Bad faith is a legal term for fraud or dishonesty in a transaction. It applies when an insurance company breaches its duty or the insurance contract. A bad faith claim can be related to a personal injury, property damage, health insurance, intentional torts, or a car insurance claim.
Florida Regulates Insurance Companies
The Florida legislature enacted statutes that strictly govern how insurance companies operate within the state. Florida statute §624.155 allows you to file a civil action against an insurance company if the company causes you damage.
Therefore, if you pay your insurance premiums and adhere to the contract terms, the insurance company should pay claims according to the policy. The insurance company also has a duty to investigate claims promptly. The investigation should be fair.
If you believe an insurance company is acting in bad faith, talk with our Clearwater bad faith claims lawyers immediately. You could have a cause of action that will compensate you for the losses and damages caused by the insurance company’s bad faith practices.
Signs That an Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
Insurance companies always protect their best interests. Therefore, they try to limit liability for claims. However, some actions cross the line into bad faith practices.
The Florida Unfair Insurance Trade Practices Act requires that insurance companies act in good faith when handling claims. It also addresses several instances of bad faith.
Examples of bad faith insurance practices include, but are not limited to:
- Failing to conduct a prompt review and investigation of a claim
- Denying an insurance claim without investigating the claim
- Intentionally undervaluing a claim
- Misleading a person about the insurance coverage or policy terms
- Failing to respond to communications from the claimant or their representative within a reasonable period
- Discriminates against a specific class of individuals when issuing insurance policies
- Reduces the value of a claim without explanation
- Requests unnecessary information or documents to delay a claim or payment
- Denies a claim without providing the reason for the denial
- Intentionally misleads someone regarding the law
- Pressures a person not to consult with a personal injury lawyer or insurance claims attorney
- Engages in tactics that delay the investigation or payment of a claim
- Makes misrepresentations to intimidate someone and coerce them into accepting a low settlement offer
- Retroactively canceling an insurance policy after someone files a claim
Bad faith insurance practices take many forms. It can be challenging to tell when an insurance company is using strong-arm tactics and when it crosses over into bad faith. The best way to know if you have a bad faith claim is to talk to our Clearwater bad faith insurance attorneys during a free consultation.
When Can an Insurance Company Deny a Claim in Good Faith?
The insurance company might have a valid reason for denying your insurance claim. Examples of reasons why an insurance company might deny an injury claim include:
- Failing to file a claim before the deadline expired
- Not paying your insurance premiums on time
- Failing to provide the information and documents necessary to process and investigate the claim
- The insurance policy does not cover the risk or accident
- There is a dispute regarding causation and liability for your injury and damages
The insurance company should provide a written explanation for the denial. If not, it could indicate that the company is acting in bad faith.
What Types of Damages Can I Include in a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
You might wonder how much a bad faith insurance claim is worth in Florida. The value of your claim depends on the facts of your case. Factors that impact the value of your case include:
- The nature of the insurance company’s conduct
- Additional damages you sustained because of a delayed or denied payment
- Whether the company’s actions impacted your health
- The time you invested in pursuing the claim and trying to get the insurance company to process the claim
- The emotional distress and suffering caused by the bad faith actions
A bad faith insurance claim can include compensation for economic damages. These damages represent the financial losses you incurred because of the company’s actions. Examples of economic damages include:
- Lost wages if you missed work because of the bad faith practices
- Reimbursement for costs you paid that should have been included in the claim
- Interest charges for any amounts you paid
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Property damage caused by a delay in making repairs
An insurance company could sometimes be liable for non-economic damages caused by their bad faith practices. These damages could include emotional distress, anxiety, and other damage to your well-being or health.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Clearwater Personal Injury Lawyers
We understand how insurance companies investigate and process claims. Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive knowledge of Florida’s insurance laws and personal injury laws.
Let us help you get the money you deserve after a personal injury or accident. Call our law firm at (727) 787-2500 to schedule your free case evaluation with an experienced Clearwater personal injury attorney.