Motorist Accident
Uninsured motorist coverage exists as a protection for insurance policyholders who are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. According to Illinois law, when individuals purchase “full coverage” under their automobile insurance policy, they are purchasing uninsured/underinsured coverage. The amount of their coverage depends on the specific policy and the premiums that they pay.
Generally, under an uninsured motorist policy, an insurance company pays the damages for bodily injury that the accident victim would have collected from the driver of the uninsured motor vehicle. In other words, the insurance company stands in for the at-fault driver who should pay the injured individual. The accident victim’s insurance company has an option to attempt to recover the money paid for injuries, but, as a practical matter, it is virtually impossible to recover that money. Individuals essentially pay a premium for uninsured motorist coverage in order to make the insurer assume the risk of not being capable of recovering from an uninsured motorist.
To receive the benefits of uninsured/underinsured coverage, the improperly insured driver must be at fault and must not have liability insurance that meets the minimum statutory limit. Examples of uninsured motorist claims include hit and run accidents or accidents in which the injuries are catastrophic and above the amount of coverage. In some situations, there is an “exhaustion” requirement, which holds that before pursuing uninsured/underinsured benefits, the underinsured owner’s or driver’s liability limits must be exhausted. The specific facts of each case will dictate whether exhaustion is necessary before underinsured coverage takes effect.
Each insurance policy has its own requirements regarding how to make a claim for uninsured motorist benefits. Uninsured or underinsured motorist claims are filed against your own automobile insurance policy or a policy held by a household or family member. Written notices must be filed, and there are other specific steps to bring a claim.
In the event that an insurer fails to pay or unreasonably handles a claim on behalf of a policyholder, the insured may have an action for bad faith. If an insurance company does not properly process an uninsured motorist claim in a timely manner after a victim has suffered injuries in an accident, the victim may be entitled to additional compensation through filing a bad faith claim. Penalties may be assessed, and there may be an award of attorney’s fees and costs. Since filing an uninsured motorist claim may create a conflict of interest between the insured and their insurance carrier, it is helpful to consult with an attorney who is experienced in litigating uninsured and underinsured motorist claims.Discuss Your Right to Compensation with a Chicago Lawyer
At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our experienced motor vehicle collision attorneys advocate for people faced with challenges in recovering compensation for an accident. We have helped victims recover the costs of their medical bills, lost wages, and emotional suffering, even when the at-fault driver was without insurance coverage. Contact our office for a free consultation to understand how we can work to protect your rights. We are proud to help victims throughout Illinois, including people in Aurora, Springfield, Rockford, Quincy, and other cities in Kane, Cook, Adams, and Sangamon Counties. Schedule a consultation with a Chicago attorney online or by calling (888) 862-5556.