Articles Posted in Car Accidents

When you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to receive insurance benefits from the policies involved in the crash including your insurer policy and the at-fault driver’s policy. This can sound like a straightforward process, but all too often an insurance company fails to play by the rules. Also, there are a number of rules that apply to your insurer’s ability to recoup any benefits paid to you from a settlement or judgment entered in your favor in a corresponding civil case. The seasoned Chicago car accident lawyers at Therman Law Offices are available to assist you with understanding your right to insurance coverage following a car accident.

Recently, the Illinois Court of Appeal considered a case in which the plaintiff appealed two orders of summary judgment entered in favor of the defendant, an insurance company. The plaintiff had filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment asking the court to interpret an insurance policy that was issued to the defendant and active at the time the parties got into an accident. The plaintiff suffered injuries when she was hit by an underinsured motorist. Her damages totaled $350,000.

The insurer for the at-fault motorist provided the policy limits of $100,000. The plaintiff then applied for underinsured motorist coverage with her own insurance company to recover the outstanding damages, including a $250,000 coverage limit and $100,000 in medical payments. Her insurer provided the $100,000 medical payment coverage. It then offset the $100,000 paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the $100,000 in medical payments to conclude that the plaintiff was entitled to $50,000. The plaintiff declined the offer and filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment from the court explaining the proper interpretation of the policy.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

A common issue that arises after a motor vehicle accident is whether the parties involved in the accident have insurance policies that provide coverage for physical and property damage. In some situations, this is easy to determine but in others questions may arise regarding whether a policy’s coverage extends to a driver or victim. As seasoned Chicago personal injury lawyers we are ready to assist you with protecting your rights after a car accident. We will assist with all aspects of the matter including negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf.

A recent case explored the limits of coverage for an insurance policy in a one-car accident. The accident involved a non-owned, uninsured vehicle. The passenger of the accident died as a result of his injuries. The passenger would occasionally live rent-free with his father’s ex-wife at the time of the crash and had been living there for six months. The ex-wife never officially adopted the passenger.

The ex-wife had three insurance policies that provided uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Two of the policies also provided coverage for medical expenses up to $10,000. The special administrator of the passenger’s estate asserted a claim for medical payment coverage and uninsured motorist benefits under the policies. The insurance company filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a statement that the decedent was not entitled to coverage benefits because he did not meet the definition of a “resident relative” under the policy provisions. He was not related to the insured by blood, marriage, or adoption on the date of the accident and did not primarily reside with her, according to their view.

Continue reading

Rental cars offer an incredibly convenient way to travel when you are away from home on vacation or a business trip. There are specific issues that arise when it comes to liability and insurance for rental cars when accidents take place while a renter is behind the wheel. If you were involved in a car accident and one of the parties including yourself was renting a vehicle at the time of the accident, it is crucial for you to understand your rights. Our seasoned team of Chicago car accident lawyers is standing by to assist you.

Recently, an Illinois Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving a rental car collision. A man rented a car with a policy that provided for supplemental liability protection but included an exclusion for situations where the man was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While driving the rental car, the man was involved in a crash that injured a woman and killed her husband. The man was convicted of driving under the influence of drugs.

The wife filed a personal injury action on behalf of herself and her late husband alleging that he was negligent in operating the rental car and that she sustained injuries and her husband died as a result. She also filed a complaint against the rental car company seeking a declaration that it provided coverage for her damages. The rental car company filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that it was not required to provide coverage due to the exclusion in the policy and the fact that the driver was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

Continue reading

Insurance policies can be pretty confusing, especially if you are trying to cover medical bills after a car accident. The seasoned team of car accident lawyers at Therman Law Offices has helped many different Chicago area residents with figuring out their rights after an accident. We will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf and fight to make sure you get the outcome that you deserve.

The Illinois Court of Appeal recently handed down a decision in a case involving a dispute over an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) policy. The insured was involved in an accident caused by another driver. The other driver had an insurance policy that provided liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person. The other driver’s insurance company offered to pay the full policy limits to the insured in exchange for a release of liability, but the insured concluded that her damages were more than $25,000.

The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against her own insurance company alleging that it failed to adhere to the terms of her policy agreement by failing to pay for her damages and medical costs in accordance with her UIM policy. The insurer filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that the insured did not submit a written demand for arbitration in accordance with the policy. The trial court ultimately agreed with the insurance company and dismissed relevant portions of the insured’s complaint. The trial court specifically noted that the policy required the insured to submit a written demand if the insured and insurer disagreed about the amount of coverage she was owed.

