What Happens if the At-Fault Party Doesn't Have Car Insurance?

Published on: 02/21/22 — In  -

Motor vehicle accidents are always a huge inconvenience, even more so when the at-fault driver has a total lack of auto insurance coverage. Not only will you possibly be recovering from accident injuries and emotional trauma, but you will also have the added stress of thinking about how you'll pay all of your vehicle repairs and medical bills.

If you have been caught up in this unfortunate situation, it's crucial that you know that you don’t have to go through this alone. An auto accident attorney can provide legal counsel and work to secure financial compensation for any damages on your behalf.

Chris Ktenas, Chicago car accident lawyer

At Ktenas Injury Lawyers, our legal team has decades of experience between them. We have worked with many people who have been involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver to secure a fair settlement. Contact our personal injury law firm today at (312) 300-2515 for a no-cost initial consultation. 

Minimum Auto Insurance Policy Requirements

Illinois law codified at 625 ILCS 5/7-601 stipulates all individuals who own motor vehicles must maintain auto liability insurance that pays for the damages that they cause with their negligence.

Minimum auto insurance coverage includes the following:

  • $25,000 in physical injury coverage for one person per accident for the financial damages stemming from another person’s injury or death in the auto accident, including pedestrians, motorists, or passengers.
  • $50,000 in personal injury coverage per accident for more than one person.
  • $20,000 in property damage coverage that pays for damages to the other driver’s motor vehicle or other physical property damage, such as that to buildings, utility poles, fences, or trees.

If the other driver was at fault for the automobile crash, you would typically file an insurance claim with that person’s auto liability coverage. However, if the negligent driver doesn't have auto insurance coverage, there is no auto insurance company with which to file a claim. You can still sue the responsible party. However, if the at-fault driver couldn't afford liability insurance, they may not have enough money to compensate you for your financial damages.

While your automobile liability insurance covers damage sustained by other people involved in an auto accident, it doesn’t cover your losses. Because of this, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage. In Ilinois, Optional coverage includes:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage provides up to $10,000 in auto insurance coverage regardless of who’s liable. However, what’s covered depends on the specific auto insurance policy.
  • MedPay coverage offers coverage for medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers no matter who is at fault.
  • Comprehensive coverage offers coverage for damages other than those caused by a collision stemming from falling objects, fires, and vandalism.

Learn More: How to File a Car Accident Claim in Illinois

What Do You do if the At-Fault Driver has no Insurance?

If the liable driver either doesn’t have auto insurance coverage or carries an insufficient amount, they can be held personally responsible for bodily injuries and damages caused in the crash and for damages exceeding the auto insurance policy limit.

Further, insurance providers in Illinois are legally obligated to include uninsured motorist coverage with your auto insurance policy. The insurance coverage limits must be equal to the insurance policy’s injury liability coverage. Thus, if you’re involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage will cover your financial damages up to the amount of your insurance policy’s injury liability coverage.

It’s also unlikely that your auto insurance policy will cover the total amount of financial damages. Medical payments are fairly limited and don’t cover other financial expenses, such as lost wages from missing work. The best way to recover the financial compensation you need is by hiring a skilled Chicago car accident lawyer at Ktenas Injury Lawyers. 

It’s essential that you understand the consequences of taking someone to court. In Illinois, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within the specified statute of limitations. If you don’t file your claim in time, your personal injury case will be thrown out and you may never receive the financial compensation you need.

If you decide to take legal action against the at-fault driver, you must file:

  • Within two years of the date of the crash injuries occurred.
  • Within five years of the date of the crash property damage occurred.

The insurance claims process is confusing and can be difficult, so it’s in your best interest to hire a skilled Chicago personal injury lawyer. You should also understand that insurance carriers often deny and delay personal injury claims – you need an experienced attorney who won’t settle for anything less than you deserve. Call our skilled Chicago auto accident lawyers today at (312) 300-2515 for a free case review.

What Happens if the At-Fault Party Doesn't Have Car Insurance?

What are Criminal Penalties for Being Uninsured in Illinois

If you drive a vehicle in Illinois without proper insurance coverage, the following criminal penalties apply:

  • Automatic license suspension; and
  • A minimum fine of $500 and license reinstatement fees.

As is the case in all states, the police officers will find out you’re driving without adequate insurance coverage if they pull you over and ask to see your insurance card — or if you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Further, the state employs another enforcement method: Illinois randomly selects registered motor vehicles using a computer program and sends a questionnaire to the vehicle owner of each car selected. The questionnaire asks for the name of the vehicle owner’s auto insurance provider and their policy number. If the motor vehicle owner doesn't return the questionnaire within 30 days or if the information provided can’t be verified, the motor vehicle owner’s driver's license will be suspended.

Can Standard Collision Coverage Cover the Accident?

You can add collision coverage to your policy and, although it costs more, it'll help you pay for vehicle repairs after an accident. This is true whether you or the other driver are found to be liable for the accident, or if you were the victim of a hit-and-run car accident.

Again, collision coverage covers collision costs. This means it doesn’t apply to medical costs for your physical injuries, only the costs involved with repairing your vehicle. And, again, you can only take out as much as your maximum coverage will allow, so if your vehicle costs more than that to repair you’ll need to file a property damage claim for the remainder.

If you have been injured in an auto accident and the at-fault party was uninsured, our experienced attorneys can help. Our car accident attorneys have decades of combined experience and have helped many car accident victims recover financial damages from uninsured drivers.

We offer a no-cost consultation where we will review your car accident case and tell you if you have a valid claim. If you choose to work with our law firm, we will support you every step of the way and work relentlessly until you get a fair settlement. Contact our law offices today at (312) 300-2515. Our phone lines are open 24/7. Our Chicago car accident attorneys are ready to get started on your car accident case.