Title 27

Chapter 10.3
Motor Vehicle Insurance — Mandatory Arbitration Provision

R.I. Gen. Laws § 27-10.3-1

§ 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 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 § 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.

History of Section.
P.L. 1989, ch. 364, § 1; P.L. 1993, ch. 255, § 3; P.L. 2002, ch. 391, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 183, § 1; P.L. 2013, ch. 230, § 1.