Car accidents are an unfortunately common and dangerous occurrence on the streets of Illinois. When you find yourself injured at the hands of another negligent or reckless driver, you often must rely on their insurance coverage to get you the compensation you need to deal with your condition. However, there are some cases where the other party does not have the requisite insurance coverage to provide you with the money you are owed.
In these cases, the other driver is still responsible for compensating you out of pocket to the fullest extent of their ability. However, even if they do not have the means to pay your damages, you may be able to recover through a specific policy from your own insurance coverage.
At Wruck Paupore, our knowledgeable Indiana car accident lawyers can provide you with a legal analysis to determine how you should go about getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today at (219) 322-1166 to schedule your free initial case assessment.
Every state in the union follows one of two rules for car insurance responsibility: at-fault and no-fault. Illinois is in the majority of states that use at-fault car insurance rules. This means that the party who caused the accident (or, more typically, their insurance company) is responsible for compensating the victims of the harm that the accident caused.
This still applies even if the party that caused the accident was uninsured or underinsured at the time of the accident. The responsibility is still on the negligent driver to compensate the victims. However, these funds may not be available to every driver without the assistance of insurance. Even if a car accident victim succeeds in a lawsuit against an uninsured driver, it is possible that they would not be able to recover everything they are owed simply because the negligent driver has no ability to pay.
If you find yourself injured at the hands of an uninsured driver who cannot afford to compensate you for your injuries, you will still have some ability to recover. In Illinois, auto insurance policies must provide coverage for uninsured accidents through their uninsured motorist coverage. Every policy must have at least $25,000 per person of uninsured motorist coverage. This is a minimum requirement, and your policy may contain more than the minimum amount. You should have your policy language reviewed by a seasoned Fort Wayne car accident lawyer to help you determine what coverage you have.
Uninsured car accident coverage applies under Illinois’ at-fault rules by filling the gap as if the uninsured driver had auto insurance. Your ability to recover from your own uninsured motorist coverage depends upon your ability to prove the accident was the fault of someone other than yourself who does not have adequate insurance to pay your damages.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies issue denials of perfectly valid claims every day. Some of these denials are made in error, but others happen because the insurance company is hoping that the claimant will be discouraged from pursuing their recovery further. This may occur more frequently when the insurance company knows that the claimant does not have experienced legal representation that can spot these practices, also known as “bad faith,” from afar. If your uninsured motorist claim is wrongfully denied, you can pursue claims against your insurance company based on their breach of their legal duty of good faith and fair dealing.
Short of outright denying your claim, your own insurance company may simply refuse to pay you what your claim is worth. There are many insurance companies which follow a strategy called the “three D’s” - deny, delay, and defend. This means they may initially deny your claim or suggest that they may do so. Ultimately, they will delay resolving your claim for damages over the course of months, and then offer far less than your claim is worth. Then, if you refuse to take this offer, they will defend against your claim in court.
We are very familiar with these tactics. If you contact us, we will explain the important strategies which can be used to prevent an insurance company from using these tactics against you.
In any car accident, the first step that you should take after the immediate danger has passed is to call the authorities. This is particularly true in cases where at least one of the drivers may not have insurance coverage. Police officers who respond to the scene will take down the identities, license numbers, and insurance policy numbers of everyone involved. These details and a summary of the accident and how it occurred are then submitted into an official police report, which is a critical piece of documentation to have when dealing with insurance companies.
It is also possible that an uninsured or underinsured driver may attempt to flee the scene of the accident. Failure to share insurance information at the scene of the accident before leaving may be considered a felony hit-and-run under Illinois law, but that does not prevent many from doing so, either out of fear of the consequences or even just panic. When you call 911, be sure to provide the dispatcher with a description of the location of the accident, the other driver or drivers involved, and the other vehicles. This way, if a party attempts to flee the scene, the dispatcher can provide the description to police units in the area to search for the other party.
To discuss your case and your best opportunities for recovery with a dedicated Hammond car accident lawyer, call the offices of Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166 and get a free initial case assessment.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.