NOVEMBER 30, 2023 – Today, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of bicyclists and pedestrians in a landmark case argued in front of them by the attorneys at Disparti Law Group.
On September 24, 2020, 14-year-old Cristopher Guiracocha was riding bikes with his friends when he was hit by a driver who just kept on driving. Cristopher sustained damages that greatly limited his abilities for several months after the accident, and the person who hit him never surfaced.
With medical bills piling up, Cristopher’s father filed a claim with his auto insurance, Direct Auto Insurance, and they denied his claim on the basis that he was not occupying an insured vehicle. However, Illinois Insurance Code has a provision that if an uninsured motorist is involved in the accident, the insured did not have to be in a car.
On January 12, 2022, the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled in favor of Direct Auto, declaring that it did not owe uninsured motorist coverage to Cristopher but the attorneys at Disparti Law Group promptly appealed to the 1st District Appellate Court.
On September 30, 2022, the appellate court reversed the circuit court stating that Direct Auto’s provision that conditioned uninsured motorist coverage only if occupying the insured vehicle violated public policy of Illinois and was therefore unenforceable. Direct Auto quickly appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court to reconsider. On September 21, 2023, attorney Jonel Metaj of Disparti Law Group argued in front of the Supreme Court on behalf of Cristopher.
Today, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that Direct Auto Insurance’s provision violated Section 143(a) of the Illinois Insurance Code and the public policy of the state of Illinois. This code was enacted to protect the people of Illinois who suffer injuries from automobile collisions.
“This is a big win for us and for Cristopher. More importantly, bicyclists and pedestrians in Illinois need to know that they are protected in the event of an automobile collision,” remarks Jonel Metaj.
“Make no mistake, this ruling is a win for all residents of Illinois. If you ride a bike in our streets, or are crossing the street, you can have the peace of mind knowing that if you are injured by a hit-and-run or uninsured driver, your insurance will cover you. And if they deny that claim, Disparti Law will be there to stand behind you,” continues Larry Disparti, Founder of Disparti Law Group.