The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Wolfson.
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.
The Honorable Lester D. Foreman, Judge Presiding.
The question before us is whether uninsured motorist coverage under a particular insurance policy could be "stacked" or aggregated. The answer seems to come down to how many times the policy's limits of liability appear on its Declarations page. The trial court entered summary judgment for the insureds. We reverse the trial court's decision and remand this cause with directions to enter summary judgment for the insurance company.
Terrence and Marie Domin (the Domins) insured two cars under an automobile policy issued by Shelby Insurance Company (Shelby). The policy provided uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage to the Domins. On January 21, 1998, Terrence Domin was driving one of the insured vehicles when he was injured in a collision with an oncoming car.
Terrence later filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against the owner, driver, and passenger of the other car (the "underlying suit"). That lawsuit was based on negligence. Marie Domin, who was neither involved nor injured in the accident, joined her husband's lawsuit. She asserted claims for loss of society due to his injuries. *fn1
The defendants in the underlying suit were uninsured, so the Domins turned to Shelby. The Domins requested Shelby provide uninsured motorist coverage under their insurance policy No. IA 8537640. That policy provided, in part:
"PART C - UNINSURED MOTORISTS COVERAGE
INSURING A. We will pay compensatory damages which an insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury:
1. Sustained by an insured; and
2. Caused by an accident."
The policy defined "bodily injury" as "bodily harm, sickness or disease, including death that results."
The uninsured motorist coverage provision was subject to another provision titled "Limit of Liability." It provided:
UNINSURED Uninsured Motorists Coverage $See Declarations each
MOTORISTS $See Declarations each
accident LIMITS The first paragraph of the Limit provision in Part C is replaced by the following:
The limit of liability shown in the Schedule or in the Declarations for each person for Uninsured Motorists Coverage is our maximum limit of liability for all damages, including damages for care, loss of services or death, arising out of bodily injury sustained by any one person in any one accident. Subject to this limit for each person, the limit of liability shown in the Schedule or in the Declarations for each accident for Uninsured Motorists Coverage is our maximum limit of liability for all damages for bodily injury resulting from any one accident. This is the most we will pay regardless of the number of:
3. Vehicles or premiums shown in the Declarations; or
4. Vehicles involved in the accident."
With respect to uninsured motorist coverage, The policy's Declarations page showed the ...