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Quote of the Day - If you can find something everyone agrees on, it's wrong. - Mo Udall
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I Didn't Agree To Agree, I Just Didn't Object to Agree

Here's a lesson in how not to handle a settlement. The case, decided today, provides two important lessons, maybe more if you're paying close attention.

Most insurance policies vest the power to settle a case in the insurer's hands, not yours. That's lesson number one. You likely don't have the right to object to your insurance company's agreement to settle your case, even if you think it's outrageous. So, if you want that power later, buy that kind of coverage now.

Lesson number two is that when you make a settlement orally in front of the judge, it's going to be enforced, so think about what you're agreeing to first. The "on the record" requirement was removed some time ago.

Here, the driver and passenger of a car sued the drivers of other cars that hit them. After much wrangling (the facts of this case read like a contortionist playing with a Rubik's cube), the passenger settled with the driver and the other cars that hit him. The insurance adjusters didn't object to the settlement.

Everybody was happy. Or so it seemed.

Then the passenger tried to renege on the deal. [Who knows why other than he probably thought he could get more money in settlement or trial.]

So who did agree?

The passenger. He was on the record. And the attorneys for the defendants/insurance companies.

Did the other defendants, who weren't there, agree? Who knows? They weren't there. But remember, too, that the adjusters didn't formally agree. They just didn't object. The "agreement/no objection" of the insurance adjusters wasn't on the transcript, either.

But, the court of appeals ruled everyone had an agreement.

Even if there weren't agreements all around.

Don't you agree?

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Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 at 19:58 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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