How to Handle a Crash with an Underinsured Driver | Staver
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How to Handle a Crash with an Underinsured Driver

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Insurance

Insurance policies provide drivers with a safety net that their damages and injuries should be covered after a car accident. Illinois requires its drivers to buy certain amounts of insurance. As an at-fault state, we expect drivers that cause the crash to pay for the other party’s damages and losses.

What happens when that driver doesn’t have insurance? Learn more about uninsured or underinsured drivers and how you can recover after a crash.

A Glance at Illinois Insurance Requirements

Illinois has minimum policy limits that drivers must meet in order to be fully insured. The bodily injury and property damage policies can help pay for drivers hurt in an accident with the policyholder. The uninsured policy covers the policyholder in the event of a crash with a driver without insurance.

Drivers must have $25,000 a person and up to $50,000 per accident of uninsured driver insurance. Uninsured coverage will help when you can’t identify the driver or if they don’t have any insurance.

What is an Underinsured Driver?

Although state law requires drivers to purchase minimum insurance amounts, some drivers don’t buy any insurance, or they don’t buy enough coverage. These drivers are considered either uninsured or underinsured, depending on their circumstances.

When these drivers cause a car crash, they don’t have enough coverage to cover the victim’s claim. If you’ve purchased a full coverage policy, you should have access to uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits.

What is an Underinsured Motorist Claim?

An Underinsured Motorist claim (UIM) is the claim you can file that uses your policy to cover the costs not covered by an underinsured motorist. The amount depends on your policy, but the state’s minimum is $25,000 per person, with $50,000 per accident.

Your UIM coverage covers the difference between the accident’s costs and whatever the underinsured driver’s policy covers. For instance, let’s assume the damages in your car accident reach $45,000. If the underinsured driver carries $20,000 in bodily injury insurance, your own policy can cover the remaining balance that can’t be paid for by the at-fault driver.

What Kind of Damages Can Underinsured Crashes Cause?

A crash with any driver can have long-lasting consequences, and if the other driver’s insurance can’t cover your full damages, it can be even worse for you.

Car crashes can cause all manner of injuries, ranging from inconvenient to severe. Broken bones, back injuries, whiplash, paralysis, or traumatic brain injuries can impact all aspects of your life. If the at-fault driver does not have sufficient coverage, you could be forced to file an underinsured insurance claim.

How to File an Underinsured Motorist Claim

There are steps to follow after a crash to ensure you can receive the maximum compensation possible for your damages.

Get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. If your injuries are severe enough, you’ll probably be taken from the scene. Even if you don’t have obvious injuries, you should get checked out in case you’re experiencing delayed symptoms. Doctors and other medical providers can determine the damage you experienced and what kind of long-term recovery plans you might need. They can provide you with an accurate estimate of your costs, both immediately after the crash and what you might have to pay in the future.

You should exchange insurance information with the other driver at the scene of the crash. This step is critical if you wish to be compensated for your damages and losses. You’ll be able to see if they lack insurance, if their policy has expired, or if it falls short.

Find a Chicago personal injury attorney. While it is possible to make a claim alone, these cases can become complex quickly, especially if the other driver’s insurance argues with you or your own provider isn’t helping you. Your attorney can help you review your policy and reach out to your provider so you can push your claim forward. They can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

Complications to Expect in UIM Claims

Because you’re relying on your policy to cover the damages the at-fault driver cannot, you’ll be working with your own insurance company. These businesses will be looking after their bottom line, however. Even though they advertise that they protect you and your property, they are for-profit institutions. They want to make money. If they have to pay large claims, they won’t make a lot of money. They might fight you.

The insurance company may argue that you were at-fault for the accident, which may void your policy or prove the other driver doesn’t owe you anything from their underinsured policy.

Why You Should Get Legal Help

Hiring an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer who has dealt with underinsured motorists is critical to getting the compensation you deserve. Under Illinois law, you’re entitled to full compensation from the at-fault party responsible for your losses. If the driver doesn’t have a policy that covers your losses, you can pursue a lawsuit against them. Your attorney can explain the process and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

You’ll need evidence to show they were at-fault, and that you suffered injuries and property damage because of them. Your attorney can find proof that their policy was inadequate and show the court your losses.

Having someone on your side ready to fight for your case is key. Taking on insurance companies alone does not give you the best chance at getting the money you need to recover. Working with an attorney improves your odds at financial recovery after a car crash.

Call Staver Today For Help with Your UIM

Car accidents aren’t usually planned, but you can be prepared for them. Even if you are the most defensive driver, there’s a chance you’ll get hit by a driver who lacks proper insurance coverage. You can call the Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., to ensure you have the best opportunity to recoup your losses after a crash.

We understand the pain and suffering you might experience after a crash, and how disruptive it can be to face the expenses on your own, especially when you pay insurance premiums to protect you from underinsured drivers. We’re ready to help you get the money you’re owed.

Call (312) 236-2900 or use our contact form to schedule your consultation now.

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(312) 236-2900
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