There are several different instances in Florida when a lawsuit can be filed against an insurance company for engaging in "bad faith" conduct. First party "bad faith" involves the obligations an insurance company owes to their own policyholder. If you file a claim with your insurance company for property damages, your insurer has several obligations which include settling the claim in a reasonable amount of time. In the event the insurance company places its own interest above its policyholder we may, when proper, pursue punitive damages against the insurer in an insurance bad faith lawsuit after the withheld payments are recovered in the underlying lawsuit. If you are concerned that an insurance company is not properly handling your claim for property damages please take a moment to complete our Contact Form, or call us directly at 954.703.2111 or 321.283.5888 for a free, confidential consultation.
Third party "bad faith" can be implicated when you make an insurance claim against someone else's insurance policy. For example, if you are injured in an accident where someone else is clearly at fault, and your injuries exceed the policy limit, the insurance company may be under an obligation to tender the amount of the policy to you. If an insurance company fails to settle your claim in a reasonable amount of time the company may ultimately be found to have acted in “bad faith” and could ultimately be liable to you for damages in excess of the policy limit.
A liability insurance policy, such as a homeowner's insurance or commercial general liability insurance obligates the insurer to pay claims for covered losses. However, an insurer is also obligated to defend a policyholder, at the insurer's own expense, when the policyholder is sued by a third party. Often times, an insurer is required to defend a policyholder even if the claim itself is not ultimately covered by the insurance policy. This is because an insurer must defend a policyholder if the allegations of the complaint potentially trigger coverage. The insurer's obligations are even greater if it asserts that there is a coverage issue. For example, if the insurer asserts a coverage defense it may be required to retain independent counsel which is mutually agreeable to the policyholder. If your insurance company has failed to defend you in a lawsuit there are a number of options that may be available to your to protect your interests.
The issues that arise in a "bad faith" lawsuit can be complicated and should be analyzed by an experienced insurance lawyer. If you are concerned that an insurance company is not properly handling your claim please take a moment to complete our Contact Form, or call us directly at 954.703.2111 or 321.283.5888 for a free, confidential consultation.