You are alert and cautious when on the road and take every measure to ensure the safety of yourself and your fellow drivers. Unfortunately, not every motorist has this attitude.
If you have been in an accident and it was the fault of the other driver, there are certain actions you need to take straight away. Assuming you are not seriously hurt and you are able to hold a conversation with the person who hit you, it will be necessary to get their name, address, phone number, and insurance details.
But, what if they have no insurance?
It is illegal to drive in the state of Illinois without insurance. However, the economic squeeze of recent years has caused some people to drive without insurance. A number of undocumented workers are also on the road. Many of them must drive to do their job, and because they cannot produce the citizenship papers required to get insurance, they also take the risk of going without it.
In short, being hit by an uninsured driver is a real possibility, and you should be well prepared in the event of this happening to you.
Your First Steps
Your first priority after an accident should be to ensure the well-being of your passengers and the people in the other vehicle. You should then call the police and wait until they arrive. Once you have discovered that the motorist who hit you has no insurance, it is essential that you document the particulars of the accident.
You should take photos of the license plate number of the other car and get as many pictures of the damage done to each vehicle and the respective positions that the vehicles were in at the point of impact. Take down the statements of any witnesses, as well as their names and contact information.
When the police arrive, you must verify that the facts are recorded accurately. You should get the name of the officers who arrived at the scene. You are entitled to a copy of the full report, and you should request one as soon as it is available.
Moving Forward with a Claim
There is a reason why you must be so thorough in gathering information and ensuring that the facts of the incident are correctly documented. State law requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage as part of your overall auto insurance. The intent of such coverage is to deal with incidents like this.
The trouble is that most insurance companies are reticent to acknowledge such claims. In their view, if the accident was the fault of the other driver, then their insurance should pay; and they will do anything they can to avoid paying out.
If you have been in an accident you will have bills to pay—both medical expenses and car replacement and repair costs; you may also need to be compensated for wages lost owing to missed work days. You will, therefore, need to submit a claim for an uninsured motorist. The process of submitting a claim of this kind can be involved, and so you should hire a personal injury attorney.
How a Lawyer Can Help
You will need to prepare for a fight with your own insurance company in order to get the money you need to recover financially. If your insurance company rejects your uninsured motorist claim, you may be forced to sue them or the other person in court. Before you file suit, you will need a legal strategy, or at least the beginnings of one, in place.
Your lawyer will ask you to recount the events that led to the accident and all that occurred afterward. This narrative will prove useful as the basis of the legal strategy subsequently formulated and pursued.
Your personal injury attorney will take the photo evidence you gathered from the scene. They will also get a copy of the police report and statements of witnesses. Your lawyer will also initiate their own investigation into the driver who hit you in order to prove that they are without insurance. Your lawyer will also be able to bring Illinois law to bear to prove the validity of the uninsured motorist section of your insurance policy.
The case need not go to court. The case against your insurance company may be so overwhelming they may decide to settle the matter and offer you fair and adequate compensation. Your lawyer will have the expertise and experience to handle such negotiations.
If you have been injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist and your insurance company is refusing to honor your claim, we can help. While insurance companies will be looking out for their own best interests, we’ll be looking out for yours.
Contact Panio Law Offices at (312) 313-0305 for aggressive advocacy.