In Georgia, if you are going to settle with the insurance company for the driver who hit you, you want to make sure that you only sign a Georgia Limited Liability Release instead of a general release so that your rights to go after your Georgia uninsured motorist coverage is preserved. Under a Limited Release, you are releasing the option of taking the person’s own money, car, house but you are getting their full insurance policy limits and can still recover from your Uninsured Motorist Coverage. As far as justice goes, know that your Uninsured Motorist Insurance carrier will ultimately sue the defendant and go after their personal assets. let them do your work for you.
The bottom line is if you are dealing with uninsured motorist issues, you are foolish to proceed on your own. There are just too many traps and the law has shifted considerably in the last two years alone.
The critical issues are:
Do not put a spouse on as well as this may kill your UM claim
Have a lawyer review the Release and be wary of indemnity language
Some UM insurance companies complain that the Limited Liability Release goes too far and releases their subrogation rights. Although this argument usually fails, it can definitely slow down the process of getting the Uninsured Motorist Limits.
Here is an example of a Limited Liability Release:
GEORGIA LIMITED RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS
PURSUANT TO O.C.G.A. §33-24-41.1
FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION of the payment to me/us of the sum of three hundred thousand ($300,000.00), the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I/we being of lawful age, do hereby give a limited release pursuant to O.C.G.A. §33-24-41.1, to Tortfeasor his/her heirs, executors and assigns (hereinafter “Limited Releasees”), for any liability now accrued or hereafter to accrue on account of any and all claims or causes of action which I/we now or may hereafter have for personal injuries, damage to property, loss of services, medical expenses, contribution, indemnification, losses or damages of any and every kind or nature whatsoever, now known or unknown or that may hereafter develop, by me/us sustained or received on or about February 4, 2008 through an auto accident except to the extent other insurance coverage is available which covers such claims or causes of action including but not limited to any available uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage under Clients’ names’ ACME INSURANCE policy (policy number: 6126XXXXX), and I/we hereby declare that I/we fully understand the terms of this settlement and voluntarily accept said sum for the purpose of making a full and final compromise, adjustment and settlement of the injuries and damages, expenses and inconvenience above mentioned and further intend to release all my/our claims for injury or damage or consequences thereof now known or unknown or which hereafter arise from this accident except to the extent that other coverage is available as outlined above. This payment of $300,000.00 is for payment of Injured Spouse Client’s claims.
IT BEING FURTHER AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD that this settlement is a compromise of a disputed claim and that the payment is not to be construed as an admission on the part of the party or parties hereby released of any liability whatever in consequence of said accident.
In all cases where the insurer shall settle the claims of third persons against the insured without written consent that it shall be the duty of the insurer to inform the third persons in writing of the lack of consent of the insured and that the insured is not thereby precluded from the further assertion of claims against the third persons before taking from the third persons any release, covenant not to sue, or settlement; and upon the failure of the insurer to give the notice to the third persons of the lack of the consent of the insured, the release, covenant not to sue, or other settlement shall be of no effect, null and void.
The claimant(s) warrants and represents to the insurer (the term “insurer” in this limited release refers to the insurer of Tortfeasor: ACME INSURANCE policy number 23529XXXXX) that there are no medical or hospital liens, or expenses for which the insurer and/or Limited Releasees may be held liable under O.C.G.A. Section 44-14-470 (et seq.), or under O.C.G.A. Section 49-4-148 or 49-4-149 or any other law or statute; but in the event any claims are asserted against the insurer for such medical expenses by any person, firm, corporation, authority, governmental agency or other entity on account of any hospital or medical treatment rendered to the claimant by reason of the incident referred to herein, the claimant(s) will hold harmless, defend and indemnify the insurer from all such claims and for any amounts the insurer is required to pay therein, including any and all attorney fees incurred in the defense of the insurer against said claims. In exchange for this indemnification, insurer and/or Limited Releasees agree to timely notify claimant(s) of any such claim(s) made against insurer and/or Limited Releasees so that claimant(s) can participate in and defend such claim(s) and assert all available defenses including but not limited to the complete compensation doctrine as set out in O.C.G.A. §33-24-56.1. Claimant(s) do not agree to release, hold harmless, defend or indemnify Limited Releasees and/or insurer for any claims for subrogation, reimbursement, contribution or other claims made by the underinsured/underinsured motorist carrier (Client’s ACME INSURANCE policy number: 612XXXX) against Limited Releasees and/or insurer.
The claimant(s) further warrants that I/we have not filed a petition of bankruptcy with the United States Bankruptcy Court nor am/are I/we a party to a bankruptcy proceeding at the time of the signing of this release.
I/We further state that the foregoing limited release has been carefully read and I/we know the contents thereof and have signed the same as my/our own free act and have not been influenced in making this settlement by any representation of the party or parties released.
Executed at ________________________, this______day of _________________, 2008.