Each year, there are over 5,000 motor vehicle accidents involving injuries to pedestrians in Illinois. Tragically, some of these accidents result in fatalities to innocent pedestrians, including children. See www.dot.state.il.us.
If you have been struck as a pedestrian you may have a claim against the striking motorist. You may also have an important legal claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, which can be brought against your own insurance carrier. An uninsured motorist claim exists when the at-fault motorist has no automobile insurance coverage, or in those instances in which the at-fault motorist cannot be identified. An underinsured motorist claim exists when the at-fault motorist has insufficient or inadequate coverage. In some instances, even if you do not have your own automobile insurance policy, you may be able to make a claim against an automobile insurance policy of a household or family member. Far beyond reporting the claim, there are written notices that must be filed, and other technical steps that must be taken, in order to bring an uninsured motorist claim; therefore, you should consult with an attorney right away.
Why should you be represented by counsel? An attorney can help you identify available insurance coverage and assist you in timely filing your claim against the insurance carrier in accordance with the rules for uninsured motorist claims and the specific terms of coverage under the policy. Remember, uninsured motorist claims create a conflict of interest between you and your insurance carrier. As in any adverse proceeding or litigation, you should consult with an attorney who has experience in litigating uninsured motorist claims. Your attorney should put forth a settlement or litigation strategy targeted to achieving the highest possible settlement.
An experienced and knowledgeable attorney can be particularly valuable in confronting and resolving hospital, physician, and subrogation “liens” which arise from paid and unpaid medical expenses alike. This process must be completed before the overall settlement is finalized. I am often able to provide my clients with valuable assistance in resolving or adjudicating expensive liens that were filed against their claim (and actually compete against the client’s net settlement), which result in substantial savings to the client in determining the net settlement amount they will receive. Remember, each dollar reduced or eliminated from a competing lien translates to a dollar earned by my client. For example, when a lien is reduced by $10,000, it results in a $10,000 additional net recovery to my client, and so on. Do not overlook this important fact when you consider whether to hire an attorney, or whom you hire. Get a lawyer who gets results.