In a uninsured motorist case if I accept payment from my insurance but the med bills are higher than Im covered for can I still go after the uninsured

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In a uninsured motorist case if I accept payment from my insurance but the med bills are higher than Im covered for can I still go after the uninsured

Other driver found to be at fault but no insurance my wife hurt and she is pregnant so not all tests can be done further medical probelms down the line are possible only covered for $20,000 in uninsured motorist looks like my insurance is going to offer the 20,000 but may not cover all med bills can I take the money from my insurance and still go after the driver at fault

Asked on April 3, 2009 under Accident Law, Illinois

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I'll share some thoughts but if you are seriously thinking of going after the other driver for damages, you should speak with a good auto accident lawyer ASAP. (Our affiliate www.AttorneyPages.com is a great place to find highly capable Illinois auto accident attorneys.)

The first issue you face is that when your insurance company pays you and your spouse under your uninsured motorists coverage, it acquires the right to go after the person or persons responsible under a practice known as subrogation. While you and the insurance company are on the same side, and clearly both of you would like to be able to recover more -- you the damages in excess of the $20,000 limit on your UIM rider and it the dollars it paid out to you for the accident -- and you'd need to work out some accommodation in terms of who will bring suit and how any legal fees and any recovery would be split.

The usual problem with any uninsured motorist is the motorist himself. Millionaires and other financially solid citizens rarely ride around with out any auto liability insurance; those who lack insurance are typically those without enough money to pay for insurance Thus these characters  typically have no meaningful assets, or so few assets that even if you recover a huge judgment against them, by default or after a trial, the few assets they have are protected from claims of creditors. Getting a huge judgment becomes an expense and hollow victory as they are unable to pay the judgment. 

Some people might say "I am patient. I can wait. I'll garnish his salary and take something out of each paycheck. Perhaps he will eventually be able to pay it, by getting a better job, striking it rich, inheriting some money." Surprise. People with a big judgment against them often can file bankruptcy and wipe out the judgment, so that you could not recover even if they win the lottery a few weeks after filing bankruptcy. 

Sometimes in litigation you can get lucky and learn that although the driver and his car were not insured, there is someone else with assets or insurance who may be liable for the damages. For example, if the accident occurred during the course of the motorist's work for his employer, such as when he was picking up the mail at the post office or making a delivery or travelling to a meeting, the employer might be liable for the damages caused by the employee. 

It pays to consult with a good lawyer.


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