Doug Mudford
Q&A Expert

Q: I ate the free lunch with complimentary beverage, bought the timeshare in Arizona and am having buyer’s remorse. Can I get out of the contract?

A: No. You can’t give it back. There are softer, cuddlier answers but they are statistically unimportant. It’s a little like playing the lottery where your chances of winning are essentially the same whether you buy a ticket or not. The chances of getting out of your contract are the same as winning the lottery.

The rules are spelled out in the contract you signed. Although you reside in Redding, where and how the contract is interpreted (which state’s law) is up to the seller. Even if there is valid argument in your favor, you will need to hire out-of-state lawyers
to help. The cost could be more than the purchase price.

This is not a rant against timeshares. They’re a great concept and can serve a purpose.
The time to sleep on it and decide whether the purchase is for you is before you sign and
after your complimentary beverage has dissipated. We all seem to have a genetic short
circuit that keeps us from discussing a contract before we sign it. My wife says I’m one of
the worst. With few exceptions, I’ve wanted to buy a piece of property/timeshare/condo in every place I’ve visited. She has the good sense to keep reminding me to “sleep on it.”

Q: Should I buy the car insurance offered by the rental company?

A: Yes, if…

1) The insurance will be primary and not secondary to your own. Some policies are written requiring your personal insurance pay any losses before the rental company insurance kicks in. Why bother?

2) The amount of coverage is satisfactory to you. If it’s much less than your own, you still may wind up paying.

3) You are given a clear description of what kind of coverage you’re buying. In other words, does the insurance cover your rental, a third party vehicle, your injuries and third party injuries?

4) The deductible, if any, is explained.

I ask these questions each time I rent. I buy coverage about half the time. If my personal
insurance company has to be first up, I decline.

The rental insurance is so profitable because the cost is high and the chances are you aren’t going to have an accident; statistics again.

I have to admit for years I didn’t ask any questions, making decisions to purchase based
on how I felt that day. After a friend rented a car in Mexico and immediately drove it into a ditch I became more interested in car rental agreements. I’ve also talked to my insurance agent about my personal coverage when driving in another country.

Q: While in Arizona, I played golf and hit one of the players in the group ahead. Am I responsible for his injuries?

A:Maybe. Arizona law regarding recreational activities will generally be applied

because that’s where the accident happened. While there may be some common threads, the specific application of law may vary state to state. In California for example, your chances of escaping liability are pretty good because the laws generally don’t favor the injured participant of a recreational activity. Your responsibility could depend on whether you tried to yell a warning or whether he was in your hitting range (you knew you could hit it that far and did it anyway).
Even spectators will have a difficult time recovering losses. If your child is injured at a
baseball game by a batted ball, the responsibility is yours, not the batter’s. The court’s
logic is that you have voluntarily assumed risks associated with the sport and it is
reasonable to expect a baseball to be hit into the stands.

Arizona may have different applications of law relative to sporting activities so you will
need to a lawyer familiar with Arizona law. Thanks to my friend Mark in Arizona for helping me with these questions.

We’ve been asked some variation of these questions many times over the years. Some
of the answers came from personal experience.

Doug Mudford is a lawyer and partner at Barr & Mudford, with an emphasis on serious personal injury. He may be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, (530) 243-8008. Send questions for future “That Lawyer Guy” columns to

Doug Mudford

is a lawyer and partner at Barr & Mudford, with an emphasis on serious personal injury. He may be reached at Barr & Mudford, 1824 Court St., Redding, (530) 243-8008, or