Illinois Farmers sued by passenger seeking policy limits

Kelly Holleran Nov. 16, 2011, 4:52am

A woman claims her parents' insurance company refuses to pay her the full $250,000 claim she made after incurring substantial medical expenses following a collision.

Janis Garland alleges she was involved in a collision on Nov. 16, 2007, when a driver struck a 1988 Saturn head-on. At the time, Garland was riding as a passenger in the Saturn, according to the complaint filed Nov. 2 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because of the accident, Garland claims she incurred medical costs of more than $200,000.

The driver of the other vehicle immediately left the scene of the collision, leaving Garland to rely on her parents' insurance company to compensate her for damages she incurred.

Garland's mother and stepfather owned the Saturn that was involved in the collision. They had liability insurance through defendant Illinois Farmer's Insurance Company, the suit states. Limits on their policy were supposed to be set at $250,000, the complaint says.

At the time of the accident, Shawn Batson was driving the vehicle with the permission of Garland's parents, the suit states. He, too, had liability insurance, but his limits were $20,000.

In turn, she made a claim with her parents' insurance company and with Batson's, according to the complaint.

Batson's company paid Garland the full limits of $20,000, but Illinois Farmer's Insurance Company would only pay her $30,000, the suit states.

"Plaintiff has the right to a declaratory judgment that the Defendant insurer owes the Plaintiff, Janis Garland, the full policy limits of $250,000 on her 'UM' claim, less what it and State Farm have paid Plaintiff to date on her claim," the complaint says.

In addition to the money she says she is owed, Garland is seeking costs and pre-judgment interest at four percent per annum.

Eric M. Rhein of Belleville will be representing her.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-620.

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