HB 339 Modifies provisions relating to settlement agreements in tort claims
Sponsor: Rowden
LR Number: 0981S.05T Fiscal Notes
Committee: General Laws
Last Action: 7/5/2017 - Signed by Governor Journal Page:
Title: SS SCS HCS HBs 339 & 714 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2017
House Handler: DeGroot

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Current Bill Summary

SS/SCS/HCS/HBs 339 & 714 - This act provides that a time-limited demand occurs when a claimant offers to settle a claim with a defendant with liability insurance in a personal injury or wrongful death case for an amount within the insurer's limit of liability insurance and the acceptance of such offer has a time limitation.

A time-limited demand must be in writing, reference the applicable section of law, sent by certified mail to the defendant's liability insurer, contain the time period for acceptance which shall not be less than ninety days, the amount of money requested or a request for the applicable policy limits, the date and location of the loss, the claim number, a description of the known injuries sustained, a description of the parties and claims to be released from liability if the demand is accepted, and an offer of unconditional release for the liability insurer's insureds from all present and future liability. The demand also must be accompanied by additional information as provided in the act, which includes authorizations to allow the liability insurer to obtain records from all relevant employers and medical care providers.

A liability insurer with the right to settle on behalf of an insured may accept the time-limited demand in writing within the time period provided in the demand.

The act does not apply to offers to settle made within ninety days of the trial.

In a lawsuit filed by the claimant as assignee of the defendant or by the defendant for the benefit of the claimant, a time-limited demand that does not comply with the act cannot be considered as a reasonable opportunity to settle for the insurer and shall not be admissible in a suit alleging extra-contractual damages against the liability insurer.

These provisions are substantially similar to the perfect version of SS/SCS/SB 213 (2017) and HCS/HB 573 (2017).

Currently, a plaintiff seeking damages for bodily injuries or death may enter into a settlement contract with the defendant to limit execution of a judgment against the defendant to certain assets and against the insurer of the defendant for such damages.

This act provides that a plaintiff and defendant may enter into such settlement agreement only after the defendant's insurer has had the opportunity and refused to defend the defendant without reservation. Prior to a judgement being entered against the defendant the insurer must be provided notice of the settlement contract and has thirty days to intervene.

These provisions are substantially similar to SCS/SB 303 (2017).