When dealing with the aftermath of a serious car crash, you probably just assume that insurance will handle everything. You know that car insurance will pay for your hospital visit, your missed wages from work and the cost to repair your vehicle. You also know that because you didn’t cause the crash, the other driver is the one whose policy will pay.
People often have unrealistic expectations about what they can expect after a car crash. It is true that the fault-based motor vehicle liability insurance system in Illinois will pass the expenses onto the policy of the driver who caused the crash. Still, you might find that their coverage is a lot lower than the costs you incur.
Illinois doesn’t require very much coverage
The coverage rules in Illinois are low enough that the state itself warns consumers on its own website that minimum coverage will not necessarily protect them from all liability. After all, a lot of vehicles cost more than $20,000, which is the minimum amount of property damage coverage drivers need to have.
Drivers only need $25,000 worth of coverage for injuries to one person or $50,000 of coverage for two or more people that get hurt. Additionally, Illinois does require that drivers also buy uninsured driver coverage that protects them from the same amount of losses in a crash caused by a driver without an active policy.
You have the right to buy more than the minimum amount of coverage, and drivers who have higher uninsured driver coverage typically also have to purchase underinsured driver coverage. Those boosted coverage amounts can protect people in a crash caused by someone without insurance or with a minimal policy.
What about losses that exceed the maximum coverage amount?
You can only receive reimbursement or payment for verifiable costs incurred due to the crash. Even those claims will be subject to strict coverage limits. When the other driver doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for the damage to your vehicle, your hospitalization expenses or the weeks of wages you didn’t receive, you have several possible options.
You may be able to make a claim against your own policy if you have underinsured driver coverage. If you don’t have that covered or if you don’t want to risk your premium increasing, you may need to initiate civil action against the driver who left you injured without the foresight to carry enough insurance protection. Taking legal action after a crash leaves you hurt may be the only way to avoid absorbing those financial costs yourself.