Motorists in Illinois must have liability insurance to compensate victims of motor vehicle negligence. The minimum liability policy limits run at $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence, or accident. Those who disobey the mandatory insurance law face fines of at least $500.
In 2019, approximately one out of every 12 drivers in Illinois drove without insurance. Even those with liability insurance might not fully compensate you for severe injuries that a wreck can bring. According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, over a fifth of crashes in 2020 resulted in injuries, and over 13 percent of those caused their victims to have severe lacerations, fractured arms, legs, or other limbs, and injuries to the chest, abdominal regions, or skull.
When hiring a car accident attorney, consider that professional’s knowledge, experience, and ability in dealing with automobile insurance – especially when the other driver’s insurance does not adequately compensate you. Personal injury lawyers turn to uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance to help pay your claims in an automobile wreck.
What are uninsured and underinsured insurance?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance pays damages to the extent the at-fault driver lacks insurance or enough to pay. By virtue of Illinois law, you automatically have uninsured and underinsured coverage with your automobile insurance. The minimum limits are the same as with liability coverage for personal injuries – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
Suppose your lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages total $80,000. If the defendant did not have liability insurance, your uninsured coverage would pay the full $80,000. If that driver bought the required minimum of $25,000 per person and the liability carrier offers its limit, underinsured coverage foots $55,000 of the damages.
Uninsured and underinsured pay those damages for which the at-fault driver would have liability. As with a claim against the defendant’s liability insurance, you must prove the other driver acted negligently and that the carelessness caused your injuries. The proof can come from sources such as:
*Witness statements and accounts
*Footage from nearby security cameras
*Photographs and videos of vehicles after the crash
Can you combine uninsured and underinsured coverage?
By “stacking” policies, your lawyer seeks to combine the uninsured or underinsured policy limits from each of the vehicles included in your automobile insurance policy. If you insure three separate vehicles under a single policy and the limit on each stand at $100,000, stacking affords you a total maximum coverage of $300,000.
Illinois law does not let you stack coverages if your automobile policy says no to it. Attorneys examine the policy provisions to determine if the language clearly prohibits stacking. If an ambiguity exists, Illinois courts may not block you from stacking coverages.
The ability to combine limits enhances your ability to be fairly compensated for injuries that may necessitate multiple surgeries, extensive hospital stays, and continuous therapies. Beyond stacking, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage afford additional avenues for car accident lawyers to pursue your personal injury claims.