Illinois Appellate Court Issues Opinion in UIM Coverage Opinion Dispute

Uninsured motorist coverage is supposed to help us cover the unforeseen costs and expenses associated with a car accident, but receiving the benefit of your policy can be fraught with headaches. Insurance companies don’t always have your best interests in mind following an accident and when considering an insurance claim. As seasoned Chicago car accident lawyers, Therman Law Offices has substantial experience dealing with legal situations involving insurance companies. We will fight zealously to ensure that your insurer treats you fairly and that you receive the treatment that you deserve following a painful and stressful motor vehicle accident.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Illinois Court of Appeal was asked to consider a case where the plaintiff, an insurance company, sought declaratory judgment regarding whether it was required to provide uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage to the defendant, it’s insured. The defendant had a UIM policy, and she sought coverage for injuries she sustained during a motor vehicle accident that another driver who did not have an auto insurance policy caused. The policy included a provision requiring the insured to cooperate with the insurer when asked to assist in giving or securing evidence. This included providing proof of loss forms when requested. It also stated that there would be no coverage provided to the extent that it would benefit any workers’ compensation coverage.

The defendant was injured while working as a driving instructor for a trucking company. She was riding as a passenger at the time of the crash. The employer’s insurer sent a letter stating that its policy did not provide coverage for bodily injuries sustained by employees. The plaintiff concluded that coverage might not be appropriate, given the work-related implications of the crash. It later requested confirmation from the defendant that no workers’ compensation insurance was being issued for the loss. The defendant sent a letter from the employer’s insurer. The plaintiff sent another letter saying it needed to do more investigation regarding whether the other parties in the accident had insurance.

After several more exchanges and no resolution of whether the UIM policy applied, the two-year statute of limitations period to demand arbitration under the policy expired. The court, considering the plaintiff’s declaratory judgment claim, concluded that the defendant did not provide sufficient proof of loss to trigger the tolling provisions of the policy regarding arbitration demands. The defendant appealed, and the appellate court concluded that the plaintiff had made a sufficient request for information regarding the claim and that it did not act in bad faith in handling the dispute. Specifically, the defendant never provided the plaintiff with information about whether the driver of the vehicle involved in the accident or its owner had insurance policies that may be implicated.

If you were hurt in a car accident involving an uninsured motorist, it is essential for you to ensure that you are being treated fairly and that you protect your right to compensation. Insurance policies are tricky and include many complex provisions. Therman Law Offices offers a free consultation to discuss your situation and whether you may be entitled to compensation. Schedule your appointment now by calling 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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