If you get into an accident caused by an at-fault driver here in Illinois, under state law, that person must have liability insurance to pay your claim for damages and injuries. But what happens if they don’t have even the bare minimum of liability insurance?
You could potentially sue the individual driver, or the parents of a minor teen driver. But realistically, a person who is driving a car with no insurance is not likely going to have the resources to pay your claim personally even if you were to seek and obtain a judgment against them.
Liability insurance minimum coverage
Here in Illinois, every driver must carry the below minimum amounts of liability auto insurance:
- $25,000 for injury/death of a single person
- $50,000 for injury/death of two or more people
- $20,000 for property damage
As you can imagine, those limits could be reached and breached very quickly if the accident was serious or if there were several occupants in the vehicle.
What are your options?
What typically happens in these type of circumstances is that you will need to file a claim with your own auto insurance company. If you carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, in theory, this should be fairly simple and straightforward.
But unfortunately, some auto insurance companies will do all that they can to avoid paying out your claim. They may try to find some technical reason like the check for your policy renewal arrived a day late or insist that it wasn’t you behind the wheel but a non-covered driver. There are many shady ways that companies try to avoid paying out their customers’ legitimate claims for damage.
Fighting for justice in the civil courts
Unless the auto insurance company has a legal reason not to pay off your claim — and there are exclusions to policies, to be sure — you will need to appeal the denial to the insurance company. It could be that an overzealous claims manager made a mistake and the claim will be paid once you challenge the denial.
But there are cases where an injured customer has to actually file suit against their own auto insurance company in order to get the relief that they are seeking and for which they are owed. You can learn more about what is covered and excluded by reading the auto insurance policy. Then, you can determine the best way to proceed.