What happens if you’re in an auto accident with an uninsured driver?

The state of Illinois requires that all drivers of vehicles must carry minimum liability insurance. This doesn’t protect the vehicle’s operator or owner. It protects other individuals and their property. That means that if you’re struck by an insured driver and the accident is considered their fault, they’re policy will pay up to its limit. But just because Illinois mandates insurance coverage doesn’t mean that everyone carries it. What if you are in an accident with an uninsured driver?

Minimum Insurance Coverage in Illinois

Fortunately, if you carry the minimum insurance required by law, you will have some protection. In addition to other types of insurance, the state mandates that drivers have an uninsured motorist policy. Here is a breakdown of all minimum types of insurance in Illinois:

Uninsured Motorist(UM) – This covers your injuries if you are in an accident with an uninsured motorist and it’s their fault. You are required by law to carry $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. If your injuries exceed $20,000 or if others are injured and the $40,000 has to be divided, you may not be fully covered. Furthermore, this does not cover property damage unless you purchase additional coverage.

Bodily Injury Insurance(BI) – This covers other drivers’ injuries if you’re in an accident and it’s your fault. The minimums are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This does not cover your personal injuries and will not help you if you’re struck by an uninsured motorist.

Property Damage(PD) – This covers property belonging to other drivers if they are involved in an accident with you and it’s your fault. The minimum coverage is $20,000 per accident and it does not cover your vehicle. Again, this will not protect you if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver.

So you can see that with the exception of the Uninsured Motorist protection, the minimum insurance coverage will do very little to making you whole after an accident with an uninsured motorist.

Purchasing Additional Coverage

Many Illinois residents carry enhanced coverage so they can be certain that they’re fully covered. In addition to increased limits for BI, PD, and UM coverage, they also opt for collision insurance to cover damage to their own vehicle and personal injury protection(PIP) to cover their medical expenses. These types of insurances will cover your expenses regardless of fault or the other drivers’ insurance limits.

Illinois is not a No-Fault State

Unlike many other states, Illinois is not a “no-fault” state. In no-fault states, each driver’s insurance pays for their respective claims regardless of fault. Illinois operates on a traditional basis where the at-fault party’s insurance pays for the accident up to the limits of their policy.

Filing a Claim After an Accident

Even though the other driver’s insurance may be responsible, you have the option of filing the claim through your own insurance company. They will connect with the responsible insurer to collect the damages.

Before accepting any settlement on an accident where you were injured, you should speak to a lawyer. Car accident attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t have pay out of pocket for their advice. They can make certain that you aren’t being under-compensated for your injuries.