Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals decided Falls Garden Condominium Association v. Falls Homeowner’s Association. It is not a personal injury case. In fact, it’s a case about parking spots. But Falls Garden is actually a case about settlement contracts and their enforceability. If you are a Maryland personal injury lawyer, you need to know when a deal is actually a binding deal.
Typically, counsel on both sides of the aisle assume that you have a binding deal when you agree to the numbers on the claim. Most settlements really do go smooth, particularly in car accident cases. State Farm, GEICO and their brethren do not really care about confidentially, admissions, or anything else outside of its standard form settlement agreement. But malpractice insurers and their doctors and hospitals and product liability defendants often treat settlement agreements like they are reinventing the wheel.
Keep in mind that, as plaintiffs’ attorneys, we never really have those types of things we are trying to slip in under the wire for a settlement. Our essential term is money and we are not trying to get the defendants to agree to other terms in personal injury cases.