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Appeals Court Cites Intent in Rejecting Insurance Claim

The case of a Cook County man’s pursuit of compensation from his insurance company after an accident with an under-insured motorist underscores the importance of contract language in civil cases. A panel of judges in the 1st District cited a clause in the agreement Peter Amico had with the Allstate Corp. for coverage in denying his request for the full value of the policy after he was injured in a 2012 accident. Amico received a payout from the offending driver’s insurer and was seeking additional damages under a policy that explicitly indemnified holders in accidents with those lacking adequate cover.

The pair agreed to binding arbitration when Amico, who’d collected nearly a quarter of a million dollars in compensation, pressed Allstate on grounds that the contract didn’t specify the offsets against the policy’s $500,000 value that the company cited in its request for a summary dismissal of his claim. A judge in Cook County upheld the arbitrator’s award of $306,000 that left Allstate on the hook for the remainder after Amico had received payment from the driver’s insurer and workman’s compensation. The appeal’s panel concurred  with the Circuit Court’s denial of Amico’s request for a declaratory judgement for the full value when it heard his appeal on grounds that the contract didn’t expressly group under-insured drivers with the uninsured in the codicil dealing with off-sets. Appeals judges cited case law in inferring Allstate’s intent based on the language used elsewhere in the policy.

The Chicagoland Law Firm handles civil cases in Cook and DuPage counties and in courts around the state from our offices in Chicago and Downers Grove. We advise clients on contractual engagements, including with insurance companies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your matter with an experienced Civil Litigation Attorney.