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Quote of the Day - It has been my misfortune to be engaged in more battles than any other general on the other side of the Atlantic; but there was never a time during my command when I would not have chosen some settlement by reason rather than the sword. - Ulysses S. Grant

How Many Settlements Will This Insurance Company Have To Pay?

You can bet there will be a host of litigation spawned because of this accident:  the death of a Mother, who was survived by her minor children and an adult daughter.  But it might not be the lawsuits you're thinking.

Let me explain.

Mom was a passenger in a car. After she died, her oldest daughter made a claim against the driver's insurance company, and the insurance company settled without the daughter even filing suit.  She told the insurance company that she was the sole heir of her mother's, and on that basis, the insurance company paid her.

Apparrently someone didn't look too close at Mom's family tree - also known as a Table of Consanguinity.  Mom had five other children through a different father.  It may be that the oldest daughter didn't know about the other FIVE children, but stranger things have happened.  She may also have truly been Mom's only heir - if the other children were written out of the will.  It will likely take some time to sort this out.

As you can expect from what I've told you so far and your keen sense of observation (since you know that the insurance company settled only with the oldest daughter), the FIVE children sued the driver, too.  What a surprise.

So, when the FIVE children sued, the insurance company said, "Oh no you don't.  We already paid the sole heir, and we're not paying you anything."  Well, the insurance company didn't say exactly that, but something probably quite a bit like that.  The insurance company denied the FIVE children's claim, citing to the One Action Rule.   No money was paid to the FIVE children.

Now, if you know anything about the law, you may know about the one-action rule.  That rule does provide the insurance company with a solid defense against any further payments to Mom's heirs.  But, unfortunately for the insurance company, there are a couple of other elements to the One Action Rule.  One of those elements requires the oldest daughter to have sued the insurance company, and then a settlement.

As you know from your keen sense of observation, the oldest daugther did not sue.  In fact, the insurance company settled voluntarily.

Those last two facts doomed the insurance company's denial of the FIVE childrens' claim for wrongful death against the driver of the car, and ultimately his insurance company, who will now have to pay the FIVE children.

You can read more about the case (and the One Action Rule) here in the case of Moody, a Minor, etc., et al, v. Bedford, et al, Cal. Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five, No. B226074 (January 9).

Now about that other litigation. 

Yup.  You got that right.  You can bet the insurance company will be suing the oldest daughter for a refund - assuming she hasn't spent all the settlement money yet. 


Posted by J. Craig Williams on 1/9/2012 at 17:53 Comments (0)


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