How to File an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Driving without insurance in Illinois is a very serious offense. According to the Illinois Secretary of State’s publication on mandatory vehicle insurance, an at-fault uninsured motorist is required to pay for all damages they caused or face license plate registration and driver’s license suspensions.
Further, the Secretary of State does not maintain insurance information for all Illinois drivers so it is up to you to file a report with the Illinois Department of Transportation for any vehicle collisions. In this article, we will discuss Illinois legal compliance, enforcement, penalties, and a step-by-step procedure for what to do if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.
Legal Compliance for Motor Vehicle Insurance
Illinois is a mandatory vehicle insurance state. This means all drivers must legally carry minimum liability insurance to operate an automobile. You comply if you have insurance for the following amounts:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident.
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person.
- $20,000 property damage coverage of another person.
You must also carry a valid insurance card in your vehicle and be able to show a law enforcement officer the card. Keep in mind that e-cards are legally valid in Illinois, but again, you must be able to show the officer. So a broken, uncharged, no-connection cell phone is no excuse. We recommend always carrying a valid paper version in your glove box, center console, or wallet/purse.
Enforcing Mandatory Insurance Laws
There are two ways so for law enforcement officers to make sure you’re an insured driver:
- If you are stopped for a traffic violation or if you’re involved in an automobile accident and issues a traffic ticket – an officer will ask for your insurance card. If you’re unable to provide one you will be issued a ticket for that violation as well. If once appearing in court, you are unable to provide the card a conviction is submitted to the Secretary of State and you’ll receive a three-month driver’s license suspension and a suspended license plate.
- If the computer randomly selects your license plate registration, you will receive an insurance verification form in the mail. You must then prove that you’re covered with liability insurance and return the form. The same suspensions will occur as if you’re convicted in court if you cannot provide proof of insurance at this time.
Penalties for Driving Uninsured
- Minimum $500 fine.
- Minimum $1000 fine for driving a vehicle after your registration is suspended for no insurance.
First-time offenders have a license plate suspension until a $100 reinstatement fee is paid and proof of insurance card is submitted. Multiple-time offenders must serve a four-month suspension, then pay the $100 reinstatement fee and provide proof. Your car may not be driven while the plates are suspended.
A certificate of financial responsibility is a certain type of auto insurance for convicted uninsured drivers. This designation is called SR22 – and is a more costly type of auto insurance – and is required for three years or face driver’s license suspension.
What Should You Do if Hit by an Uninsured Motorist?
As you can see from the enforcement and penalties sections of this article, driving uninsured a very serious offense with harsh consequences. By law, any property damage over $500 and any injuries at all require traffic accidents to be reported. If you are hit by an uninsured motorist do the following:
- Immediately call the police – they will file a report of the incident and that report will be required when filing a claim.
- Immediately seek medical attention – even if you are unsure if you’ve sustained injuries and are not in immediate pain you might be injured.
- Get as much information you can – ask the other driver for their insurance card, name, license plate and interview any witnesses for their contact information as well.
- Contact IDOT to certify whether the driver is, indeed, uninsured.
- Contact us at MacCloskey Kesler and Associates – we have decades of experience fighting for our clients of uninsured accidents. We know how to seek compensation for hospitalization, physician, liens which arise from unpaid medical bills, and damages.