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Signing a Declaration for a Settlement?

Discussion in 'Automobile & Car Insurance' started by Armengeddon512, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Armengeddon512

    Armengeddon512 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,
    I was in a car accident in March of last year. Unfortunately, I did not have the coverage limits on my auto insurance policy to cover all the expenses for the other party so they proceeded to litigation. Over a year later, my insurance company let's me know that the other party wants to settle for the limits I did have on my policy but I would have to sign this declaration which I am skeptical about:

    DECLARATION OF JOHN DOE

    I, John Doe, hereby declare as follows:

    1. That on or about March 1, 2017, I was the driver and registered owner of a 2015 Subaru vehicle, with a California License Plate.

    2. That on or about March 1, 2017, my vehicle was involved in an automobile collision in Los Angeles County, California with another vehicle, wherein Mr. Tom Smith, was seriously injured.

    3. That I understand that Mr. Tom Smith is making claims against me for damages (including but not limited to medical expenses, loss of wages & pain and suffering).

    4. That I understand that if I were found to be liable for the incident in this or any other judicial proceeding and a verdict and/or judgment were entered against me, my insurance policy with P. Insurance Company may not cover all of the losses that Mr. Tom Smith, is claiming against me.

    5. That I understand that my P. Insurance Company policy in effect at the time of the subject incident provided bodily injury limits of $__10-30k______ per person and $__15k______ per accident.

    6. That I am representing to Mr. Tom Smith, and his attorneys that I am not aware of, do not own, am not named and cannot be construed as an insured on any other insurance policy whatsoever that may cover any of the losses that Mr. Tom Smith is claiming against me and that there is, in fact, no other policy (other than the P. Insurance Company) which may cover the claims of Mr Tom Smith. I am further representing that I do not own, am not named and cannot be construed as an insured on any umbrella policy and/or any homeowner’s insurance policy that may cover any of the losses Mr. Tom Smith is claiming against me. I have provided to Mr. Tom Smith, and his attorneys, copies of all insurance policies under which I could possibly be construed as an insured and that the only policy I have is the P. Insurance Company.

    Initials______________

    7. That I was not within the course and scope of my employment at the time of the collision on March 1, 2017.

    8. That I have not transferred to any other person any assets over $1,000.00

    within the last year.

    9. That I do not own any assets worth $5,000.00 or more. I do not own any

    stocks, bonds or real estate.

    10. That my income consists entirely of _________17k (annual)____________________________________________________

    ___________________________________________________________________________

    My employers for the past two years are: ___________________________________________________________________________.

    11. That I understand Mr Tom Smith., and his attorneys are relying on all of my aforementioned representations made in this declaration.

    12. That I understand that but for all of my aforementioned representations

    made in this declaration, Mr. Tom Smith, and his attorneys would not accept the $_______ policy limits offer of settlement on my Insurance Policy with P. Insurance Company.

    13. That should this matter proceed to litigation, the Superior Court of California would retain jurisdiction, even if the case is dismissed, to enforce the terms of this declaration under CCP Section 664.6 until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.

    I declare under penalty of perjury that the above is true and correct. Executed at ________________________, California on _______________________.

    ______________________________

    John Doe



    Items # 4 and 13 are the most concerning to me as I can’t help but think that the insurance just wants to forgo all liability and dump it onto me, but then again I am not well versed in litigation.


    My question is simple. I do not have much equity or any real income but I am going to be entering a career that may change my circumstances. So will signing the document hinder any financial matters in the future and is it really in my best interest?

    Thank You So Very Much
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    That's not what is happening. In fact, it's just the opposite. The injured party will settle for only limits if he is convinced that there is no money available directly from you.

    When your insurance company settles it will get a signed release from the claimant so the claimant can never come after you for more.

    The statement is routine. If everything in it is true, sign it and it will be over.

    No.
     
    Armengeddon512 likes this.
  3. Armengeddon512

    Armengeddon512 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your swift response. I'm just a bit hesitant when it comes to insurance companies and their lawyers but I thank you for your time.
     
  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand where you're coming up with this.

    Paragraph 4 is simply an acknowledgment that the plaintiff's injuries exceed your insurance policy limits. Therefore, if the matter proceeded to trial and you lost, your insurance would pay the judgment up to your policy limits, and then you'd be on your own for the rest. This is what happens with the woefully inadequate minimum insurance limits.

    Paragraph 5 is an acknowledgment of your woefully inadequate insurance coverage, and paragraph 6 is a representation that you don't have other applicable insurance coverage.

    Paragraph 7 is a representation that you weren't acting in the course and scope of your employment. If you were, then your employer would be vicariously liable for your negligence.

    The remaining paragraphs are representations that you don't have sufficient income or assets to make it worthwhile for the plaintiff to go to trial and get a judgment in excess of your policy limits because such a judgment would probably be uncollectible.

    Not really sure what this question means, but the language you have quoted here does not say anything about changes in your financial situation in the future.

    What did your lawyer advise you to do? Also, what's the alternative? You can refuse to sign, in which case the case probably won't settle. The case will go to trial and you'll (apparently) lose and get a judgment against you in excess of your policy limits. You said you're entering a new career that (presumably) will result in you making more money. If you have a judgment against you, your wages can be garnished, etc., etc. Do you want those things?
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You'd be very foolish to sign the form because an anonymous person on the internet told you it would be okay.

    If you act upon the advice of strangers, you might as well as trust the insurance company.

    However, you've told us that you don't trust insurance companies.

    If I were you, I'd take the form to a local attorney that you trust, and ask the attorney to explain it to you via a written "attorney's opinion".

    Most attorneys will charge for the opinion.

    However, if you rely on the attorney's LEGAL opinion, you have recourse should the opinion be incorrect.

    On the other hand, if you rely on the opinions of strangers, your only recourse is to reap the folly of listening to strangers.

    The letter can cause you much more grief and harm than you might imagine.

    For instance, once the insurance company settles the claim based upon you ACCEPTING responsibility for the collision, you're likely to have difficulty in obtaining automobile insurance for a very long time.

    If you do obtain auto insurance, you might find it to be cost prohibitive.

    If the form remains UNSIGNED, you're less likely to cripple yourself (perhaps for the remainder of your working life) by admitting to causing the collision ESPECIALLY if you are looking forward to a significant financial improvement in your life in a year or two.

    You might also investigate INCREASING your automobile insurance policy.

    Smart people carry bodily-injury coverage of at least $100,000 per person, and $300,000 per accident, and property-damage coverage of $100,000, or a minimum of $300,000 on a single-limit policy.

    Smarter people (who have assets they wish to protect) also obtain a $1,000,000 umbrella policy.

    Those are minimums.

    I carry significantly more, and an umbrella policy of $50,000,000.

    I have assets I aggressively protect.
     
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  6. Armengeddon512

    Armengeddon512 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for understanding and giving your honest opinion unlike some other assholes here.
     
  7. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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  8. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    If you consult your own attorney you could work up your own agreement that rewords or adds terms to your satisfaction.
    You might consider adding language that the acceptance of the insurance settlement resolves the debt in full, that they won't have opportunity to pursue you individually for anything more afterward. Basically clearer language that satisfies you and indicates the matter is over so long as they don't find you lied or the agreed terms are otherwise not true.
     
    Armengeddon512 likes this.
  9. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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  10. Armengeddon512

    Armengeddon512 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Are there any more?
     

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