Every motor vehicle driver in the state must obtain car insurance. This insurance protects drivers and anyone who suffers losses because of their negligence. Driving a car without insurance is a criminal act but does not automatically mean that the defendant is at fault for a collision.
Plaintiffs in car accident cases involving uninsured drivers must demonstrate that the defendant was at fault for the collision. However, pursuing compensation for these crashes differs from other motor vehicle accidents. Knowing what happens if the person you got into a car accident with has no insurance could help you to evaluate your path to financial and physical recovery.
Insurance Requirements in the State
State laws require every driver to obtain and maintain an insurance policy on their vehicles. In fact, 625 ILCS 5/7-601 states that a failure to get an insurance policy that meets the state minimum level of protection can result in a suspension of the owner’s registration. In addition, if police officers notice that a driver does not have an insurance policy, they may issue a ticket with a minimum fine of $500.
What are the minimum levels of protection? Any car insurance policy must provide at least $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage used to pay the medical bills of other injured parties. Additionally, these same policies must provide at least $20,000 of property damage liability coverage.
Even though maintaining a valid insurance policy is required under state law, a failure to do so does not mean that a defendant driver is at fault for an accident. An attorney could still help to prove the core of a case: that a defendant driver was negligent and that this negligence caused a plaintiff’s injuries.
What Options do Plaintiffs have when a Defendant is Underinsured or Uninsured?
The purpose of an insurance policy is to shield a policyholder from loss. As applied to car accidents, the insurance company, instead of the defendant, pays the medical bills or property loss of an injured plaintiff up to the policy limits. Therefore, the policyholder is liable for any damages exceeding those policy limits. Similarly, if the defendant has no insurance, they are directly responsible for any damage that they cause due to their negligence.
As a result, if a person’s medical bills exceed $25,000, the defendant is personally liable for any excess costs. The injured plaintiff can demand that the defendant pay that extra cost personally. However, many defendants in car accident cases do not have any assets to cover those losses. Therefore, it may be beneficial for motorists to obtain a policy that provides uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
This coverage is optional and provides payments in cases where plaintiffs suffer harm in a hit-and-run accident with no identifiable defendant or when defendants do not carry insurance. A plaintiff in these cases must still demonstrate that the defendant was at fault for the accident but then makes a claim for damages from their insurance policy. A car accident lawyer could help people to evaluate their legal options after an incident involving an uninsured or underinsured defendant.
An Attorney Could Provide Guidance About What Happens if the Person I Got into a Car Accident With has no Insurance
Being injured in an accident with an uninsured motorist may create several difficult legal questions. However, it is essential to remember that just because a defendant does not carry insurance does not mean they are responsible for the accident. An at-fault defendant is always liable for their actions, even if they do not have the required insurance protection.
One way to recover compensation for your losses is to sue the defendant in court to collect payments for your medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. However, many defendants do not have the assets required to cover those losses. Instead, it may benefit drivers to take advantage of the uninsured motorists bodily injury coverage clauses in their own insurance policies. While not included in every policy, these clauses can provide payments in case of hit-and-run accidents, or situations where a defendant does not have the required coverage. Reach out to a lawyer now to discover more.