Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sufficiency of Reporting Accident to Police in UM Case Reviewed

Below is a link to an Opinion and Order issued earlier this year in a case involving the issue of the required reporting of an accident to the police in an uninsured motorist cases allegedly involving phantom vehicle. 

In the case of Marandure v. Erie Ins. Exch., 57 Northampton Co. Rpt. 914(C.P. Northampton Co. 2013 Roscioli, J.), the injured party Plaintiff filed a breach of contract/bad faith claim against her carrier after her claim for uninsured (UM) benefits was denied by the carrier on the basis that proper and timely notice to the police about the accident in accordance with the mandates of 75 Pa.C.S.A. Section 1702.

The underlying accident allegedly involved the Plaintiff's vehicle being sideswiped by a tractor-trailer in a hit-and-run accident.

Judge Paula A. Roscioli of the Northampton County Court of Common Pleas denied the carrier's Motion for Summary Judgment where the plaintiff testified that she called the local police through 911 from the accident scene and told the police that she had been sideswiped by an unidentified tractor-trailer.  The plaintiff contended that she also later reported the accident to the state police via a PennDOT Driver's Accident Report form. 

Significantly, after reviewing established case law precedent and the provisions of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL), and in particular, Section 1702, the trial court found that merely submitting the PennDOT form is not sufficient to comply with Section 1702.

However, the trial court went on to find that the plaintiff's deposition testimony alone raised issues of fact which served to defeat the insurer's motion. 
I send thanks to Attorney Scott Cooper of the Harrisburg law firm of Schmidt Kramer for bringing this case to my attention.
Anyone wishing to review the Marandure Opinion may click this LINK.

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