Many Illinois residents do not know that provisions within their own auto insurance policies provide coverage for hit and run car accidents. What might be equally surprising to Illinois residents is that your own auto insurance will provide bodily injury coverage for your injuries if you were a pedestrian, on a bicycle or a passenger in another person’s vehicle.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed hit-and-run crashes and found that about one in five of all pedestrian fatalities are hit-and-runs, and 60% of hit-and-run fatalities have pedestrians as victims. Reasons for drivers fleeing the scene of an accident can be attributed to alcohol, illegal contraband in the car and unlicensed drivers. Unfortunately, intoxicated drivers will often choose to leave the scene of a crash rather than face the consequences of what amounts to criminal activity. Clearly these drivers are opting for self-preservation over personal responsibility. Further, the Foundation also concluded that unlicensed drivers are almost 70 times more likely to be a hit-and-run driver than a licensed driver.
What we as drivers, pedestrians and cyclists need to know is that our personal auto insurance policies OR the auto insurance policies of the family members we live with have provisions that protect us in the event we are the victim of a hit and run accident. The provision within these auto insurance policies are called Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage and will in essence, step into the shoes of the hit and run driver and provide us with the opportunity to make a bodily injury claim and obtain compensation for our personal injuries.
Currently, Illinois law requires UM coverage of at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident; however, we strongly advise Illinois residents to speak with their insurance agents and find out how much more money they would need to spend to increase the dollar amount for these limits. At times one can spend only a few more dollars per month to obtain tens of thousands of dollars of additional coverage. You do NOT want to find yourself in a situation where you were the victim of a hit and run accident and your recovery is limited to $25,000 for a severe injury when all you had to do was spend a few more dollars a month for upwards of $100,000 or $250,000 in available coverage. Your insurance agent has a responsibility under the law to properly explain these options to you before you waive your right to sufficient coverage options.
If you have any questions as to your rights under the UM provisions of your policy or if you were injured in a hit and run accident call our office immediately for a FREE CONSULTATION. We can explain your rights and help you ascertain whether you have available recovery options that can be explored. Our phone number is (312) 422-0509 and it is FREE to call and speak directly with one of our experiences attorneys.