Morrison Mahoney Associate Jessica Savino recently prevailed in an uninsured motorist (UM) arbitration proceeding.

The claimant was a truck driver who was involved in a serious accident on Interstate 91 in Hopkinton, NH, when his truck left the highway and turned over. The claimant was ejected and sustained serious injuries. The claimant contended that the accident occurred due to the negligence of a phantom vehicle, which swerved into his lane and forced him off the roadway.

Jessica was able to convince a New Hampshire State Trooper, who investigated the accident, to appear at the arbitration, via Zoom. The trooper testified that the claimant told him that the accident happened as the result of his having “dozed off” at the wheel of his truck, which caused it to tip over. The trooper said that he had a particular memory of the accident, because the claimant was ejected from his vehicle and was found afterwards wandering around the scene of the accident. The trooper also testified that the claimant made no mention of the involvement of another vehicle as having been a factor in causing the accident.

Jessica also presented the medical records in evidence, which stated that the claimant was involved in a single-vehicle accident when he fell asleep at the wheel, left the roadway and was ejected.  The arbitrator accepted the hospital records in evidence, notwithstanding the claimant attorney’s argument that they should have been stricken, per GL Ch 233 Sec 79, because they contained a “reference to the question of liability.”

Finally, the claimant acknowledged having made a Facebook posting within a short time after the accident, in which he said that he was traveling at 70 miles per hour with the cruise control engaged and that his truck veered onto the soft shoulder. No mention was made in the claimant’s Facebook posting of any adverse vehicle having been involved.

The arbitrator described the case as “a close call.”  However, he denied the claimant’s uninsured motorist claim and entered a finding in favor of the involved insurer.

Published On: July 10, 2024Categories: Jessica M. SavinoTags: