First Acceptance Insurance Company of Georgia, Inc. v. Hughes
Understanding an insurer’s duty to settle is crucial for individuals who have been injured in an accident and are pursuing compensation through an insurance claim. Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari in a case that reviewed whether the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the grant of summary judgment to the insurer on the insured’s failure-to-settle claim.
In addition, the Court asked the parties to address whether an insurer’s duty to settle arises only when the injured party presents a valid offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits, or whether a duty arises when the insurer knows or reasonably should know that settlement within the insured’s policy limits is possible.
The Court concluded that an insurer’s duty to settle arises only when the injured party presents a valid offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits. In the case at hand, the Court applied the applicable rules of contract construction to correspondence from two injured parties and concluded that they presented to the insurer a valid offer to settle within the insured’s policy limits. However, the offer did not include any deadline for accepting the offer.
Based on the undisputed evidence, the insurer did not act unreasonably in failing to accept the offer before it was withdrawn by the injured parties. Therefore, as a matter of law, the insurer was entitled to summary judgment, and the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals.
This case highlights the importance of understanding the intricacies of an insurance claim, particularly with regards to an insurer’s duty to settle. If you have been injured in an accident and are pursuing compensation through an insurance claim, it is essential to have an experienced personal injury attorney on your side who can navigate the complexities of the legal system and advocate for your rights. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal options and work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.