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Insurer overturns dismissal of subrogation claim

Cincinnati Insurance Company sued Joseph Weaver, claiming that his negligence in crossing the center line on an icy road caused Cincinnati's obligation to pay Underinsured Motorist Coverage damages to it's insured.   At a motion for summary disposition, Cincinnati presented a statement by its insured, made to the investigating police officer, alleging that Weaver had crossed the centerline.  It also presented the testimony of the officer to the effect that it appeared to her that Weaver had crossed the centerline first, even though the cars came to rest on Weaver's side of the road.  Despite this testimony, the trial court granted summary disposition to Weaver.

On appeal, the Court noted that the investigating officer was not qualifed as a reconstruction expert, and therefore her opinion testimony could not be used to support Cincinnati's claim.  Nevertheless, it reversed the lower court's opinion and sent the case back for further development.  It held that the lower court must determine whether the insured's statement at the scene (claiming that Weaver crossed the centerline first) is inadmissible hearsay; if it is not hearsay, the jury must decide which driver to believe.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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