Illinois Supreme Court ruling could solve insurance legal struggles for pedestrians hit by vehicles

Maher Kawash Image
Friday, December 1, 2023
Illinois Supreme Court rules on insurance case of bicyclist hit by car
Pedestrians struck by cars may now have less difficulty getting costs covered through their auto insurance after an Illinois Supreme Court ruling.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A major legal hurdle was cleared Thursday with the help of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Chris Guiracocha was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike near Montrose and Kimball roughly three years ago. His legal case has now taken a step forward.

"Make no mistake, this ruling is a win for all residents of Illinois," said attorney Larry Disparti.

Following the accident, Guiracocha and his family immediately filed a claim with Direct Auto Insurance.

The insurance company initially denied the claim because he wasn't in the vehicle listed on his family's policy. The injury impacted him for several months.

"At the moment I didn't feel anything," Guiracocha said. "I thought I died or got knocked out. Then I woke up and after the incident I couldn't move for like 6 months... my whole right side."

He thought the case was over, but Disparti Law continued to fight, arguing that the insurance company cannot deny a claim just because he was on a bicycle.

RELATED | Pedestrians stuck by hit-and-run drivers may have difficulty getting insurance payouts

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled in their favor after months of back and forth appeals.

"The opinion today gives the residents of this state the assurance that if they are injured by a hit and run or uninsured driver, your insurance will cover you," said attorney Jonel Metaj with Disparti Law.

The attorneys haven't won the entire case yet for Guiracocha, but the decision has cleared the way for them and others moving forward.

The family is relieved to know they may get some help so they can deal with the medical bills from the incident.

"I was really happy about it to be honest," Guiracocha said. "I was at work when we got the call. Anything will help. Anything we get out of it."

A lengthy legal process is still ahead as the lawyers have to still prove Guiracocha is entitled to compensation from his injuries in the accident.