Illinois Court of Appeal Reverses Summary Judgment for Insurer in Bicycle Accident Claim Involving Policy Interpretation Dispute

There are many different rules that apply to filing a claim with your insurer for a bicycle accident. If you do not follow some of these rules, then you may find that your claim is denied. At Therman Law Offices, we are available to assist Chicago bicycle accident victims with protecting their right to compensation. This includes ensuring that insurers treat you fairly and do not take advantage of you. While you are coping with injuries and stressful disruptions in your life, we will provide you with the responsive and compassionate legal representation that you deserve.

In a recent appellate opinion, the Illinois Court of Appeal considered a claim in which an injury bicyclist filed a claim with his mother’s auto insurance after being struck by a hit and run driver. The insurance company denied the claim on the basis that the son did not follow the requirements of the insurance policy. Specifically, it argued that the policy required someone injured by a hit-and-run driver to report the accident to the police within 24 hours to as soon as practicable. In this situation, the son did not notify the police until 11 days after the accident.

The son filed an action seeking declaratory relief, which is a type of action that asks the court to resolve a particular legal issue or dispute. The plaintiff and the insurer both filed motions for summary judgment. The lower court agreed with the insurer and granted its motion for summary judgment, thereby ending the legal dispute.

The plaintiff filed an appeal arguing that he notified the police as soon as was reasonable even though it was 11 days after the accident. He stated that he was unable to identify the identity of the hit-and-run driver, there were no witnesses to the crash, he did not know that the bicycle accident was covered under the insurance policy and that he was suffering from severe pain due to the accident that made it difficult for him to travel to file the police report. Also, he did not learn that he suffered a fractured neck until several days after the accident at which time he decided to file a claim.

On review, the appellate court reversed summary judgment for the insurer. Based on the reasons that the son provided, the 11-day window between the accident and when he reported it to the police was reasonable and did not violate the provisions of the insurance policy. The court noted that the son suffered from dyslexia, which made it more difficult for him to read and understand the provisions of his mother’s auto insurance policy.

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Pursuing compensation can be incredibly overwhelming, especially if your insurance company or the at-fault party’s insurer is not cooperating or playing fairly. We offer a free consultation with a knowledgeable Chicago bicycle accident lawyer to discuss your situation and how we may be able to assist you. To schedule your meeting call our office at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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