Allstate Ins. Co. v. Thompson

In Allstate Ins. Co. v. Thompson, 291 Ga. App. 465 (662 SE2d 164) (2008), a husband and wife were both injured in a car wreck. They executed a limited release of the tortfeasor and his liability insurer from any and all claims pursuant to OCGA 33-24-41.1 in exchange for the maximum per person liability coverage of $ 100,000. The trial court granted the UM carrier's motion for summary judgment as to the wife but denied it as to the husband. The Court reversed in Allstate Ins. Co. v. Thompson, supra, 291 Ga. App. 465, but the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed again, reinstating the trial court's denial of the UM carrier's motion for summary judgment as to the husband. The court held that the release was ambiguous, because the wife was injured also. If any of the settlement money went to the wife to pay for her personal injury claim, then the husband failed to exhaust the available liability coverage and could not proceed against his UM carrier. If the wife's promise to release all non-UM claims was made in return for payment to her husband of the liability limits for his bodily injury claim, however, the husband exhausted the available coverage. "Application of standard policy provisions . . . indicates that the liability insurer's total payments for both the husband's bodily injury claim and the wife's loss of consortium claim added together will not exceed the limit of liability specified for injury to one person." Thompson v. Allstate Ins. Co., supra, 285 Ga. at 27.