Part 1 of the Evidence Considerations Series
Evidence is the key to prevailing in arbitration. As a front-line claims handler, you have the greatest opportunity to investigate and gather persuasive evidence should your claim later be brought into a subrogation or arbitration situation. With that in mind, AF has created a series of articles with tips and suggestions to help you focus your investigation on important elements that may prove to be essential in building a compelling case of liability and/or damages. This month's article focuses on scene photographs.
As the saying goes, "A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words." Good, quality scene photographs are beneficial in any case and may be considered to be superior to aerial photos (i.e., Google maps, etc.). Satellite photos are not always current and may not depict the intersection as it was on the date of the accident. Although aerial photos are certainly better than not submitting any evidence, a ground-level scene photo will usually provide a better perspective of the width of the lanes, as well as other details such as traffic control devices, bike lanes, center median lanes, cement barriers, lane marking, etc.
To maximize the impact of scene photographs, consider labeling the location of each vehicle prior to, during, and possibly after the collision. In addition, scene diagrams drawn from the perspective of the insured/driver will reinforce the verbal description of the scene and confirm information such as directions of travel and number of lanes.
In next month's issue of E-Bulletin, we will discuss detailed statements as evidence.
It can be confusing for the Applicant and Respondent companies when there is a TPA involved. There are a few important guidelines to remember.
The Applicant company that is initiating a case can only name a Respondent member company. The Applicant cannot add the TPA code to the case. The Applicant can enter the TPA address and/or Rep information; however, the case needs to be filed against the Respondent member company. The TPA will add its code to the case when it responds, or the Respondent member may call or email AF's Member Service Center to have the TPA code added to the case.
AF's electronic notification will be sent to the Respondent member company unless the Respondent member company has provided a specific TPA's email address to receive all of its AF notifications. Notifications cannot be case specific.
Finally, the Respondent should not raise an Affirmative Defense because the Applicant did not name the TPA. The subrogation is between the two member companies; therefore, the docket is properly filed by the Applicant when it names the correct Respondent company. The Respondent company has the responsibility to notify the TPA, if applicable.
On August 25, it was announced that the Illinois Insurance Code has been amended by repealing Section 143.24d. The Act takes effect "upon becoming law."
Auto arbitration cases filed against non-signatory Respondents for losses occurring in Illinois will now need written consent from a non-signatory Respondent to proceed to hearing (Article Fourth (b)).
Pending Auto arbitration cases (those filed prior to this announcement) will proceed to hearing only if a non-signatory Respondent submits a response and does not object to jurisdiction. This will be construed as implied consent.
Not all product liability claims are the same. If the Applicant seeks recovery of a personal or commercial automobile damage subrogation or self-insured automobile damage claim, the Auto forum is the appropriate forum with jurisdiction.
Page 7 of the Reference Guide to AF's Agreements and Rules provides, "Another important point is that the member filed against (Respondent) is not limited to an automobile liability insurer. A Respondent may be a general liability carrier, homeowner's liability carrier, etc. Any member who may be liable for the Applicant's damages may be named as a Respondent."
With the implementation of new technologies, AF no longer requires arbfile.org to be included in the Compatibility View Settings in Internet Explorer. For future development of our product, we are asking members to now remove AF's website from these settings. If these settings are centrally controlled by your company's IT policies, the change should be coordinated with your IT department.
Here is how to remove these settings:
In Internet Explorer, select the Tools menu.
Select Compatibility View Settings.
In the list of websites you've added to Compatibility View, select arbfile.org.
Once arbfile.org has been highlighted, select the Remove button on the right.
For additional information or assistance with these changes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 5—8, 2017
JW Marriott — Austin, TX
Be sure to visit us at Booth 307 or attend our session, "Total Recovery Solution (TRS)" to be held Monday, November 6 at 12:30—1:30!
Visit the NASP Web site to register, select an exhibit booth, make hotel reservations, and download conference brochures.