July 2018 Insurance Litigation Newsletter
On April 3, 2018, the Wisconsin Legislature enacted 2017 Wis. Act 235 which substantially changes certain rules governing civil litigation in Wisconsin. Included in this Act are new rules regarding discovery practice and the Rules of Civil Procedure. As these new rules take effect, it is anticipated that these changes will result in uncertainty and increased motion practice. It is important that all Wisconsin litigators and insurance carriers become aware of these changes.
On April 5, 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the operative event which triggers a notice of claim requirement in an underinsured motorist (UIM) policy is the tender of the tortfeasor’s underlying policy limit and not the accident itself. This holding overrules a published Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision that required an insured to provide notice to their carrier of a UIM claim “as soon as possible after the incident.”
Who covers what when an employee is involved in an accident while driving a personal vehicle for business purposes? It is a question as old as insurance itself. It should come as no surprise that the Holy Grail for trial lawyers is obtaining coverage for an employee’s personal vehicle through the employer’s commercial auto policy. Not only are policy limits usually significantly higher, but the dynamics of engaging a commercial policy in litigation are often considered more favorable than a claim against the employee’s personal auto policy alone.
Georgia has joined fifteen other states which have outlawed the use of hand-held cellphones and mobile devices while driving. A new law signed by Governor Nathan Deal makes watching movies, shooting video, and even the mere “holding” of hand-held devices while in the vehicle—even while stopped—illegal.
Driving in the left lane for anything other than passing is not only illegal, its unsafe and results in thousands of accidents annually. If a driver is parked in the left lane on a four-lane highway and isn’t passing someone or making a left turn, the driver is breaking the law in most states and can be ticketed – no matter what speed they’re traveling. When looking for deeper pockets or additional defendants in auto collision litigation, don’t overlook the driver who violates Left Lane Laws as a possible defendant should an accident and damages result from an accident that otherwise could have been avoided. This article contains a link to our newest chart on Left Lane Laws in all 50 states.