Insurance Company Bad Faith Actually Benefits Florida Accident Victims

January 29, 2009
By Dan Irving , Esq. on January 29, 2009 3:37 PM | | Comments (0)

Shortchanging the accident victim is something that is 'old hat' for insurance companies. Florida accident victims have always had to scratch and claw through the system to get the compensation for injuries that they deserve.

Often, Florida automobile accident victims find themselves on the 'short end of the stick', dealing with insurance company "bad faith". Being a victim of a car crash is not bad enough, but when that victim finds out that the insurance coverage of the at fault driver and owner is inadequate, and there is inadequate uninsured motorist coverage, that victim may think they've hit the 'end of the road'.

Well maybe, except that insurance company greed may create an exception and actually create what amounts to an unlimited amount of insurance coverage. Under Florida law, if an insurance carrier representing the person at fault fails to make a reasonable offer when that insurance carrier should have, and does not act in the best interest of the person the carrier insures, that may open the door to unlimited insurance coverage.

In other words, an insurance carrier has an obligation to act in good faith to its at fault insured. If it doesn't, it opens the door to an excess verdict, one that could take what was otherwise a $10,000.00 policy limits case, and essentially make it into a case of unlimited insurance coverage.

This Florida law, to some extent, helps keep the insurance carriers 'in check', requiring them to really and truly try to evaluate a case properly, and if there's a reasonable chance that their insured can get 'hit' with an excess verdict, then they have the obligation to pay the injured party the policy limits.

The same concept applies to a person who is struck by an uninsured motorist or 'underinsured motorist'. When put on notice pursuant to statute, and an adequate period of time expires without payment, one who has uninsured motorist coverage can also obtain an excess verdict against its own insurance carrier.

Our law firm has many examples of insurance bad faith. In one, a young man in his early 20's with serious injuries came to us seeking to have his friend, who was the at fault driver, pay him the $100,000.00 policy limits of his friend's policy. When the insurance carrier refused, and claimed there was no insurance coverage under the policy, the young man sued, and a verdict was collected by the young man in an amount in excess of $1.8 million.

In another case, the failure of the insurance company to offer the $100,000.00 policy limits to a catastrophically injured young woman has resulted in that company now offering two million dollars to settle, and that sum has been turned down as the family seeks full compensation for her injuries.

So, if an insurance carrier is delaying on paying a claim, or hasn't offered the policy limits of the policy when they should have done so, seek the services of a lawyer who handles those type of claims.

Dan Irving is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer handling bad faith claims in Florida for more than 27 years, having achieved many excess settlements against insurance carriers who have failed to pay clients promptly and adequately

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