YOU BE THE JUDGE
Sandy was driving south on Route 191 between Lake Ariel and Hamlin. Bob was heading in the opposite direction. A freezing rain began to fall causing the road to become extremely slippery. Both drivers slowed their vehicles down to accommodate the road conditions. As Bob approached Sandy’s vehicle, he noted that Sandy started to slide towards the center of the road and Bob applied his brakes. For whatever reason, both cars started to slide further into the center lane causing what essentially was a head-on collision. Fortunately both vehicles were going slow enough and no injuries were sustained.
Both drivers had collision insurance but each of their respective insurance companies sought full reimbursement against the other driver’s insurance company.
ISSUE: Will either insurance company prevail?
ANSWER: Yes. In all likelihood the insurance companies will use what is called intercompany arbitration. This is an agreement among insurance companies where without the use of lawyers or formal litigation, they utilize independent arbitrators to determine the extent of negligence. In this case the most likely scenario is that both drivers will be considered fifty percent negligent and that each insurance company will be allowed to collect fifty percent of that which they had paid to their own drivers to repair their respective vehicles.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.