Illinois drivers are likely to face an increase in the mandatory minimum liability insurance required by the State as a bill to do so has been passed by both houses and is now on its way to the governor. The current minimum liability limits are $20,000 per person and $40,000 per occurrence and are set to be raised to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence.
Liability insurance is mandatory for all Illinois drivers and it provides coverage in the event that a driver causes injuries to another person, either in another vehicle, a bicyclist, a pedestrian, or even a passenger in the driver’s own vehicle. The State of Illinois allows motorists to select the amount of liability insurance they carry but each driver is required to have the minimum liability insurance of $20,000/$40,000. This means that if a driver has the minimum insurance required and is at fault in an accident, any single person who is injured can collect up to $20,000 from the driver’s insurance company but that the insurance company is only liable for up to $40,000 in injury damages, regardless of how many people are injured.
If this new law takes effect, as it is expected to do, those drivers who elect to carry the minimum coverage will now have a little extra insurance on their side while those who are injured in auto accidents will have the potential for a greater recovery for their losses. Though the cost of medical care has skyrocketed in the last decades, the level of required liability insurance has not increased in 24 years, meaning that the insurance limits have not kept pace with inflation or rising costs associated with collisions.
While this increase will be great for Illinois citizens, it is not a large enough increase to guarantee protection in the event of a collision. The truth is that car accidents regularly cause serious, debilitating injuries and even death, and that in these cases a mere $25,000 does not come close to fully compensating an injured victim or the victim’s family. Often a simple visit to the emergency room by ambulance after a collision can cost in excess of that limit which would leave no money available for follow up treatment, including surgeries, therapy, or rehabilitation procedures that a victim needs.
Since the mandatory minimum liability insurance limits are so low in the state and since the anticipated increase is so minor, it is important for all drivers to be aware of the risks that come with limited insurance and take steps to protect themselves. The best way to make sure you are protected is to get an insurance policy with a provision known as uninsured/underinsured coverage. This is a type of automobile insurance coverage that applies when you are injured by a driver without insurance or by a driver who cannot be identified because he fled the scene of the collision. Importantly it also provides excess coverage in a case where you are hurt by a driver who has insurance but not enough to fully compensate you. In this type of case, like where a driver has low or minimum insurance, a knowledgeable attorney can help you first recover against the at-fault driver and then make an additional, and often much larger, recovery on your behalf through your own insurance company.
You cannot control the behavior of other drivers or ensure that every other driver has great insurance so to protect yourself, you should purchase insurance from a reliable company and buy appropriate coverage, including uninsured/underinsured insurance. If you have been involved in an accident with a driver who did not have insurance or did not have enough insurance, you may still have a claim for your losses, including any medical bills you incurred.
Call the Illinois car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free consultation regarding your accident, your injuries, and your rights. We have a lawyer standing by 24 hours a day so please call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and let us get to work for you.
Prior Blog Entries:
Wrong Way Driver on Chicago Skyway Causes Crash that Injures 4, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published May 27, 2013.
Simulated Car Crash Before Prom Gets the Attention of Lake Zurich Students, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published May 24, 2013.
Illinois poised to raise minimum required auto insurance, by Becky Yerak, Chicago Tribune, published May 28, 2013.