In an auto accident situation, there are many potential obstacles you could face. In many of those circumstances, the biggest roadblock might be an insurance company. Going up against an insurance company may be an essential part of getting full and fair compensation for your injuries. It is also a key reason why it is worth your while to retain an Illinois car accident attorney to represent you in your case. The insurance companies are well-equipped with skillful attorneys. You should be too.
One recent case from the North Side of Chicago was an example of such a battle involving an auto insurer. The injured woman, Eileen, was hurt in a late March 2014 accident. She was crossing Milwaukee Avenue in the Norwood Park neighborhood when a driver crashed into her. The driver, Ciprian, had consumed several alcoholic beverages that day. Ciprian was driving a vehicle that he borrowed from Kelly. Kelly knowingly allowed Ciprian to drive the vehicle, even though Kelly also knew about Ciprian’s alcohol consumption.
Eileen was critically injured in the accident. She later sued both Ciprian and Kelly for the harm she incurred from her serious injuries. In many varieties of auto accident cases, including those involving pedestrians, auto insurers can play an important role. In a case in which the at-fault driver was not the vehicle’s owner, you may be entitled to sue both individuals, which could possibly trigger a legal obligation by one of both of those people’s insurers to defend them in your lawsuit.
When this type of circumstance arises, though, many insurers may fight tenaciously to avoid defending the case as a way to avoid paying you for your injuries. In Eileen’s case, Kelly’s insurance company asked the trial court to issue a declaratory judgment stating that the company had no legal duty to defend Kelly or Ciprian in the action.
The trial court ruled for the insurance company, but the Appellate Court ruled in favor of Eileen. The insurance company argued that Kelly’s “negligent entrustment” of the vehicle to Ciprian did not qualify as an accident, so the company was not required to pay Eileen’s damages. The appeals court concluded that the company was obligated, and it did not matter whether or not Kelly’s negligent entrustment of the vehicle to Ciprian was an accident or not.
The insurance policy Kelly had with her insurer stated that the insurance company would “pay compensatory damages for accidents resulting in bodily injury that arise out of” Kelly’s use or ownership of the vehicle. Eileen won her appeal because of the detailed information she included in her complaint. Her complaint alleged that Kelly entrusted the vehicle to Ciprian despite knowing that Ciprian was “intoxicated, incompetent or reckless,” and that negligent decision to give the keys to Ciprian directly led to Ciprian’s hitting her and injuring her. Negligently giving a vehicle that you own to someone whom you allegedly knew was “intoxicated, incompetent or reckless” is clearly something that “arises out of” your ownership of your car, according to the court, so Eileen should have been allowed to proceed.
Your auto accident case requires many things to achieve a full recovery, and that includes a detailed knowledge of the law and practical experience…including experience going up against insurance companies. For your case, talk to the experienced Chicago car accident attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. Our attorneys can help you get all of the compensation that the law says you deserve. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 800-444-1525 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Illinois Pedestrian’s $897K Damages Award Survives Taxi Cab Company’s Appeal, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, April 2, 2018
Fatal Chicago-Area Police Chase Accidents Lead to Two Deaths and a Pair of Multi-Million Dollar Settlements, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, March 19, 2018