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Contract of Adhesion

What is a Contract of Adhesion?

A contract of adhesion, a term often encountered in insurance and legal contexts, refers to a type of agreement in which one party, typically the one with greater bargaining power, drafts the terms and conditions, while the other party has little or no opportunity to negotiate. The definition of a contract of adhesion encompasses agreements where the weaker party must either accept the contract as presented or reject it entirely, without the possibility of altering its terms. The meaning of contract of adhesion may refer to the inherent imbalance of power between the parties involved, often favoring the party that drafted the contract.

Contract of Adhesion in More Detail

Insurance policies are commonly considered contracts of adhesion, as the insurance company creates the policy language and sets the terms, while the insured has minimal input in the contract’s content. This can result in ambiguity or uncertainty about specific provisions, which may lead to disputes or misunderstandings between the parties.

In the event of a disagreement or legal dispute, courts often interpret contracts of adhesion in favor of the party with less bargaining power, applying the principle of contra proferentem. This legal doctrine holds that any ambiguous terms or provisions should be construed against the party that drafted the contract, aiming to protect the weaker party from potential exploitation or unfair terms.