For your own protection, and as is required by state law, every automobile insurance policy written in Illinois must include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). Insurance companies must offer this coverage to their policyholders in at least the same amount that it provides relative to liability. This makes sense, but sometimes even that level of insurance is not enough.
Under Illinois law, each motorist is required to carry liability insurance which will help pay for someone else’s injury or losses if we make a mistake while driving. In other words, your insurance policy covers everybody else in the world who might be injured as a result of your negligence.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you, the passengers in your vehicle, and the members of your household if one of you is injured through the negligence of another person who has no auto insurance or has a very small policy. In such an instance, the negligent driver’s insurance company would pay its limits whether it be $25,000 or $50,000 following which your insurance policy under the UM/UIM coverage provision picks up where that insurance leaves off up to the limit of its coverage. Of course, if someone has no insurance, then the “uninsured” UM/UIM coverage would prevail.
Today, many individuals have very low policy limits or have no insurance at all. These facts make sufficient UM/UIM coverage extremely important. Injuries resulting from an automobile collision can be extremely disabling and can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in medical expenses and lost wages. Having adequate policy limits from which recovery can be made is essential to helping people continue their lifestyles and pay their bills, not to mention receive the medical treatment they need.
Managing partner, James J. Morici, Jr., recently completed an underinsured motorist arbitration. The arbitrators awarded $200,000 to a woman who suffered a neck injury, which although not requiring surgery, caused her great intermittent neck and arm pain. The negligent driver was insured only to the extent of $100,000. Luckily, the victim, our client, had underinsured coverage in excess of $200,000. Mr. Morici collected the underlying limits of $100,000 and then as a result of his successful prosecution of the underinsured motorist arbitration, the client was able to obtain $200,000 toward her overall compensation.
At Morici, Longo & Associates, our legal team strongly recommends that all our clients maximize the limits of their UM/UIM insurance coverage and, in fact, have that insurance tied to an umbrella policy of $1,000,000 or more to augment the fund from which they can recover if they are seriously injured. The rules regarding uninsured motorist coverage are quite complex and the policies will cover many situations that might surprise you. For instance, a child riding a bicycle who is struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist or even a hit and run driver can recover for his/her damages and losses if they are a member of a household in which a policy for UM/UIM exists.
If you or if someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident in Chicago, contact us immediately at (312) 779-0366. Our attorneys are standing by 24 hours every day to discuss your matter and to lend assistance.