GG, age 25, and 8 months pregnant, was a passenger in a car struck by a negligent driver. She was taken to a local hospital by ambulance, complaining of tenderness across her umbilicus where her seatbelt was, left knee pain and pain in both hips. She saw an orthopedic surgeon the next day, then took off several months to deliver, and care for, her (healthy) baby.
When she returned to treatment her chief complaint was now concentrated in her right hip.
Several weeks of physical therapy, and using crutches, did not ameliorate her pain. An MRI was ordered, and showed internal derangement of the hip with a torn labrum. Surgery was recommended, and performed nearly a year after the accident.
After reviewing GG’s medical records and bills, the insurance company for the at-fault driver turned over his $25,000. But GG’s claim was worth far more than $25,000, so an underinsured motorist claim for $75,000 was then made against GG’s own insurance company (the difference between the at fault drivers policy and GG’s $100,000 UM/UIM policy). GG’s company initially balked at paying any money for this accident, believing that her hip problem was related to a pre existing condition unrelated to the car accident. Testimony from GG’s surgeon demonstrated that the car accident exacerbated her pre existing condition, ie., made a non-symptomatic condition painful, and requiring surgery, at which point her insurance company tendered her a check for $75,000.
People who purchase the minimum insurance required under the law, $25,000, do so for economic reasons. What they do not know is that the price difference between a $25,000 policy and $100,000 policy, is actually very minimal. Unfortunately, they learn this lesson too late, after being a victim of a serious accident occasioned by a driver with only a minimum policy.
This case once again demonstrates the self-protection afforded by drivers who carry at least $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage. As a reminder to those unfamiliar with UIM coverage, Illinois law requires all insurance companies that provide automobile insurance to include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of the insurance policy. Uninsured coverage applies where a negligent driver has no insurance; underinsured coverage applies where the damage done by a negligent driver exceeds his insurance limits. In Illinois, all drivers must maintain at least $25,000 in coverage.
Lipkin & Apter handle significant injury cases for persons injured by another’s negligence. We are well versed in insurance aspects of an accident case, and would be pleased to speak with you more about this issue. Call us. There is no charge or obligation to consult with one of our lawyers.