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Drunk Driver Kills Pedestrian on NW Side – Bail Set at $400K

A Cook County Judge set a $400,000 bail for Maciej Machniewicz who is charged with felony aggravated DUI following a car accident. Machniewicz, who prosecutors are saying never had a valid drivers license, was charged with aggravated DUI after striking and killing a 62 year-old woman Tuesday on the Chicago’s Northwest Side who had just exited a bus.

This straightforward case, however, considering a circumstance where a driver didn’t have a license, it’s possible that he did not have valid insurance coverage either.

In a 2010 case, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld exclusionary provisions in a car insurance contract that allowed an insurance company to deny coverage where the driver was the owner of the vehicle but did not have a driver’s license or was driving with a suspended license. Essentially, this means that someone driving around without a license, even if that person is paying for car insurance, may not actually have coverage if he or she negligently causes an accident.

Nevertheless, Illinois law mandates that car insurance policies issued in this state include uninsured motorist coverage. The purpose is to provide coverage for people who are hurt or killed by an uninsured driver. Under these circumstances, a victim’s own car insurance policy steps in as if the negligent driver had coverage. Navigating these issues can get complicated and each case is certain to have a unique set of circumstances. Seeking consultation with an experienced, licensed attorney is highly recommended.

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