Chapter 183

2013 -- S 0333

Enacted 07/11/13






     Introduced By: Senator Michael J. McCaffrey

     Date Introduced: February 13, 2013


It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:


     SECTION 1. Section 27-10.3-1 of the General Laws in Chapter 27-10.3 entitled "Motor

Vehicle Insurance - Mandatory Arbitration Provision" is hereby amended to read as follows:


     27-10.3-1. Arbitration provision. -- (a) Every contract of motor vehicle liability

insurance, issued in the state by an insurance carrier authorized to do business in the state, shall

contain the following provisions:

      (1) Any person, referred to in this section as "the plaintiff," suffering a loss, allegedly

resulting out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle by an insured or self-

insured, and allegedly resulting from liability imposed by law for property damage, bodily injury,

or death, may, at his or her election, whenever the claim is for twenty-five thousand dollars

($25,000) fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or less, submit the matter to arbitration pursuant to

chapter 3 of title 10;

      (2) Selection of arbitrator. - After submission to arbitration by the plaintiff, one arbitrator

shall be selected from the list of qualified arbitrators of the court annexed arbitration program of

the superior court in the same manner as arbitrators are selected in accordance with the rules of

that program. Each party shall share the expenses of arbitration in accordance with the rules of

the court annexed arbitration program;

      (3) Hearings. - The arbitrator shall call a hearing and provide seven (7) days notice of the

time and place of the hearing to the parties. The hearing shall be informal, and the rules of

evidence prevailing in judicial proceedings shall be binding. Any and all documentary evidence

and other data deemed relevant by the arbitrators may be received in evidence. The arbitrators

shall have the power to administer oaths and to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony

of witnesses, and the production of books, records, and other evidence, relative or pertinent to the

issues presented to them for determination. The decision of the arbitrators shall be binding upon

the parties unless:

      (i) In the event that suit has not been instituted, either party reserves his or her right to a

jury trial by giving notice of this reservation of right to the other party or parties and to the

arbitrators within sixty (60) days of the arbitrators award by certified mail return receipt

requested; or

      (ii) In the event that suit has been instituted, either party files a request for a jury trial

with the court and with notice to the other party or parties within sixty (60) days of the arbitrator's

award. If the case proceeds to trial subsequent to arbitration, the decision of the arbitrators shall

not be admissible;

      (4) Statute of limitations. - Notwithstanding the foregoing, a suit shall be instituted in

order to bring the action within any applicable statute of limitations, but the suit will be stayed

until an arbitrators award has been made or the case reached for trial;

      (5) Agreements to arbitrate. - Uninsured motorist contracts shall be governed by the

provisions of section 10-3-2.

      (b) Every person who maintains motor vehicle liability insurance shall, when making an

application for a motor vehicle operator's license, or the renewal of that license, or when

registering a motor vehicle, agree in writing on a form provided by the director of the department

of transportation to be bound by the provisions of this chapter.


     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.