Many people remember their first car. The smell of the interior, the feel of the road under its tires, and the freedom that it represented are all memories that many people have of their first experience with driving. Not many people remember what insurance coverage they had on their first car, and some could not even tell you what coverage they have on their current car. While some drivers have extensive insurance policies that offer coverage for any potential bump in the road, many drivers only have the minimum that is required by the state in which they are licensed. Those state minimums are designed to offer protection to drivers using a state’s roadways, and are not always sufficient to cover all the damage caused by a car accident. It is important for drivers to understand Illinois law as it relates to car insurance, and what their options are in the event they need to seek other pathways to recovery.
Illinois law requires all drivers to carry auto insurance on their vehicle. This is standard for all states as they want to ensure that all people, passengers included, are protected in the event of an accident. Illinois law mandates that every driver carry liability insurance in varying amounts to cover injury or death of a person in an accident and property damage from an accident. Drivers must carry an insurance policy that covers up to $25,000 for the death of one person, $50,000 for the death of more than one person, and $20,000 for the damage to property of another person.
Liability insurance is defined as “insurance protection that pays for claims or judgments brought against the insured.” What this means is that if a driver carrying only the minimum amount of insurance in Illinois in in a car accident for which they are at fault, their insurance coverage would only provide compensation to the person(s) that were hit. For example, if driver A carries liability coverage only and hits the car of driver B, causing damage to the driver B’s bumper, the insurance coverage would only pay for the damage done to driver B’s car even though both cars suffered damage. Insurance that would pay for both vehicles is known as collision coverage. Another common category of auto insurance is knows as comprehensive coverage, which provides insurance for damage done by something other than a collision (i.e. hail, fire, theft).
Car accidents range in severity from very minor, causing little to no damage to vehicles or persons, to very major, causing extensive injuries and total loss of property. Illinois is what is known as a “fault state” when it comes to automobile accidents. What this means is that the party at fault for the accident is responsible for paying for the resulting damage. In legal terms, this is known as comparative negligence. In states like Illinois that have a comparative negligence law in place, the liability for an accident will be shared by all parties who are at fault. The law allows an injured person to recover damages from the person who caused the accident (so long as they were not more than 50 percent at fault). In some cases, the person at fault for an accident does not carry sufficient insurance to cover all of the damage he/she caused. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit to recover the amount needed that exceeds the insurance coverage amount.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C today and speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your options for recovery. You should not have to be left holding the bill for an accident that you did not cause. Call today and we can offer guidance, or representation if necessary, to help you obtain the justice you deserve.