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Uninsured Motorist Insurance Claims

Web Admin - Thursday, April 17, 2014

illinois uninsured motorist attorney

Driving is such a mundane part of many people's lives that they often take it for granted. However, because driving is so common, it is only a matter of time for most people before they end up in an auto accident. In fact, according to estimates done based on car insurance industry data, most people will experience three to four accidents over the course of their lives. That means that for the majority of drivers, car accidents are a matter of when, rather than a matter of if.

Consequently, carrying car insurance protection is not only a good idea, but it is actually legally required in Illinois. However, despite these laws, many motorists take to the roads without any insurance at all. Furthermore, even those who do carry state minimum coverage may not have enough to cover the injuries and property damage that often arises from more serious accidents. That means that drivers should take their security into their own hands by maximizing theiruninsured and underinsured motorist (UM or UIM) coverage.

What Is UM/UIM Coverage?

UM covers both your property damage and bodily injury in cases where the driver at fault for the accident either does not have insurance or has too little insurance to pay for the full cost of the crash. Many"full coverage" insurance policies in Illinois already have this sort of coverage built into them. It is important to read the policy carefully to understand whether they involve UM coverage, as well as the maximum amounts of property damage and personal injury that the plan will cover.  Ask you agent to maximize your UM/UIM coverage.

Using UM/UIM Coverage

UM coverage comes into play in two circumstances. The first circumstance occurs when there is no way to receive damages from the driver at fault for the accident. Often, that is because the driver at fault is illegally driving without insurance, but UM coverage may also protect against hit-and-run accidents where the driver at fault flees the scene.

The second circumstance occurs when a person ends up in an accident with a driver whose insurance will not cover the full cost of the accident. Suppose someone with $100,000 in personal injury UM coverage is hit by a driver with only $30,000 of personal injury insurance. If the accident is serious enough that the medical bills exceed $30,000, then the driver with UM insurance can pursue a claim against their own insurance company to make up the difference.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist, seek help from a skilled Illinois personal injury attorney today. Filing UM insurance claims can be a complicated process, and our team of attorneys helps people across the northwest suburbs in towns like Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake. Our attorneys will help ensure that you receive the full protection provided in your insurance contracts.

About the Author: Attorney Ken Apicella is a founding partner of DGAA focusing in the areas of personal injury, employment, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation. Ken earned his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1999. He has been named a SuperLawyers Rising Star and a Forty Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch. Ken has written and lectured for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education and regularly serves as a moderator at Northwest Suburban Bar Association's Continuing Legal Education seminars.

What Do I Do if I'm Injured in a Texting-and-Driving Accident?

Web Admin - Saturday, October 05, 2013

What Do I Do if I'm Injured in a Texting-and-Driving Accident?

A car accident of any type can be traumatic regardless of who is at fault. In Illinois, there are some important steps to take to make sure you follow the legal and responsible measures after an auto accident, especially a texting-while-driving collision. If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, state laws protect your safety. A knowledgeable Illinois personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

After the Car Accident

First, make sure that you do not need immediate medical care. If you do, call 9-1-1 and wait for an ambulance. If you only have slight pains, it is still crucial to see a doctor. If you do not seek medical attention after an accident, you may not be able to receive coverage for future health care costs.

Second, if you are safely able to, gather as much information as you can on the scene. Make contact with the other driver and write down everything, such as their insurance provider, policy number, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Also, take pictures of both vehicles and your injuries on your cell phone.

Next, contact your insurance agency and report the accident. Some providers require you report an accident within a certain period of time, so make sure to contact them as soon as possible. If law enforcement responded to the accident, you can request and send a copy of the police report.

Finally, seek out a committed personal injury lawyer with experience in Illinois traffic accidents. A knowledgeable attorney will successfully represent you by seeking positive results for your car accident case.

Texting-While-Driving Laws in Illinois

Under certain circumstances, if a driver hits you while texting and driving, it is against Illinois law. According to Distraction.gov, the U.S. Government website for distracted driving, the cell phone driving laws for Illinois are:

  1. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (primary law)
  2. Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers under the age of 19 (primary law)
  3. Ban on texting for all drivers (primary law)
  4. Ban on handheld cell phone use while driving in school or highway construction zone

Generally, handheld and hands-free devices are permitted in Illinois, except while texting. In Chicago, however, all handheld devices are banned while driving. Since the Illinois cell phone driving laws are considered “primary” ones, a police officer can pull you over for the offense without witnessing another violation (as opposed to secondary laws which only allow an officer to pull you over after witnessing another violation).

If you have been injured in a texting-while-driving car accident, contact an experienced Illinois personal injury law firm. The attorneys of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, are committed to serving clients throughout Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Lake and Will Counties. Contact DGAA online or call the Chicago and Palatine offices at 847-934-6000.


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