How Cut Rate Illinois Auto Insurance Harms Cyclists
So you're riding a bike and you get into a serious crash with a vehicle in the city of Chicago. It wasn't your fault, but you're injured terribly, end up spending several days in the hospital ,and the next several years recovering from your injuries. Fractures, soft tissue damage, surgeries, physical therapy. Your life is on hold, and the recovery is long, painful and frustrating. Your medical bills are over $100k, but you figure it's ok because the accident wasn't your fault, and you'll be entitled to recover at least the cost of your medical bills in a lawsuit, for which you'll hire a lawyer.
You don't have a car, so naturally you don't have your own auto insurance, but the other driver is insured, and yo figured you're covered. Unfortunately, in some cases, you'd be wrong. The minimum liability insurance laws in Illinois only require a driver to have $25,000 in coverage, which might sound like a decent amount of money until you take a moment to consider health care costs in today's economy. If the driver has no other assets to speak of, and you have no additional insurance to cover you, you might be out of luck. $25,000 is all you'll ever be able to get, and it doesn't begin to cover even your medical bills, much less your pain and suffering and lost wages.
In this awful situation, cyclists with health insurance might be able to rely on certain Illinois statutes that will permit your personal injury lawyer to negotiate your health insurance company's "subrogation right," or right to be paid back for their coverage of your health care costs, down to a level that will still leave you with some financial recovery at the end of the day. However, cyclists without health insurance (a number that may be increasing soon depending on how the current Congress deals with the Affordable Care Act) might want to consider bicycle insurance, or non-owner vehicle insurance, both of which are available to cyclists in Illinois and can provide you with an extra pool of money from which to draw if you are injured by a driver with cut rate insurance, or worse yet, no insurance at all.