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How Can I Protect Myself From Uninsured Drivers?Any driver knows that he or she assumes certain risks by getting behind the wheel. A driver with a history of safe driving often believes those risks to be fairly well minimized. After an accident, however, even the best drivers may find themselves financially impacted by the actions of others, especially if those others are underinsured or uninsured drivers.

Uninsured Drivers

There are an estimated 32 million vehicle owners in the U.S. currently without auto insurance. This means that nearly 13 percent of drivers on the road have no protection in the event of an accident, and in some states, the number is closer to 25 percent. Industry estimates suggest that more than $2 billion is paid annually on uninsured driver claims, not including fatalities or claims of permanent disability.

Insurance industry experts recognize that uninsured drivers usually struggle to afford the cost of insurance premiums. Many drivers who are able to maintain coverage often buy only the minimum coverage required in their states, which, in many cases, is insufficient for serious accidents. Consumer Reports found that the average cost of medical care for a “non-incapacitating injury” after an auto accident was $23,400, higher than the minimum bodily injury requirement in 14 states.

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How an Uninsured Motorist Affects Your Personal Injury CaseA personal injury case involving a vehicle accident will start with filing an insurance claim before you decide whether to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. While you have two years in Illinois to file a personal injury lawsuit, the insurance claim process will start almost immediately. If the other driver was at fault for your injuries, their insurance will likely be responsible for compensating you. However, what happens if the driver at fault does not have auto insurance? In Illinois, your uninsured motorist coverage will pay you instead.

How Does It Work?

Illinois requires auto insurance providers to include uninsured motorist coverage in all insurance plans, whereas other states may only require that insurers offer it. Your insurance will compensate you if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, including if:

  • You were driving another vehicle;
  • You were a passenger in the uninsured driver’s vehicle; or
  • You were a cyclist or pedestrian.

Your insurance policy will also compensate you if the liable driver is underinsured. In that instance, your insurer would pay the difference between what the other insurance company pays you and your medical expenses, up to the limit of your policy. However, your insurance might not cover property damage caused by an uninsured party, depending on the type of policy you have.

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Illinois uninsured driver, cost of accident, Crystal Lake Personal Injury LawyerAlthough having auto insurance is mandatory in Illinois, not every driver on the road abides by the law. A driver who is injured or suffered property damage in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver can find himself or herself in trouble unless properly protected through his or her own insurance. Although the injured driver may not be able to recover directly from the uninsured or underinsured driver, he or she does not have to bear the cost of the loss of the accident.

Most insurance carriers offer auto insurance policies that cover drivers for accidents with uninsured or underinsured drivers. A driver can be underinsured if he or she carries minimum coverage on the vehicle and the coverage does not meet the damages or injuries caused. Illinois law requires drivers to be insured at the following minimums:

  • $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident;
  • $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person in an accident; and
  • $20,000 for damage to property of another person.

Therefore, it is advisable for a driver to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage.

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