In May of 2013, Guillermo Schnaider successfully defended his client, an automobile insurance company, in a binding arbitration on an uninsured motorist bodily injury claim. The respondent’s insureds were injured in a hard impact rear-end collision on the freeway. The at-fault driver immediately fled from the scene of the accident. The defense asserted by the respondent was that a report to the police was not made until more than 24 hours following the accident. Both the Insurance Code and the automobile policy in question mandate that the police be notified of the accident within 24 hours in order for a viable uninsured motorist bodily injury claim to exist in a hit-and-run situation. The insureds of the respondent argued that the police report requirement is not a hard and fast one, that respondent had waived the requirement and that the respondent had to show prejudice in order to prevail.
The arbitrator found in favor of the respondent indicating that the police report requirement is absolute, that there had been no waiver by the respondent, and that the respondent need not show prejudice.