What an Insurance Company Refuses to Settle Your Florida Accident Case?
Florida allows Bad Faith Claims against insurance companies. There are two types of bad faith claims in Florida: First-Party Bad Faith and Third-Party Bad Faith.
First-Party Bad Faith Claim
A First-Party Bad Faith Claim is where an insurance company refuses to pay or properly investigate an insurance claim for their insured.
Meaning that the insurance company did not act reasonably in settling or investigating your claim. A lot of cases for First-Party Bad Faith Claims in Florida involve claims for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Third-Party Bad Faith Claim
Third-Party Bad Faith Claims in Florida happens when an insurance company fails to defend or settle a claim, or when they fail to investigate a claim.
These types of claims are “third-party” because they generally refer to other people suing the insured.
What is the Basis for a Bad Faith Claim in Florida?
Florida Law requires insurance company to act in “good faith”. That means that insurance companies must reasonably in their discharge of fiduciary duties owed to the policy holders.
In other words, an insurance companies must settle cases that should settle, and defend cases that they should defend. And if the insurance company does not act reasonably, then the company may be liable for a Florida Bad Faith Claim.
But It’s My Insurance Company, Won’t They Help Me?
Your insurance “should” help you. But regularly they do not. That’s exactly why the Florida Legislature enacted the Bad Faith claim as a consumer protection.
Don’t Believe Me? Let’s Look at Your Florida Insurance Policy
You meet with an agent (or broker) that sells you on the idea of certain insurance coverage. They tell you all the great and wonderful things that the policy is going to cover. You might hear like “full coverage” or “total protection”.
And they really try their hardest to make you feel good about spending all of that money. But what have you really paid for? Well, “the devil is in the details” rings true with insurance policies. The “fine print” is enough to make you sick.
The Fine Print
So what is the fine print, and why would you ever think that you would have a Florida Bad Faith Claim against the great insurance company? Once you get beyond the declaration’s page, you will see.
Quickly glance at the front page. This is called the “declarations” page. The insurance company is declaring your coverages. That is the range of numbers of coverage on your policy and how much you paid for that coverage. Dealing with an insurance agent, you have probably heard them say: “full coverage” a number of times. Probably enough times to subconsciously think you are fully covered. And then they reassure you that the insurance company will take care of any issues you may have. Will they? Most likely No. What does the rest of your policy contain?
Beyond the Declaration’s Page
If you take a closer look at the rest of the policy, you will see the “devil”. The remaining pages of your policy explain exactly how the insurance company is not going to do what it said it was going to do on the first page.
Every page after your Declaration’s page is how the insurance company is can get out of paying the coverage they promised on the first page!
You spend a lot of money every month on insurance. It’s fair to expect your insurance company to protect and compensate you in times of loss. But most insurance policies are designed with the goal of limiting coverage. In fact, the insurance companies have teams of lawyers dreaming of new ways to prevent paying your claims (how else are they going to pay their CEOs multi-million-dollar yearly salaries?). That’s why the legislature enacted the Florida’s Bad Faith claims statute.
So what happens when you aren’t in good hands, or the company is no longer by your side? That’s when you need a skilled Sarasota, Florida trial lawyer like me to have your back.
You are not alone! I have the experience and results to help maximize your recovery!
I focus a large portion of my personal injury practice on making my client’s own insurance company do the right thing! Either your insurance company acts in good faith in settling your claim, or they pay handsomely for their mistakes! I’m here to fight for your rights and to guide you through the legal process, whether against the at-fault party, your insurance company, or both.
It’s not actually called Florida Bad Faith Claims. The actual name of the statue is Civil Remedy. The statute requires the insurance companies to act in good faith. When they fail to do so, they are acting in bad faith. Hence, “Florida Bad Faith Claims”.
Do I Have a Florida Bad Faith Claim?
Each case is different and the facts of that specific case with determine whether there is a bad faith claim.
But generally, if the insurance company does not act in good faith to settle claims when they could and should have done so, they do not act fairly and honestly toward you, if they fail disclose or provide the amount of coverage you have available, or if they fail to promptly settle claims, then you may have a claim.
I can review the specifics of your case in order to help determine if you have a Bad Faith Claim against your insurance company. There are many reasons to seek this claim, and failing to seek Bad Faith can be the difference between you getting a low-ball settlement offer, or getting you fully compensated for your injuries.
I Offer FREE CONSULTATIONS to Review Your Case To Advise you On Florida Bad Faith Claims.
Damages in Florida Bad Faith Claim’s Cases
So what happens if you are successful on a Bad Faith claim against your insurance company? A few of things:
First, the jury verdict is not capped at policy limits. In other words, if your insurance policy is $100,000.00 per accident, and you get a jury verdict of $2,000,000.00, the insurance company can be liable for the entire amount of the judgment! Second, they can be on the hook for attorney’s fees and costs. Attorney fees and Costs in a Florida Bad Faith Claim in serious injury cases can be many tens of thousands of dollars. Third, if you can prove that the insurance company acted in such a manner as acts appeared to indicate a general business practice that are sufficiently bad, then the court can award punitive damages. Punitive damages can be many times the amount of Florida Bad Faith Claim’s damages.
If you have any questions related to your accident, or a Florida Bad Faith Claim, please do not hesitate to call Me for a FREE CONSULTATION.