A Wood River woman has filed suit against the uninsured driver who she claims struck her vehicle and her insurance company, who she says refused to pay her under her uninsured motorist protection plan.

Cherie Lucas claims she was driving north on Lakin Boulevard on May 10, 2008, with her daughter, Alexis Lucas, riding as a passenger in her vehicle.

Suddenly, defendant Joseph Sands, attempted to make a left turn onto Veterans Lane and crashed into Cherie Lucas' vehicle, according to the complaint filed May 10 in Madison County District Court.

Because of the accident, Cherie Lucas sustained injuries to her back while Alexis Lucas sustained injuries to her chest, the suit states. Both Cherie and Alexis Lucas experienced pain, incurred medical costs and lost wages, the complaint says.

They blame Sands for causing the collision, saying he drove in an improper and careless manner, drove too fast, failed to maintain a proper lookout and failed to yield the right-of-way.

At the time of the collision, Cherie Lucas had automobile insurance coverage through Universal Casualty Company. Her policy was supposed to include benefits of up to $20,000 if an uninsured driver struck her, according to the complaint.

Sands did not have insurance, so Cherie Lucas filed an uninsured motorist claim with Universal and demanded arbitration through the American Arbitration Association, the suit states.

"That defendant, Universal Casualty Company, has not participated in the arbitration and/or refused to pay out the policy on said claim," the complaint says.

In her six-count suit, Cherie Lucas is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus other relief the court deems just. She is also asking for a declaratory judgment to find Universal liable for the value of her uninsured motorist claim.

She will be represented by Lance R. Mallon and Dawna M. Hale of Mallon and Hale in Wood River.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-500.

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