If you were hurt in a car accident by someone who did not have insurance, you have basically two choices. One is to pursue a claim against the other driver anyway (assuming it was their fault) and the other is to file a claim under your own car insurance policy. Either way, you should file a police report, report the accident to your insurance, and still follow the other usual steps after an accident.
Using the Uninsured Motorist Policy under your own Insurance
Many people either did not know that they had uninsured motorist coverage, or forgot about it, until they ended up being hit by a driver who didn’t have car insurance. Uninsured Motorist Coverage is a type of car insurance that will cover you if you are hit by someone who does not have insurance. The policy provides protection by compensating you for your losses in the accident, just as you would try to recover from an insured driver. Your insurance company might decide to take legal action against the other driver directly to be reimbursed for what they have paid you, and while you will need to cooperate in that process, you don’t need to really worry about whether or not the insurance company will be able to collect from them, as you were already compensated.
Suing the Uninsured Driver
Technically, you can sue the other driver even if he or she does not have insurance, but these cases are extremely difficult to bring about and if you win, you may have trouble collecting from the driver. For this reason, most attorneys will not even handle a case against a driver who did not have insurance. It is much easier to use your uninsured motorist policy. You pay for this coverage and should not feel bad about using it if you have to.
But Doesn’t Everyone Have to Have Car Insurance in the State of Illinois?
Yes. Illinois requires that every driver carry a minimum amount of car insurance. These laws were designed to protect pedestrians and other people who are on the road, in the case of an accident. The unfortunate reality, however, is that people do break the law. While the uninsured driver risks being fined and other penalties, these penalties do not help you very much if you are injured in a car accident by someone who hasn’t bothered to buy insurance.
Your Rates Will Not Go Up if you use your Uninsured Motorist Policy
Many people worry that if their insurance pays out a claim, they will see an increase in their premiums. This is not the case in an uninsured motorist case because the accident wasn’t your fault. Therefore, you will not be penalized. The insurance company doesn’t need to penalize people as they are making their money with the premiums that are paid for this additional coverage.
Is it Easy to Use my Uninsured Motorist Policy?
Not always. Even though you are dealing with your own insurance company and should have an easier time than you would having to go up against the other driver’s insurance company (if they had any), insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with and do not always pay out on claims, even when they should. If you are being given the run around by your own insurance company following an accident by someone who didn’t have insurance, it may be a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney to deal with your own insurance adjuster, to make sure that you are receiving what you are entitled to. Oftentimes, insurance companies will try to pay the bare minimum (if anything), especially if they are dealing directly with someone who is not represented by a lawyer. They may try to only pay your medical bills or out of pocket costs, hoping that you don’t know better. Even when filing under your own policy, you may be entitled to full compensation for not only your medical bills but also for:
- Pain and Suffering
- Lost Wages if you had to lose time from work
- Future Medical Bills if you aren’t done treating
- Ambulance Fees
- Physical Therapy
- Other Expenses and Losses, depending upon the circumstances.
You may not have to go it alone, call us for a complimentary strategy session to help you determine the best course of action after being hit by someone who didn’t have car insurance.