2021 Georgia Code
Title 9 - Civil Practice
Chapter 11 - Civil Practice Act
Article 8 - Provisional and Final Remedies and Special Proceedings
§ 9-11-67.1. Settlement Offers and Agreements for Personal Injury, Bodily Injury, and Death From Motor Vehicle; Payment Methods

Universal Citation: GA Code § 9-11-67.1 (2021)
  1. Prior to the filing of an answer, any offer to settle a tort claim for personal injury, bodily injury, or death arising from the use of a motor vehicle 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:
      1. The time period within which such offer must be accepted, which shall be not less than 30 days from receipt of the offer;
      2. Amount of monetary payment;
      3. The party or parties the claimant or claimants will release if such offer is accepted;
      4. 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; and
      5. The claims to be released;
    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; and
    3. May include a term requiring 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.
    1. Unless otherwise agreed by both the offeror and the recipients in writing, the terms outlined in subsection (a) of this Code section shall be the only terms which can be included in an offer to settle made under this Code section.
    2. 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 subsection (a) of this Code section in their entirety.
  2. 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.
  3. Upon receipt of an offer to settle set forth in subsection (a) 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 reasonable clarification shall be in writing and shall not be deemed a counteroffer. 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.
  4. 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 or a facsimile number or email address to which a written acceptance pursuant to subsection (b) of this Code section may be provided.
  5. The person or entity providing payment to satisfy the material term set forth in subparagraph (a)(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.
  6. Nothing in this Code section shall prohibit a party making an offer to settle from requiring payment within a specified period; provided, however, that such date shall not be less than 40 days from the receipt of the offer.
  7. This Code section shall apply to causes of action for personal injury, bodily injury, and death arising from the use of a motor vehicle on or after July 1, 2021.

(Code 1981, §9-11-67.1, enacted by Ga. L. 2013, p. 860, § 1/HB 336; Ga. L. 2021, p. 431, § 1/HB 714.)

Cross references.

- Cause of action for physical injury, § 51-1-13.

Separate causes of action for personal injury and property damage caused by motor vehicle, § 51-1-32.

Duty of care of operator of motor vehicle to passengers, § 51-1-36.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2021, p. 431, § 4/HB 714, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall apply to causes of action accruing on or after July 1, 2021."

Law reviews.

- For article on the 2013 enactment of this Code section, see 30 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 39 (2013). For article, "An Insurer's Duty to Settle: The Law in Georgia," see 22 Ga. St. Bar J. 19 (Aug. 2016). For annual survey on insurance law, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 117 (2017). For annual survey on trial practice and procedure, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 321 (2017). For article, "The Peculiarities of Georgia Insurance Law," see 24 Ga. St. B.J. 18 (April 2019).


Supreme court interpretation required.

- After motorists asserted that an insurer for a negligent driver failed to fully comply with the terms of the insurer's settlement offer, such that there was no acceptance, questions to the Georgia Supreme Court were certified with respect to the proper interpretation of a new statute that regulated settlements in such circumstances as there were no published state or federal cases that interpreted the statute, which was arguably ambiguous with respect to the requirements of O.C.G.A. § 9-11-67.1. Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. Woodard, 826 F.3d 1289 (11th Cir. 2016).

Payment as condition of acceptance.

- Offerors can demand timely payment as a precondition to acceptance of their offer. Accordingly, because personal injury claimants expressly specified in a settlement offer that timely payment was an essential element of an insurer's acceptance, the insurer did not effectively accept the offer by mailing checks with incomplete addresses that were not received. Grange Mut. Cas. Co. v. Woodard, 861 F.3d 1224 (11th Cir. 2017).

No binding settlement agreement formed.

- Grant of the defendant's motion to enforce a settlement agreement was error because there was no unequivocal acceptance of the settlement offer that the plaintiff made to the defendant's insurer; thus, no binding settlement agreement was formed as the offer specified a particular release that was necessary for effectuating settlement, and there was no acceptance if the responding party did not accept that release. Yim v. Carr, 349 Ga. App. 892, 827 S.E.2d 685 (2019), cert. denied, No. S19C1220, 2019 Ga. LEXIS 853 (Ga. 2019).

Cited in First Acceptance Ins. Co. of Ga. v. Hughes, 305 Ga. 489, 826 S.E.2d 71 (2019).

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