Yes. Arbitrator bases decision on damages, not on amount of insurance available. If there was no insurance you are still entitled to damages.
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Yes,but you cannot collect more than the UM policy limits that are available.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to insure proper advice is received.
Although yes is the right answer, I'm not sure that this gives you the right impression. While the arbitrator's job is to award you damages which fairly and adequately compensates you for your injuries regardless of the coverage, this doesn't mean that you will actually be able to collect more than the available coverage. The only circumstance under which this might be possible is if you could prove bad faith on the part of the involved insurer, and it is not clear at all that you have the right to make such a claim against the UM/UIM carrier in Illinois even if there is bad faith. In the end, this means that while the arbitrator can award whatever he or she wants, in almost every case your actual recovery will be limited to amount of the coverage. I'm sorry I don't have better news.
Most arbitrators, like most judges and juries, are kept ignorant of policy limits for reasons of law and fairness. Savvy arbitrators can often estimate what the policy limits may be but it is not something to which they are supposed to be privy.
Now, the question of what happens with regard to collection of the judgment/award is a different story.
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