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Arizona Law: Courts rule on OJ's, liens, insurance coverage, deadlines and inappropriate communication

Posted by Matt Schmidt | Aug 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Since my last blog on Arizona law, there have been five new decisions from the Arizona Supreme Court and Arizona Appellate Court that have an impact on our personal injury law practice.  Though most will not make you jump out of your seat with excitement, it is still important for lawyers to remain in the know about what is going on in our legal system. Here is a quick summary of what you need to know:

1. The interest on an Offer of Judgment runs from the last enforceable judgment as opposed to when the offer is made, and that the rate of interest is prime plus 1% or 4.25%, not 10%.

What this means: Not a whole lot.  A new law, but a logical conclusion based on existing law.

2. Arizona Statutory law allows a healthcare provider to recover a lien from the wrongdoer's insurer.

What this means:  Expect adverse insurers to require more “hold harmless” letters or other guarantees by you and your client that the insurer is not responsible for the liens and that the liens will be taken care of by you and your client.

3. Appellate courts cannot hear an issue raised for the first time in an overdue Amended Notice of Appeal.

What this means: don't blow deadlines.

4. An insurance agency is not absolved from liability when insured signs a form declining UM and UIM coverage where, before signing the form, insured advised agent she wanted “same coverage as before,” which included UM and UIM coverage.

What this means: This is another victory for the insurance consumer, interpreting statutory language broadly to protect consumers' rights and reasonable expectations of coverage.

5. An ex parte communication between the bailiff and jurors concerning something substantive could require a hearing to determine if the if the communication caused prejudice.

What this means: It was not the greatest of choices for a bailiff to tell the jury that deliberating for an hour or two to come to a verdict “should be plenty.”

Want to read more details about these decisions and others? Check out our Law Updates.

About the Author

Matt Schmidt

Matt graduated from the James E Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona in passing the Arizona bar exam in 2010. Matt's primary interest in law focuses on general personal injury and insurance bad faith.

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