Illinois law mandates that all drivers carry liability insurance, but that does not mean that everyone does. In fact, there are many vehicles you pass every day on the roads that have no insurance coverage at all or a policy that is not adequate to cover claims in the event of a serious collision or a multi-car pile-up.
In the event you are struck by one of these drivers and are severely injured, their coverage may not be enough to cover your hospital bills — provided they have any coverage at all, to begin with. In these situations, if you have uninsured (UM) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage, it might apply in your case and be able to cover your medical bills and other damages you sustained.
A Rockford personal injury attorney can help you understand what your options are and what rights you have when you are injured in an accident. At Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd., we have been helping clients for more than seven decades get the compensation they deserve.
UM and UIM Insurance Explained
As its name suggests, uninsured motorist insurance coverage (UM) is something you purchase through your own insurance company. In the event that an at-fault party does not have coverage, or there is a denial of coverage for one reason or another, you can then make a claim with your own insurance for an UM claim. UIM, or underinsured motorist coverage, is not standalone coverage. This means you cannot purchase just UIM without UM. It is one joint coverage.
For UIM claims, this coverage will only kick in if the other party’s liability limits were not enough to satisfy your outstanding damages. For example, the at-fault party has $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person or $300,000 total for all involved parties. You are involved in a four-car chain-reaction collision. Imagine each vehicle had two additional passengers. With everyone being injured, that $300,000 total coverage may not cover everyone’s injuries and damages.
Now, if you are the only other party involved and your hospital bills are $150,000 alone, the single person limit of $100,000 will not even take care of your hospital bills, let alone your other damages.
In the two aforementioned examples, you could file a UIM claim with your carrier, provided you have purchased the coverage. It is important to understand that despite you making a claim with your own insurance company for UM or UIM, it is not a first-party benefit
This means you do not just file the claim, and they pay you. Your insurance company is stepping into the shoes of the at-fault party, which means you have to negotiate and try to resolve your claim. In the event your UM or UIM claim does not reach a resolution, you could wind up in litigation against your own insurance company.
Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney
UM and UIM claims can be complex. Some people make the mistake of letting their guard down because it is their own insurance coverage. You cannot do that because your insurance will use any admission of guilt or statements you make against you, just as the at-fault party’s insurer would. Do not attempt to handle a UM or UIM claim on your own, contact Brassfield, Krueger & Ramlow, Ltd. today to schedule an initial consultation.