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Illinois Appellate Court Considers Insurance Dispute Involving Arbitration Demand and Uninsured Motorist Coverage Following Pedestrian Collision

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One of the most complex parts of a motor vehicle accident is dealing with insurance companies and understanding your rights under a policy. The experienced Chicago car accident lawyers at Therman Law Offices are committed to providing injury victims with the tenacious legal representation they deserve during a stressful and painful injury accident dispute. Insurance companies don’t always have your best interests in mind, but we will fight to make sure that you are treated fairly.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered an issue involving an uninsured motorist policy. The plaintiff suffered injuries after being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian. The plaintiff demanded arbitration with her mother’s insurance policy because the driver of the vehicle was uninsured. The mother’s policy defined an uninsured motor vehicle as a vehicle for which there is no bodily injury liability bond or insurance policy applicable at the time of the accident. It also provides for arbitration of claims involving uninsured motorists. The insurer denied coverage based on a provision in the policy stating that in the event of an accident, written notice – including details about the incident – should be provided to the insurer as soon as possible. It also relied on a Proof of Claim term in the policy requiring that the person making a claim provide information regarding the extent of treatment.

During 2006 and 2007, the parties exchanged numerous communications and correspondence regarding the claim and whether the at-fault driver was insured at the time of the accident. The insurance company also sent correspondence requesting information about the accident and Proof of Claim documents. The plaintiff filed a demand for arbitration in 2008. According to the record, the parties took no further action during the next five years regarding the claim. In 2013, the plaintiff’s attorney reopened the claim and demanded arbitration again, but the insurer did not respond. After several proceedings, the trial court granted summary judgment for the insurer, finding that the plaintiff had not satisfied the terms of the policy’s notice provisions and that the plaintiff failed to comply with the Proof of Claim provision. As a result, the insurer did not have an obligation under the policy to participate in arbitration.

The plaintiff appealed on multiple grounds, arguing in part that she did comply with the notice and Proof of Claim provisions of the policy. Reviewing the evidence in the record, the appellate court reversed the grant of summary judgment finding that genuine issues of material fact existed as to whether or not the doctrines of estoppel and waiver apply. Evidence in the record suggested that the insurer lulled the plaintiff into thinking that she had complied with the policy provisions. There was also a question as to whether or not the insurer’s conduct had resulted in a waiver of the notice and Proof of Claim provisions.

If you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident, our compassionate and knowledgable team of lawyers is waiting to help you understand your legal rights. Whether your injuries are minor or severe, you deserve committed legal representation to ensure that you receive the just outcome that you deserve. We provide a free consultation to discuss your situation so call us as soon as possible at 773-545-8849 or contact us online.

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