Everyone knows the insurance jingles and advertisements that claim to be businesses that will be on your side, your best friend and your protector, but is it really realistic to think of our insurance companies that way?
At the end of the day, insurance providers are businesses whose primary objective is to make profits. When you’re involved in an accident and make a claim, your provider may try to undercut the settlement you deserve and give you an unfair amount.
This type of action by your insurer could lead to a bad faith insurance claim.
Situations that Arise to the Level of Bad Faith
By law, insurance companies are bound to uphold a duty of good faith towards their customers. In reality, insurance companies have an incentive to pay out as little as possible when large claims are filed. The following situations are usually considered “bad faith” in court:
- When the insurance company fails to fulfill its duties
- Flat out refusal to pay a reasonable claim
- Misrepresenting the facts or the insurance policy
- Failing to fully or properly investigate a claim
- Insurer requires an unnecessary or absurd level of paperwork or evidence
- Attempts to pay a lower amount than your claim is worth
If these situations sound familiar, then it’s advised that you consider pursuing a bad faith insurance claim.
Properties of a Bad Faith Claim
If you decide to pursue a bad faith claim against your insurer, then you will have to prove two things:
• The insurance company has withheld benefits
• The reason for withholding these benefits are unreasonable
The courts have already recognized several situations, as described above, that are unreasonable reasons for withholding a policy owner’s benefits.
It’s necessary to remember that a denied claim may not arise to the level of a bad faith claim. If your insurance company can provide a legitimate and legally recognized reason for withholding your benefits, then a lawsuit may be futile.
What Damages are Available in Bad Faith Insurance Claims?
There are several damages an insurer may have to pay in a bad faith insurance claim. They are:
- The full cost of the damages in the original claim
- The plaintiff’s attorney’s fees
- Statutory interest
- Statutory penalties
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
- Economic loss
If your claim is successful, then your insurer may be obligated to pay more than your original claim was worth.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Bad Faith Insurance Claim Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured in Coconut Creek, Plantation, Fort Lauderdale and throughout Florida. Contact us by calling 954-525-2345 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.