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December 3, 2015 |


Many auto insurance policies contain exclusions that do not require the insurer to cover damages for a spouse or family member of the insured party in the event of an accident in which the insured party has been negligent. Such exclusions can make the recovery of damages in accidents involving family members difficult, and they may result in an accident victim having little or no recourse after an accident for which they were in no way responsible, even though the at-fault driver was covered by liability insurance.

The Enforceability of Family Exclusions in Auto Insurance Policies

Many auto insurance companies include family and household exclusions to the liability coverage provided under an insurance policy. As written, many of these policies prevent injured parties from recovering damages from the insurance company in an accident related to the negligence of a member of their family or household. Insurers likely argue that the exclusions are necessary to prevent insurance fraud and keep premiums low, but challenges to the validity of these exclusions nationwide have been made with varied success, and the law is far from settled with regard to each individual case.

Illinois courts have upheld family exclusions in some injury cases while denying them in others, based upon the specific facts of each case, as well as the language of the insurance policy and the relationship between the negligent driver and the injured party. An accident victim with questions about their ability to sue a family member for their negligence should seek out a qualified Illinois accident attorney to get the answers they need.

A Tragic Single-Vehicle Accident Near Eldorado Takes the Life of a Child

A recent Illinois auto accident may come to demonstrate the complications that arise when an accident victim or their legal representative seeks compensation from an allegedly negligent family member after a car crash resulting in injury or death. The accident, which was near Eldorado, Illinois, may present a family exclusion issue for the accident victims depending on how the case plays out. According to a local news source, a man, his wife, and their two children were traveling in an SUV last month on Route 45, with the mother driving, when the vehicle suddenly left the roadway and crashed into a concrete culvert, killing a five-year-old child and seriously injuring the other three family members. According to the report, the road where the accident occurred is known to be dangerous, and there has been no determination of fault for the accident. However, it may be determined that the driver was acting negligently, possibly setting up a legal battle between the family and the insurance company if a family exclusion was included in the woman’s insurance policy.

Should You Contact an Attorney?

If you or a family member has been injured or killed in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the driver or their insurance company, even if they are a family member who is excluded by an insurance exemption. A qualified Illinois accident attorney can help you determine if you have a claim and negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement, whether a family exclusion is present and enforceable in the driver’s insurance policy or not. The experienced accident attorneys at the Cavanagh Sorich Law Group have settled cases involving family members before, and our qualified Illinois personal injury and wrongful death attorneys can help you obtain compensation for your loss. At Cavanagh Sorich Law Group, we represent clients in most personal injury and wrongful death cases, including accidents involving members of the same family or household.

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