Bad-Faith Claim

Most personal injury and accident claims are settled through negotiations with an insurance provider. When you file an insurance claim, you expect the company to process it and pay a fair amount for your damages. However, that doesn’t always happen.

If an insurance company has mishandled your claim after an accident, you might have a bad faith case against them. With the help of a lawyer, you could be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by an insurer’s wrongdoing.

What Is Bad Faith?

What Is Bad Faith?

Bad faith refers to fraud or dishonesty in a transaction. Insurance policies are legally binding contracts between the insurance company and the policyholder. The policyholder pays the premiums in exchange for the insurance coverage outlined in the policy.

An insurance company acts in good faith when it processes claims in a timely, honest manner and with the intent to uphold its duties and responsibilities in the contract. However, an insurer may act in bad faith if they try to avoid liability for a claim by using unfair, dishonest, and fraudulent tactics. Bad faith insurance practices are prohibited by Florida insurance laws

How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Faith Claim in Florida?

There are two types of bad-faith actions. A first-party bad faith claim is between the insurance company and the policyholder. For example, you might have a bad faith claim against your PIP insurance provider if they refuse to pay covered medical bills and lost wages after a Florida car accident.

A third-party bad faith claim is between the insurance company and someone who has a claim against the insured party. For example, a third-party claim might arise if your slip and fall accident case is unduly delayed or unjustly denied by the property owner’s liability insurance company.

Determining whether an insurance company acted in bad faith can be challenging. An insurer has the right to investigate to determine if the terms of the insurance policy cover the claim. The company also has the right to deny claims for valid reasons.

The best way to know whether you have a bad faith claim is to seek legal advice from an attorney who handles these types of claims in Florida. If you suspect an insurance company has acted in bad faith, talk with an attorney as soon as possible. 

The time to file a bad faith claim is restricted by the Florida statute of limitations. Waiting too long to talk with an attorney could result in losing the right to file a bad faith case because you missed the deadline.

Examples of Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Florida Personal Injury Cases 

Whenever you have to deal with an insurance adjuster after an injury or accident, you should expect them to engage in tactics to undervalue your claim. They might try to trick you into making statements that could imply shared fault or failure to mitigate damages. The company may make a quick, low settlement offer before you have the chance to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discover how much your claim is worth.

Unfortunately, bad faith practices are discreet and difficult to identify unless you are familiar with insurance law. 

Talk with an attorney immediately if you experience any of the following examples of bad faith practices:

  • The insurance company fails to acknowledge receipt of your claim within 14 days
  • Misrepresentation of the terms or facts of the insurance policy
  • Failure to conduct a prompt investigation into the claim
  • Delays in the claims process without a justifiable reason
  • Settlement offers for less than your damages are worth
  • Requirements to provide unnecessary paperwork or documentation to process the claim
  • Failure to request documentation to process the claim in a timely manner
  • Denials of claim benefits without a reasonable justification or any justification at all
  • Failure to make a timely payment once the claim has been approved and the settlement agreement or release has been signed
  • Intentionally trying to mislead a claimant or policyholder to avoid payment of a claim

If you are unsure whether an insurance company is treating you fairly, chances are that the company is acting in bad faith. Whether the actions break the law depends on the specific circumstances. 

What Damages Could I Receive By Filing a Bad Faith Claim in Florida?

You may receive compensation for damages in a bad faith claim, including:

  • The initial value of your insurance claim
  • The costs of bringing the action, including attorneys’ fees
  • Compensation for the emotional distress caused by the insurance company’s unlawful actions

A jury might also award punitive damages to punish the insurance company for the bad faith practices. If so, you could receive additional funds. 

Contact Our Office for a Free Consultation With a Boca Raton Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer 

Insurance companies that take advantage of an accident victim must be held accountable for wrongdoing. You deserve to be treated fairly and with respect when you file an injury claim. Contact us and request a free case evaluation to discuss your legal options with an experienced Boca Raton bad faith insurance attorney at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers. Call us today at (561) 347-7770.