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Uninsured and Underinsured Insurance Coverage

Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance coverage is a type of insurance designed to protect drivers who are involved in an accident with someone who has insufficient or no insurance coverage at all. This type of coverage is typically included as part of a standard auto insurance policy. Uninsured and underinsured coverage helps pay for damages and injuries that are not covered by an at-fault driver's liability insurance policy.

The difference between uninsured and underinsured coverage comes into play depending on what insurance, if any, the person who caused a crash has. Uninsured motorist coverage provides protection to drivers in case they are involved in a personal injury accident with someone who does not have any insurance coverage at all. Underinsured motorist coverage, by contrast, provides protection to drivers if the at-fault driver has insurance coverage, but it is not enough to cover all the damages or injuries caused in the accident.

Both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage typically cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs associated with injuries sustained in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. The coverage may also include property damage, such as repair or replacement costs for the vehicle. The specific coverage that is available is outlined in the policy documents that the insurance companies must provide. Often these documents can be complicated and may require an attorney review.

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Recent Win for the Injured. 

Insurance companies often try to avoid paying claims based on exclusions in the policies or based on public policy claims. For a recent example, you can read the case of Galarza v. Direct Auto Insurance, 2023 IL 129031.  This case made it all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court. Direct Auto Insurance argued that a 14 year old boy was riding his bicycle when an uninsured driver hit him. Direct Auto tried to say that they shouldn’t need to pay for the damages caused to the boy because the coverage was excluded as part of the insurance contract. Luckily, the Illinois Supreme Court determined that the boy on his bike who was hit by a car was a “person” who suffered injuries “arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle” – quoting language from the insurance policy’s contract.

 

This recent case decided at the end of November 2023 illustrates a few things. Insurance companies will try and argue anything to deny paying for victims of negligent driving, even if that means cutting out some of the most vulnerable members of our society like young teens hit by uninsured drivers. People involved in car accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents need strong legal representation to be sure the insurance companies will not take advantage of them so the insurance companies can save a few dollars.

Read the full opinion of Galarza v. Direct Auto Insurance Co., 2023 IL 129031. Contact Reuland Law, LLC here if you or a loved one may need help in avoiding the traps that some insurance companies set to prevent injury victims from recovering from their losses.

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