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When A Release Doesn't Release
by Trina M. McReynolds, McReynolds Law Firm, Dallas, Texas

Our firm has been involved in a number of cases where the tortfeasor’s insurance company works quickly to obtain a release from the adverse insured in exchange for a nominal sum – most often the amount of the deductible – and then attempts to use that release offensively arguing that the release effectively extinguishes all related claims including claims for subrogation. More problematic for a subrogating insurance carrier is where the release includes indemnity language obligating the insured to personally indemnify the unscrupulous carrier for all claims allegedly released by the insured. At first glance, the subrogating insurer may be inclined to accept the release so as to avoid the potential risk to the insured and close the file; however, these types of cases deserve a second look...
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Texas Accord and Satisfaction
by Trina M. McReynolds, McReynolds Law Firm, Dallas, Texas

The issue of accord and satisfaction is one that typically occurs in instances where an insurance professional treats a payment as a partial payment towards the subrogation damages owed, rather than in-full satisfaction of the claim. Unfortunately, Texas law is very specific about how partial settlement payments should be handled to avoid releasing the adverse carrier from further claims for damages still owed. Pursuant to the Texas Business and Commerce Code, accord and satisfaction through the tender of a check or other negotiable instrument, even though not for the full amount of the underlying claim, is sufficient to discharge the claim against whom the claim is asserted if certain conditions are met. Those conditions are:...
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Over Promise, Under Deliver: The Pitfalls of a High Volume Practice
by Trina M. McReynolds, McReynolds Law Firm, Dallas, Texas

Low dollar uninsured motorist cases are synonymous with a high volume subrogation practice. To many, this area of subrogation practice is often considered the least desirable and least profitable of all subrogation areas. For those seeking to break into the subrogation craft, the barriers to entry are low, given that it is very inexpensive to file a typical auto subrogation case and in the vast majority of these files there will be no need for depositions, experts and the other traditional expenses of litigation. Given these low barriers to entry, an insurance carrier must be highly selective when referring cases in volume to a law firm...
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