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from our blog


August 29, 2017

The Insurance Industry Quick-Hit Settlement

If you’ve been in a collision and it was someone else’s fault, odds are very good that you will hear from the at-fault driver’s insurance company as soon as possible. It’s a tactic that is happening more and more in Arizona. This is done for a variety of reasons: (1) the insurance company would like […]

 

Negligence Claims Against Insurance Agents Are Assignable in Arizona

Since 2008 professional negligence claims against insurance agents have been assignable to others in Arizona. In Webb v. Gittlen, 174 P.3d 275 (2008) the Arizona Supreme Court overturned the longstanding principal that professional negligence lawsuits cannot be assigned to others.  In the Gittlen case, liquor store owners purchased liability insurance from a Hartford Casualty Insurance Agent, Victoria Gittlen. However, Gittlen failed to inform them that a special liquor liability coverage was necessary to protect against liability for selling alcohol. The business owners found themselves subject to a wrongful death lawsuit after they sold beer to a minor who accidently killed another minor during a car crash while driving intoxicated. Hartford refused to defend the wrongful death lawsuit because the business owners failed to purchase liquor liability coverage.

The business owners then settled with the parents of the deceased minor partly by assigning the rights to the lawsuit against Gittlen to the parents.  The insurance agent was able to get the lawsuit dismissed in the trial court, but on appeal the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that there is no fiduciary duty that would prevent an insurance agent’s customer from selling or assigning the rights to their lawsuit to another.

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  • Shane Harward Law Offices of Shane L. Harward PLC

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