Uniform rules needed in UM/UIM cases

/ 21.Jun, 2011
In Pennsylvania, the adjudication of uninsured and underinsured motorist claims has undergone substantial change.  Previously, all uninsured and underinsured motorist disputes were litigated in mandatory arbitration proceedings before three lawyers chosen by counsel.  In 2005, in Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania v. Koken, the Supreme Court determined that the Insurance Department has no authority to require mandatory arbitration of UM and UIM claims.  In response to the Koken decision, most, if not all insurers modified their policies to eliminate mandatory arbitration.  UM and UIM cases are now litigated in courts of competent jurisdiction. The change in the adjudication of UM and UIM claims has given rise to a host of novel issues.  These issues are being addressed on a case by case basis in separate lawsuits filed in numerous counties throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Among the issues are the following:
  • Venue;
  • Joinder;
  • Insurance;
  • Evidence;
  • Bad Faith;
  • Jury Charge;
  • Coverage
Accordingly, the need for uniform rules and the adjudication of UM and UIM claims has arisen.  Recently, James C. Haggerty has co-authored an article printed in the Litigation: Auto Law Supplement of the Legal Intelligencer.   This article discusses the current state of litigation of UM and UIM claims and proposes the enactment of uniform rules to handle such matters.  For a copy of the article, please visit Swartz Campbell’s website.