Continue reading

The theory of vicarious liability states that an employer will be held liable for the tortious actions of its employees that occur during the course and scope of the worker’s employment. This doctrine seems straightforward, but it can be difficult to determine whether this agency relationship existed at the time that a personal injury accident took place. As seasoned Illinois personal injury lawyers, we are prepared to help you evaluate your claim to see whether vicarious liability applies to your situation.

The Illinois Court of Appeal recently considered a claim in which the plaintiff was injured in an accident involving a truck that was driven by an employee of a company. The driver had just delivered a load of cucumbers to a picking plant. The plaintiff filed a complaint alleging 27 causes of action including negligent hiring and vicarious liability against the driver’s employee and the company that brokered the delivery.

The plaintiff settled with many of the defendants and the brokerage firm moved for summary judgment. The defendants argued that the agency relationship ended after the driver delivered the load of produce, while the plaintiff alleged that it continued until the driver reached his “home base.” The trial court agreed with the brokerage company and dismissed the claims against it on the basis that the accident occurred after the work that the produce company hired the brokerage firm to do was completed.

Continue reading

Ride-sharing services are becoming a popular way for people to get from one place to another. For all their conveniences, these services are raising many legal issues. Our dedicated team of Chicago personal injury lawyers has assisted numerous Illinois residents in understanding their legal rights in a broad range of situations.

An Illinois court recently considered a case in which two individuals were hit and injured while crossing in a crosswalk. Prior to the accident, they had called a ride-sharing service to pick them up and take them home at around 2am. The plaintiffs alleged that the driver was incompetent and did not know how to get them to their ultimate destination. The driver took several wrong turns and when the plaintiff pointed out that the driver was lost the driver became agitated and asked the plaintiffs to leave the vehicle. The plaintiffs began walking home, which is when they were struck in a crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle was speeding and failing to keep a proper lookout for pedestrians.

The plaintiffs named several defendants in the complaint, including the ride-sharing service. The company filed a motion to dismiss alleging that being hit by the vehicle in the crosswalk was not a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the driver’s conduct. The other defendants, including the driver and a cab company, also filed a motion to dismiss on similar grounds. The lower court granted the motions to dismiss and dismissed the complaint with prejudice, which means that the plaintiffs could not refile the action.

Continue reading

When you are injured due to another driver’s negligence, an important aspect of your recovery is determining which insurance policies provide coverage for your damages. This can become incredibly complicated where multiple policies are involved and where those policies include underinsured motorist provisions. Our dedicated team of Chicago car accident lawyers is ready to help you ensure that you receive the maximum payments possible following a painful and unnecessary accident.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered the application of an underinsured motorist policy. The plaintiff filed an underinsured motorist claim against an insurer seeking coverage for injuries that he sustained while driving one of his employer’s 16 vehicles, all of which were covered by policies issued by the insurer. The plaintiff settled with the defendant driver who caused the accident for the defendant’s policy limits of $20,000. The plaintiff then sent notice to the insurer of the underinsured motorist claim and seeking the policy limits. The plaintiff argued that the coverage for all of the 16 policies should be stacked, amounting to $4 million in total available underinsured motorist coverage.

In response, the insurer argued that only $250,000 was available, constituting the policy for one of the vehicles. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The plaintiff argued that he should be permitted to stack the coverages while the insurer argued that the policy had clear language that prohibited stacking and that because the premiums were listed separately for each vehicle the anti-stacking aspect was clear. The trial court concluded that the plaintiff’s interpretation that called for stacking all 16 policies was correct. The insurer appealed.

Continue reading

car insurance

Photo Credit: Africa Studio / Shutterstock.com

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.

Continue reading

In a bustling area like Chicago, there are many taxis and motorists traversing the roads on a daily basis. This increases the odds that you could be involved in an accident. As dedicated Illinois car accident lawyers, we have handled a wide variety of crashes, including complex accidents involving multiple parties and insurers.

A recent appellate opinion discusses many issues arising from an accident in which a taxicab operator struck a motorcyclist. The plaintiff in the action was the Illinois Insurance Guaranty Fund (IIGF), which sought a declaratory judgment against the cab company and the Chicago Taxi Association, providing clarification about the insurance coverage in the underlying personal injury lawsuit.

The lower court concluded that the cab company was not covered and granted summary judgment in favor of IIGF. The cab company appealed on several grounds. First, it contended that the theory of estoppel or waiver prevented IIGF from asserting that it did not have to cover the accident. Second, it alleged that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment. Finally, it argued that the lower court erred in refusing to grant its motion to reconsider.

Continue reading

Contact Information