When it comes to car accidents, an injured party has many options regarding obtaining a settlement or a judgment. This is especially true where multiple insurance carriers or policies are involved that provide policy limits to cover the injured person’s expenses. If you are coping with painful injuries and this is your first experience navigating a personal injury claim, it can be extremely stressful. Knowing whether to accept a settlement or the right procedures to follow to protect your rights isn’t always straightforward. At the Law Offices of Michael O. Smith, we proudly provide legal counsel to Boston car accident victims.
In a recent appeal, a Massachusetts Court of Appeal considered whether a disputed settlement agreement arising out of a car accident was enforceable. The plaintiff appealed from an order from the lower court that allowed the defendant’s motion to enforce the settlement. The parties had stipulated to dismissing the action on September 8, 2016. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court erred by allowing the defendant’s motion to enforce the settlement because the parties had not entered into a valid agreement with the defendant’s insurance company.
According to the plaintiff, the insurance company’s release form, which it sent to the plaintiff in August 2015, that the company sent in response to the plaintiff’s demand for tender of the defendant’s policy limits, was a counteroffer. The demand letter sought the entire $100,000 policy, claiming that the damages exceeded the defendant’s limits. The plaintiff based this off of certain terms in the release that both the defendant and the insurance company would be released from all liability arising out of the accident. The defendant also responded by offering the plaintiff roughly $33,000 as settlement of the claim.