Johnson & Bell Shareholder William K. McVisk saved his client $200,000 when he prevailed in an UIM coverage dispute before the Fifth District Court of Appeals. The appellate court affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defense. The plaintiff was seriously injured in an accident with an underinsured motorist while in the course of his employment. The at-fault driver had only $50,000 in coverage. His employer's insurer carried both the worker's compensation and UIM coverage. The plaintiff claimed that his injuries were so serious that he was entitled to the full $1 million limits of the UIM policy, despite having already recovered approximately $200,000 for the worker's compensation policy.
The court of appeals rejected this argument, holding that under the plain language of the policy, the workers’ compensation payments had to be deducted from the policy limit of the UIM coverage, rather than from the plaintiff's damages even though they exceeded $1 million. The court agreed with the defendant's argument that when read as a whole, the meaning of the policy was clear and unambiguous. The Court also found the defendant's argument persuasive in light of Illinois public policy that UIM insurance is “gap” coverage that is designed to place the injured person in the same position as he would have occupied if the at-fault motorist had the same insurance coverage as the insured.