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Chicago Trial Attorney: Personal Injury Matters – Car Accidents and Insurance

The other driver had no insurance? Not “enough” insurance? Happens ALL the time!

I get these questions daily. My clients are shocked to learn that (a) people actually drive cars with no insurance – as in 0 insurance; (b) they were hit and injured by someone with a basic policy of only $25,000.00 of coverage (the minimum in Illinois at this time); and/or (c) the other person’s insurance was just “rescinded” for fraud or misrepresentation in taking out the policy (aka – again – no insurance!).


What can you do? Hopefully, you have your own coverage of at least $25,000 (again, the minimum) to start with and then we can make an “uninsured motorist claim” (“UM”) claim with your own insurance if there is no insurance. Hopefully, you have much more insurance and then we can make an “under-insured motorist claim” (“UIM”) claim with your own insurance company. In either event – now we will be fighting your own insurance company to recover for you.

NEVER talk to even your own insurance company or agent beyond the “duty to cooperate” and per your policy provisions and without a lawyer on the phone with you or in person!


The Illinois Department of Insurance has noted well the numerous issues that could cause a company to cancel, rescind or refuse to renew a person’s insurance at any time such as for the following:

  • you fail to pay the premium by the due date;
  • you obtained the policy through misrepresentation or fraud;
  • anyone insured on the policy violated the terms or conditions of the policy;
  • you failed to disclose fully your motor vehicle accidents and moving traffic violations for the preceding 36 months if called for in the application;
  • anyone insured on the policy made a false or fraudulent claim or knowingly helped someone else make a false or fraudulent claim;
  • you or anyone who lives in your household or customarily uses your vehicle: 
    • has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked in the past 12 months;
    • is or becomes subject to epilepsy or heart attacks, and cannot produce a physician’s certificate attesting to their unqualified ability to operate a motor vehicle safely;
    • has an accident record, conviction record (criminal or traffic), or physical or mental condition that might endanger the public safety if they operate an automobile.

Or if at any time a vehicle:

  • is so mechanically defective that its operation might endanger public safety;
  • is used in carrying passengers for hire or compensation (the use of an auto for a car pool shall not be considered use of an auto for hire or compensation);
  • is used in the business of transportation of flammables or explosives, or is an authorized emergency vehicle;
  • has changed in shape or condition during the policy period so as to increase the risk substantially; or
  • is subject to an inspection law and has not been inspected, or if inspected, has failed to qualify.

Or, if, within the past 36 months:

  • you, or anyone who lives with you or customarily uses your auto, has been addicted to the use of narcotics or other drugs;
  • you, or anyone who lives with you or customarily uses your auto, has been convicted of or forfeited bail for: 
    •  any felony;
    •  criminal negligence resulting in death, homicide or assault arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle;
    •  operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs;
    •  intoxication while in, or about, an automobile or while having custody of an automobile;
    •  leaving the scene of an accident without stopping to report it or for theft or unlawful taking of a motor vehicle;
    •  making false statements in an application for an operator’s or chauffeur’s license.

Bottom line, make sure you hire a lawyer to “navigate these treacherous waters” immediately after an accident. You will be happy you did. It may seem easy to handle this on your own but your rights may be affected quickly and perhaps irreparably if you do not make the proper demands (arbitration), on time (statutes of limitations) or via the proper channels and per your policy provisions.


An experienced automobile attorney is an absolute must. Hit and runs involve other problems. So do stolen cars being driven on the road.

You can contact me 24/7/365 at 312-375-6524 (and I really mean that as I will answer my phone) if you have any questions about what claims/rights you may have after an accident and to learn how I may be able to help you or your loved one who may need, or simply want, a second opinion perhaps – in particular, you will find that I listen, take your phone calls and e-mails (and even text messages–BUT NOT WHILE DRIVING!!).

I would be honored to help you with your matters – large or small.

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"There are all kinds of reasons why you might need a lawyer at some point(s) in your life. Whatever the reason, what you want is someone that understands you, advises you properly (hey, our emotions can override our intellect), works hard on your behalf and is willing to go the distance. Phil Berenz is just this kind of lawyer. I had a situation where I needed the assistance of a lawyer and fortunately he was recommended to me. Phil can walk that delicate line of completely understanding --feeling your pain--to giving you the best advice based on his experience. Some lawyers may tell you what you want to hear to run up your fees. Not Phil.
He's a top-notch negotiator and has the patience to build relationships with the opposing side to gain the best benefit for the client. He is very skillful at understanding the psyche of the other parties.
I could go on and on, but basically what I want to say -- if you need a lawyer, call Phil. If he doesn't have the expertise that you require, he'll recommend you to someone that does and you can be sure they will be of a high calibre too."