The moments after a car accident can be very confusing, but you might be even more bewildered if an uninsured driver hits you. So, what happens if the at-fault party does not have car insurance? Generally, you may be able to make a claim with your own insurance company or look elsewhere for coverage.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Illinois law codified at 625 ILCS 5/7-601 requires all people who own cars to maintain liability insurance that pays for the damages that they cause with their negligence.
Minimum coverage includes the following:
- $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person per accident for the costs stemming from another individual’s injury or death in the accident, including other motorists, passengers, or pedestrians
- $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for more than one person per accident
- $20,000 in property damage coverage that pays for damages to the other driver’s vehicle or other physical property damage, such as that to fences, buildings, trees, or utility poles
If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you would generally file an insurance claim with that person’s liability coverage. However, if the at-fault driver does not have insurance, there is no insurance company with which to file a claim. You can still sue the at-fault driver. However, if the driver could not afford liability insurance, he or she may not have enough money to compensate you for your damages.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Despite the mandate to maintain minimum liability coverage, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that as of 2015, 13.7% of drivers in Illinois were uninsured. For this reason, all automotive insurance contracts in Illinois require you to purchase uninsured motorist coverage.
This coverage pays for damages caused by liable drivers who do not have any insurance or when you are hit by a hit-and-run driver and you cannot ascertain said liable party’s identity. Minimum uninsured motorist coverage is at the same rates as minimum bodily injury liability coverage. However, you can purchase higher amounts of uninsured motorist coverage.
You also have the option of purchasing underinsured motorist coverage. This coverage pays for damages caused by a driver who does not have sufficient coverage for all of your damages.
Other Insurance Coverage that Could Help You
You might have other forms of insurance that can help you with the damages you have suffered in the car accident, such as:
You might have collision insurance that will cover damage to your vehicle regardless of who was at fault. Many car loans require you to maintain collision insurance, so you may have this policy if you are currently financing your vehicle.
Your own health insurance may help pay for your medical expenses, although the company may have the right to receive reimbursement for the expenses it paid if you receive a settlement or award.
You may have a private or employer-provided disability insurance policy that may help cover your medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages stemming from the accident.
A lawyer can review the insurance policies you have in place and help determine your options.
Parties that May Be Responsible
Even if you were hit by a driver who does not have insurance, there might be other parties who might be liable for your damages, such as:
The Owner of the Vehicle
If the driver is not on the insurance policy, the vehicle owner may still have insurance on the vehicle that may still apply. For example, if an unlicensed teen took the family vehicle, you may still have a claim against the vehicle owner—even if the teen was not directly insured.
If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident, you might have a claim against their employer (even if the driver was driving his or her own personal vehicle). Employers are generally responsible for the negligent actions of their employees within the scope of their work.
Suppose your accident involved inadequate road maintenance, a faulty traffic device, or another problem that was caused by the municipality’s negligence. In that case, you might have a claim against the agency responsible for road maintenance.
A lawyer can review the circumstances of your claim and determine what your other options may be.
Contact Our Personal Injury Team for Further Assistance
Now that you know what happens if the at-fault party does not have car insurance, you might want to take the next steps to pursue compensation for your property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses. Our team can help you with all aspects of your claim. We can contact the insurance company on your behalf, gather evidence to support your claim, and file the necessary paperwork to pursue compensation.
We do not charge any upfront fees or any attorney fees unless we successfully help recover compensation for your claim. We provide a free consultation to learn more about your claim and to discuss your legal options.
Call The Kryder Law Group, LLC today at (312) 223-1700 to get started.