Automobile accidents cause an unbelievable amount of distress for a driver and when you're the victim of a car accident and the responsible party is without adequate car insurance, recovering damages can be a daunting task.
Should the responsible party be insured yet lack the appropriate amount of insurance to compensate you for damages in your case, they are deemed under-insured. When it can be demonstrated that the under-insured driver is responsible for damages and injuries, the claimant typically files a claim against that party's insurance for the maximum allowable amount. The balance is then typically sought from the victim's own insurer if they have uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage.
Illinois law requires that insurers provide uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage, but the law does not require insurers to provide coverage that exceeds the coverage limits for liability coverage in the state. The state of Illinois requires that drivers be insured at a minimum of $20,000 per individual, $40,000 per accident (personal injury or death) and $15,000 for damage to property.
Should you be involved in an accident where an uninsured or under-insured driver is at fault, as long as you indeed do have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage at the time of the accident, you will be able to file a claim against your own insurer for the balance of any demonstrable claim you are eligible to receive (after having received the maximum allowable through the responsible party's policy).
Because of the unique nature this kind case, the claimant is pitted squarely against his or her insurer. The insurer becomes the responsible party (responsible for the balance of the damages recovered from the under-insured motorist). And because of the complexity in such cases, anyone that finds themselves victim of an automobile accident with an uninsured or under-insured driver should consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in uninsured/under-insured motorist cases.
Additionally, a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP) offers supplemental coverage where the liability umbrella policy leaves off. Should the at-fault motorist have PLUP coverage, a claimant may file claim against that policy to recover the balance of damages.
Unless the claimant has taken the initiative of securing additional uninsured/under-insured coverage (generally by increasing your auto liability limits), damages against one's own insurance carrier can be limited.
Because the victim's insurer becomes the responsible party, a claim must be filed against them as if they represented the at-fault motorist. Alternatively, filing a lawsuit against the at-risk driver seeking damages by way of garnishing of wages or lien against property can be an overwhelming task.
With the difficulty in navigating the legal terrain in these cases, it is extremely important that victims of accidents where uninsured or under-insured motorists are at fault seek the council of personal injury attorneys well experienced in such cases.
Panio Law Office attorneys have a vast amount of expertise in automotive accident litigation and claims and can present the options best available to you for recovering damages in your own case. If you do have more questions about uninsured and under-insured motorist issues or need assistance in filing a claim, contact us at (312) 313-0305. We can help.