Victims Throughout Florida
West Palm Beach Attorneys Helping People Pursue Damages in Bad Faith Claims
Insurance companies will often unjustly deny their insured’s claims or will undervalue the damages. If an insurance company’s failure to fairly settle a claim demonstrates a lack of good faith, it may constitute grounds for pursuing damages in a bad faith lawsuit. If you filed a claim for insurance benefits and your insurer denied your claim, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney to discuss your rights. The skilled West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys of Winegar Law, P.A. are adept at navigating the complexities of bad faith claims, and if we represent you, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. We regularly assist people in the pursuit of claims against their insurance companies in West Palm Beach and in Miami.
Bad Faith Claims Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, insurance companies owe a duty to their insureds to properly and thoroughly investigate any claims. Additionally, if an insurer determines that a claim filed by or against their insured is valid, they must pay any benefits owed in a timely manner.
Notably, Florida law permits both first-party and third-party bad faith claims. First-party and third-party bad faith claims can arise under Florida’s Bad Faith statute, which states that when an insurer does not attempt to settle a claim when it should and could have done so, any person who suffers damages can bring a claim against the insurer. Third-party claims can also arise under common law.
In first-party bad faith claims, an insured will sue their insurer for failing to settle the insured’s claim in good faith. Third-party bad faith claims usually arise when an insurance company fails to settle a third party’s claim against an insured within policy limits, which exposes the insured to liability in excess of their insurance company.
Parties that want to pursue bad faith claims have to provide the insurance company with written notice of the alleged violation of the bad faith law. The insurance company then will have 60 days to cure the purported violation. If the insurance company pays the claimant the benefits they are owed within the 60-day period, they cannot be liable for first-party bad faith, but curing within the 60-day period does not protect insurers from common law third-party bad faith claims. If the insurance company fails to respond or declines to pay the benefits owed, however, the insurance company then must prove that it did not act in bad faith.
Damages Recoverable in Bad Faith Cases
The damages recoverable in bad faith cases vary depending on the facts of the case and the nature of the claims asserted but may include benefits owed under the policy, and consequential damages, which includes any reasonably foreseeable losses caused by the insurance company’s violation. In some instances, the plaintiff may also be awarded attorneys’ fees and court costs. Additionally, in cases in which the insurance company’s acts were wanton, willful, or demonstrated a reckless disregard for the insured, punitive damages may be awarded as well.
Confer With a Skilled West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney
People expect their insurance companies to fairly assess any claims filed by or against them, but insurance companies do not always uphold their obligations, and their lack of good faith causes their insured financial harm. If your insurance company denied your claim or neglected to settle a claim against you, you might be able to recover damages in a bad faith lawsuit, and you should speak to an attorney. The skilled West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys of Winegar Law, P.A. are well-versed in what it takes to hold insurance companies liable for bad faith, and if we represent you, we can help you seek the best legal outcome available under the facts of your case. We regularly represent parties in cases against insurance companies in West Palm Beach and Miami. You can reach us at our West Palm Beach and Miami offices by calling 561-717-0447 or via the form online to set up a meeting.