In 1989, the state of Illinois passed a law making it mandatory for all drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 of bodily injury insurance. Although it has been illegal to drive without insurance for decades, some drivers continue to break the law—leaving many injury victims out-of-pocket after an accident.
What to Do If You Are in a Collision With an Uninsured Driver
Even if you have enough coverage under your own car insurance policy to cover your vehicle damage and injuries, you may see increased premiums and fight with the insurer to get the coverage you are owed. If you are rear-ended or struck by a driver who is clearly at fault, you should:
- Never take cash. If another driver offers you an immediate cash payment instead of calling the police or involving insurance companies, there is a good chance the driver is uninsured. The reason it is a bad idea to accept cash in lieu of contact information is because it can be difficult to estimate damage in the moments after a crash—both to you and to your vehicle. If you accept $300 in cash from a driver and your car repairs are over $1,500, you have no way of tracking the driver down to collect the rest.
- File an uninsured motorist claim. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides payment for any injuries sustained in an accident with an uninsured at-fault driver. It also allows victims to collect an additional sum under their own policies if the at-fault driver had only a small amount of insurance.
- Report the driver. If you suspect that the other driver does not have insurance, you can report him or her to the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. If the police are called, the police officer will establish insurance compliance at the scene. Officers may write the driver a citation for uninsured driving, which can result in a $500 fine and a 30-day driver’s license suspension.
Want to know more about your legal rights after an accident in Illinois? Download your FREE copy of our book, When the Rules of the Road Get Broken: A Guide to Illinois Car Wreck Cases, or contact The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.