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By purchasing auto insurance coverage in Florida, you are entering into a contract with the insurance company. In exchange for your payment of premiums, the insurance company will provide you with a legal defense if you are sued for a covered loss and will indemnify you for any Final Judgment against you, up to the limits of the policy you have purchased.
Because the insurance company has the right, under the contract, to decide whether to settle a case or whether to expose you to litigation and trial, Florida law requires that they make these decisions in good faith and handle the adjustment of your claims with a fiduciary duty to settle all claims fairly when they could and should have done so. If they fail, and you are their insured, it could mean that you are subject to a Final Judgment for which you will be personally responsible.
Most insurance companies do the right thing; a few do the wrong thing, either intentionally or inadvertently. When your claim has not been paid timely, you may need a review of the claim and circumstances to determine if you have a claim for bad faith. If you have a viable claim for bad faith and you are the one injured, you may be able to recover more than the at-fault parties’ insurance coverage and actually be compensated for the true, full value of your claim, rather than settling for the lower limits of insurance.
If you are the person being sued and the insurance company has failed to settle the claim against you timely, you may be able to protect yourself and your family from financial ruin, by asserting a bad faith claim or assigning your rights to make the claim. You may need to consult an attorney that is not paid by the insurance company, to make sure you and your family’s assets are protected.
If you are an attorney handling a claim that you believe may be affected by bad faith, call or click to schedule a conference call to discuss whether you have a viable bad faith claim, or what steps you need to take to make sure that you have properly brought such a claim. If you are interested in expert witness testimony on bad faith, call or schedule a conference call or appointment to discuss your case with President, and Senior Trial Attorney, Tammy de Soto Cicchetti.