My Insurance Company Failed to Settle my Claim, Now I'm Liable. What Can I do?

April 5, 2012

Neptune Beach Personal Injury AttorneyEveryone pays Insurance Company's high policy premiums in exchange for protection when the unfortunate accident occurs. However, one's insurance company does not always act in their client's best interest. In that case, the client might have a viable Neptune Beach Bad Faith Claim. A Neptune Beach Bad Faith Claim is against your insurance company that has failed to pay the full policy limit to a serious injury victim that was justified in receiving that amount.

There are several aspects to a bad faith claim. The accident victim, the policyholder or the party at fault, can file a bad faith claim. The reason for such diversity in a bad faith claim is that if a case goes to trial and the victim is awarded more than the policy limit, the individual becomes responsible for the amount over their limit. This is only the case when the insurance company should have settled before trial, but refused to do so. Florida Statute § 624.155(b)1-- allows a bad faith claim to be filed when an insurance company fails to settle when under all circumstances it should have done in fairness to its client (policyholder).

Even with this Florida Statute on the books, many times an individual will have trouble when trying to collect from insurance companies. The most common case where this occurs is when there was severe bodily injury and the insurance company refuses to pay the policy limit. Insurance policies differ from person to person and company to company. For example one policy might state a limit of $10,000/$20,000; this means $10,000 per injury victim and $20,000 per incident. Therefore, if a victim is claiming $9,000 in justifiable damages, it is in the company's and policyholder's best interest to settle the case below the policy limit.

Another procedure that should be followed before filing a Neptune Beach Bad Faith claim is to have a Civil Remedy Notice entered with the Florida Department of Financial Services. This will put the insurance on notice of a potential Neptune Beach Bad Faith claim. This should encourage the company to settle for the amount disputed to avoid the risk of an additional lawsuit. If the Civil Remedy Notice is entered and the victim wins, they can recover damages in excess of the policy limits and the insurance company will have to pay the entire amount and NOT the policyholder.

When dealing with insurance companies it can become time consuming and not always favorable to an unrepresented Neptune Beach injury victim. The insurance company is against you; their goal is to pay out as little as possible. That is why it's so important to contact a Neptune Beach Personal Injury Attorney early on to make sure your rights are being protected and to get you adequately compensated for your injuries. However, if your insurance did not settle a claim and now you are liable for the remainder, contact a Neptune Beach Bad Faith Attorney to discuss your case and potential avenues for recovery.