Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill that allows insurance settlements to proceed faster and reduce the amount of cases brought through the California court system, a tort reform group said.

The bill, which was sponsored by Civil Justice Association of California, allows an insurance company to give a copy of the accident report to the insured person's attorney.

Current law allows the insurance company to obtain and share a copy of the police and/or accident report with the insured person - but not the insured's lawyer.

Assemblyman Roger Niello, R-Fair Oaks, authored the legislation, outlined in Assembly Bill 470.

On his Web site, Niello said: "By allowing the insurance company to furnish a copy of the police or accident report directly, settlements of insurance claims can proceed more quickly, and there is less likely to be the kind of delay and confusion that will lead to a lawsuit."

CJAC, the state's leading tort reform organization, commended the Republican lawmaker for carrying the bill.

"Our association commends Assemblyman Niello for authoring a bill that will, in these difficult economic times, help carve out a piece of lawsuit bureaucracy and facilitate settlements," said CJAC President John Sullivan.

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