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Court grants hearing on timely reporting in hit-and-run case. In re Progressive Ins. Co. v. Otero 2023 N.Y. Slip Op. 51319 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2023)


In re Progressive Ins. Co. v. Otero 2023 N.Y. Slip Op. 51319 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2023) involves a hit-and-run accident that occurred on March 9, 2023. The case highlights the complexities surrounding uninsured motorist claims and the procedural steps in dealing with hit-and-run incidents in New York.

Background Facts
On March 9, 2023, the respondent was driving his vehicle when he was involved in a hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Oranite Avenue and Lasalle Street in Richmond, New York. Following this incident, the respondent sustained injuries severe enough to meet the criteria of a “serious injury” under NY CLS Ins § 5102. Immediately after the accident, the respondent was admitted to Richmond University Medical Center, where he stayed until March 11, 2023, due to his injuries, which prevented him from filing a police report at that time. Nevertheless, he managed to file a MV-104 report on March 12, 2023.

An MV-104 report, commonly referred to as a “Motor Vehicle Accident Report,” is a document that must be filled out and submitted by drivers involved in vehicle accidents in New York State. This form is required when an accident results in either property damage exceeding $1,000 or in any personal injuries. It is designed to provide detailed information about the accident, including the time, location, and circumstances of the incident, as well as details about the vehicles and individuals involved. This report helps authorities and insurance companies assess the situation, determine liability, and handle claims appropriately. Filing this report is a necessary step for compliance with state regulations regarding motor vehicle accidents.

The petitioner challenges the respondent’s claims, arguing that the respondent has not adequately demonstrated that he was involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, specifically questioning the existence of physical contact between the vehicles or timely reporting of the incident to the appropriate authorities within 24 hours or as soon as was feasibly possible, as required for arbitration eligibility. Moreover, the petitioner disputes the validity of the MV-104 report, noting it was filed three days post-accident and alleging that no evidence confirms its filing with the state or provision to the petitioner in accordance with the insurance policy terms.

Whether the respondent fulfilled the necessary conditions to claim under uninsured motorist coverage, specifically regarding timely reporting the accident to the authorities and proving the occurrence of a hit-and-run.

The court ordered that the respondent’s case be restored to active status and scheduled further hearings. This decision allowed the exploration of whether the respondent was indeed involved in a hit-and-run and had reported the incident timely.

In this case, the Supreme Court granted the respondent’s request to lift the stay and restore the case to active status, setting the stage for further examination of whether the respondent was involved in a “hit-and-run” incident and complied with the timely reporting requirements. The court highlighted the insufficient evidence presented by the petitioner to challenge the respondent’s compliance with the mandatory reporting requirements. The court emphasized the importance of providing substantial evidence when disputing the conditions necessary for arbitration, such as demonstrating the absence of timely reporting to authorities, which the petitioner failed to do convincingly. Thus, a hearing was deemed necessary to resolve these critical issues.

Note that the 24-hour requirement refers to a stipulation often found in insurance policies or legal guidelines that mandates the reporting of certain events, like accidents, within 24 hours of their occurrence. This requirement is implemented to ensure timely and effective investigation and to prevent fraud by ensuring that incidents are reported while evidence and memories are fresh. In the context of insurance, particularly for “hit-and-run” accidents, failing to meet this requirement can affect claims, particularly in cases involving uninsured motorist coverage where timely reporting is crucial for verification and processing of the claim.

If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run incident, understanding your legal rights is critical. An experienced New York hit-and-run accident lawyer can guide you through the complexities of filing claims and ensure your rights are protected. For expert advice and representation, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your case and legal options.

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