Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Accidents
Dealing with injuries in the aftermath of a car accident is stressful enough, but it can be even more difficult when the at-fault party is uninsured or underinsured. The recovery of uninsured or underinsured coverage can be complex, but we know how to help you in this situation. At Therman Law Offices, our Wheaton and Schaumburg car accident lawyers can help you seek the compensation that you deserve for your harm. We can thoroughly review the facts of an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident and come up with a legal strategy accordingly.
Pursuing Compensation for an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Accident
In 2012, 12.6 percent of motorists, or about one in eight drivers, were uninsured according to a 2014 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The IRC measures the number of uninsured motorists based on insurance claims, using a ratio of insurance claims made by individuals who were hurt by uninsured drivers relative to the claims made by people who were injured by insured drivers in speeding accidents, failure to yield accidents, and other collisions. By the IRC’s estimates, 13.3 percent of Illinois motorists were uninsured, which ranked 20th in the nation.
“Uninsured” refers to individuals who have no auto insurance, while “underinsured” refers to individuals who have an inadequate amount of insurance. Uninsured motorist claims arise after an Illinois car crash when the at-fault motorist carried no coverage or cannot be identified. For example, when the at-fault party flees the scene of the accident, sometimes they are never found. Underinsured motorist claims arise when the at-fault motorist carries an insufficient amount of insurance coverage. An example of an underinsured claim would be when the damages in a particular case are far greater than the amount of insurance coverage.
Under Illinois law, if you have been hurt in an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your harm. The first step in recovering damages is establishing negligence on the part of the at-fault driver. Negligence occurs when someone causes an injury or death because they failed to use reasonable care behind the wheel. Reasonable care is defined as how a prudent person would act under the same or similar circumstances. In order to win on a negligence claim, you must provide evidence to support the following points:
- The defendant had a duty to drive using reasonable care;
- The defendant violated the duty to drive using reasonable care; and
- The defendant’s violation was a direct and proximate cause of the accident and the plaintiff’s resulting injuries.
Once you establish liability through a negligence theory, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will generally compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and other losses. However, in the event that the negligent driver does not have auto insurance or is underinsured, you may need to turn to your own automobile policy or the policy of a household or family member for coverage. In Illinois, when you purchase “full coverage” under your automobile insurance policy, you also get uninsured and underinsured coverage. The amount of coverage depends on the language of the policy and the amount of premiums paid. Far beyond merely reporting the claim, there are written notices that must be filed and other requirements that must be met in order to bring an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
Contact a Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg
Despite mandatory auto insurance requirements in Illinois, many drivers are uninsured or underinsured. If you have been injured by a motorist who was uninsured or underinsured, you should reach out to a hard-working car accident lawyer in Wheaton or Schaumburg who can assess the merits of your case. With many years of experience, we can advise you of your rights and help you navigate the legal process. Our attorneys strongly believe in holding distracted drivers and other careless people accountable for the harm that they cause. We also represent victims in cities such as Hoffman Estates, Streamwood, Elgin, Bartlett, Hanover Park, Bensenville, Wood Dale, Bloomingdale, Roselle, and Carol Stream. To speak to us in more detail, call us at 312-588-1900 or contact us online.