Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Lawyer in Chicago
An estimated one in 12 drivers in Chicago have no auto insurance. Many others are dangerously underinsured because Illinois has one of the lowest auto insurance minimums in the country. These limitations sometimes make it difficult for car crash victims to get all the compensation they deserve following a serious wreck. Suing the tortfeasor (negligent driver) personally is one idea, but there are others, as well.
Michael Friedman knows the law, and he knows how to make the law work for you. We get to work quickly to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. Then, we pursue the case relentlessly until we obtain the best possible result under the circumstances. All the while, we work with you on the claim. Our clients are our partners and not just our customers.
Because of the aforementioned low insurance minimum, many people in Illinois have umbrella policies. These policies provide additional coverage in excess of the normal policy limits.
These policies involve some legal issues. Sometimes, the umbrella carrier is different from the primary policy carrier. So, an attorney must conduct discovery to find these policies. Other times, the umbrella carrier tries to use legal or policy loopholes to deny coverage. Therefore, an attorney must be aggressive, as well.
Many Chicago car wrecks involve taxi drivers, Uber drivers, tour bus drivers, and other commercial operators. Typically, the respondeat superior rule applies in these cases. The employer is legally responsible for damages in these cases if:
- Employee: In addition to regular W-2 workers, independent contractors, owner-operators, and most unpaid volunteers are also employees. The employer provides guidance and supervision in critical areas, and that relationship is sufficient in tort cases.
- Scope of Employment: If these employees do anything that advances the employer’s commercial interests, that action is within the scope of employment. That could include driving an empty Uber vehicle which bears the company logo. In these cases, the employer benefits from the free advertising.
An employer may also be liable if it was negligent in hiring or in supervising its employees. This often applies in intentional tort cases, such as battery or false imprisonment.
Alcohol Provider Liability
Illinois has one of the broadest dram shop laws in the country. Grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants, bars, and other businesses are liable for damages if:
- The vendor sold alcohol to the tortfeasor (this alcohol sale does not have to be illegal),
- That alcohol substantially caused the tortfeasor’s intoxication, and
- The victim’s injuries were foreseeable.
Assume that a tortfeasor buys beer at a grocery store and later crashes into another car. If the tortfeasor is under the influence when making the purchase, it is more likely than not that the grocery store beer at least contributed to this intoxication. Furthermore, it is foreseeable that a tortfeasor will open packaged alcohol and drink it on the way home.
If owners knowingly allow an incompetent driver to use their vehicles, and these individuals cause car crashes, the owners are legally responsible for damages. Furthermore, people without valid drivers’ licenses are usually incompetent as a matter of law, no matter how much experience they have. The same result applies if tortfeasors drive against restrictions, such as no night driving or without corrective lenses.
Because of the Graves Amendment, commercial negligent entrustment claims are a little different in Illinois. These victims may have to introduce additional evidence of negligence.
Count on an Experienced Attorney
Even if the tortfeasor was underinsured or uninsured, fair compensation may be available. To set up a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Chicago, contact Michael T. Friedman & Associates, P.C.