Ga. Code § 9-11-67.1

Current through 2023-2024 Legislative Session Chapter 495
Section 9-11-67.1 - Settlement offers and agreements for personal injury, bodily injury, and death from motor vehicle; payment methods
(a) Any offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision shall be an offer to enter into a bilateral contract.
(b) From the time a cause of action accrues until the filing of an answer by the named defendant, or if there are multiple named defendants, until the time that all named defendants have filed their initial answers or been found to be in default, whichever is applicable, any offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision and prepared by or with the assistance of an attorney on behalf of a claimant or claimants shall be in writing and:
(1) Shall contain the following material terms, which shall be the only material terms:
(A) A date by which such offer must be accepted, which shall be not less than 30 days from receipt of the offer sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested;
(B) Amount of monetary payment;
(C) The party or parties the claimant or claimants will release if such offer is accepted;
(D) For any type of release, whether the release is full or limited and an itemization of what the claimant or claimants will provide to each releasee;
(E) The claims to be released;
(F) A date by which payment shall be delivered; provided, however, that such date shall not be less than 40 days from receipt of the offer; and
(G) A requirement that in order to settle the claim the recipient shall provide the offeror a statement, under oath, regarding whether all liability and casualty insurance issued by the recipient that provides coverage or that may provide coverage for the claim at issue has been disclosed to the offeror and a date by which such statement under oath shall be delivered, and such date shall not be less than 40 days from receipt of the offer; provided, however, that the requirement provided in this subparagraph may be waived by the offeror; and
(2) Shall include medical or other records in the offeror's possession incurred as a result of the subject claim that are sufficient to allow the recipient to evaluate the claim

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(c) Where any offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision provides any term outside of the material terms provided in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section, such term shall be construed as an immaterial term that may be mutually agreed to, in writing, by both the offeror and the recipient; provided, however, that a variance by the recipient from such immaterial term shall not subject the recipient to a civil action arising from an alleged failure by the recipient to accept an offer to settle such tort claim if such recipient otherwise complies with subsection (i) of this Code section.
(d) The recipients of an offer to settle made under this Code section may accept the same by providing written acceptance of the material terms outlined in paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section in their entirety.
(e) Nothing in this Code section is intended to prohibit parties from reaching a settlement agreement in a manner and under terms otherwise agreeable to both the offeror and recipient of the offer; provided, however, that no party shall require another party, as a condition of settlement, to waive or modify the application of this Code section or any provision of this Code section.
(f) Upon receipt of an offer to settle set forth in subsection (b) of this Code section, the recipients shall have the right to seek clarification regarding the terms, the terms of the release, liens, subrogation claims, standing to release claims, medical bills, medical records, and other relevant facts. An attempt to seek clarification shall be in writing and shall not be deemed a counteroffer; provided, however, that seeking to modify the terms under paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of this Code section shall not be deemed a clarification. In addition, if a release is not provided with an offer to settle, a recipient's providing of a proposed release shall not be deemed a counteroffer.
(g) An offer to settle made pursuant to this Code section shall be sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, shall specifically reference this Code section, and shall include an address, and either a facsimile number or email address, to which a written acceptance pursuant to subsection (d) of this Code section may be provided.
(h) The person or entity providing payment to satisfy the material term set forth in subparagraph (b)(1)(B) of this Code section may elect to provide payment by any one or more of the following means:
(1) Cash;
(2) Money order;
(3) Wire transfer;
(4) A cashier's check issued by a bank or other financial institution;
(5) A draft or bank check issued by an insurance company; or
(6) Electronic funds transfer or other method of electronic payment.

(i)
(1) There shall be no civil action arising from an alleged failure by the recipient to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision, where the recipient provides the offeror on or before the dates specified in the offer:
(A) A writing that purports to accept in their entirety the material terms of the offer, with the exception of the amount of payment;
(B) A statement by the recipient under oath regarding insurance coverage provided by the recipient, if required as a material term; and
(C) Payment of the lesser of:
(i) The amount demanded in such offer; or
(ii) The available bodily injury liability limits of the applicable insurance policy or policies issued by the recipient.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (3) of this subsection, this subsection shall apply to any offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision; and shall apply to any such offer even where such offer expressly provides that any or all of this Code section does not apply to such offer; and shall not be construed to only apply to offers made pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section.
(3) Where the recipient does not comply with paragraph (1) of this subsection in response to an offer made in compliance with subsection (b) of this Code section, this subsection shall not apply to any subsequent offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision.
(j) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code section to the contrary, this Code section shall not apply to any offer to settle a product liability claim, including failure to warn arising under product liability.

OCGA § 9-11-67.1

Amended by 2024 Ga. Laws 415,§ 1, eff. 4/22/2024, app. to any offers to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from a motor vehicle collision made on or after 4/22/2024, with the exception of a product liability claim, including failure to warn arising under product liability.
Amended by 2021 Ga. Laws 203,§ 1, eff. 7/1/2021.
Added by 2013 Ga. Laws 271,§ 1, eff. 7/1/2013.