Interviewer: What happens if you get into an accident with somebody and they don’t have enough insurance or they have no insurance at all?
Illinois Law Requires Drivers to Carry a $20,000 Minimum of Liability Insurance
Harry Williams: What if the person that hit you, the at fault party, has no insurance? Under Illinois law, Illinois requires that a person who drives have to have at least a minimum of $20,000 liability coverage. $20,000 is not a lot of money.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage: You Can File a Claim with Your Own Insurance Company
If the person who hits you does not have any insurance, then most people, under their own policy of insurance, should have uninsured motorist coverage. That person can now file a claim against his or her own insurance company under the Uninsured Motorist Provision.
The Uninsured Driver’s License Is subject to Suspension by the State
If I have a client that comes in and hires me and the at fault driver has no insurance, after I verify that, the first thing I’m going to do is send a letter to the Secretary of State of Illinois and ask that that person’s license be suspended. This is because they were in violation of the law.
Now that person can file bankruptcy and get their license back, because the bankruptcy releases some of that debt. If the person doesn’t have insurance, they can eventually get out of it by filing bankruptcy, so we always want to go then and look at the injured party’s insurance coverage to see if they have uninsured motorist coverage.
What Are Your Options If Your Medical Bills Exceed the Other Driver’s Coverage?
What happens more frequently is I have a client that’s injured in an accident and the person who hit him had minimum coverage limits of $20,000. Let’s say my client has $30,000 worth of bills and there’s only $20,000 worth of coverage. All I’m going to get is $20,000, because the person who hit him probably has no money of their own. All that’s available is the insurance money.
You’re Attorney Will Try to Negotiate the Cost of the Medical Bills so the Total Doesn’t Exceed Any Available Coverage
Then, I’m going to look at the policy for my client, the injured party, to see if they have underinsured motorist coverage. There may be coverage, additional coverage, over and above that $20,000. Then, whether there is or not, I may have to go and try to negotiate the medical bills down substantially because if there’s $30,000 in medical bills.
If there’s only $20,000 in coverage, there’s no underinsured motorist coverage over that then we have to make the $20,000 work. Then it’s my job to try to negotiate so we can take the $20,000 and negotiate the bills down so that when my client walks away they won’t have any bills that they owe.
This Scenario Occurs More Frequently Due to a Number of Carriers Offering Low-Cost, Minimum Insurance Policies That Can Be Purchased Online
Most of the time, I can get that done, but not all the time. That is an issue that comes up. It comes up more frequently than it used to because a lot of people are now shopping for insurance. The 30 and under drivers are now shopping for their insurance online and they just click through and find the cheapest insurance available until they get the minimum insurance of $20,000.
In the old days, which I call 15 years ago and longer, we used to call insurance agents and the insurance agent would say,“$20,000 isn’t enough. You need $100,000 coverage.” The insurance agent would provide a service and they advise the person as to what coverage they need. That’s not done as frequently nowadays.