As a general rule, insurers will act to avoid or otherwise minimize their liabilities under their insurance contract with a policyholder. Sometimes, however, the actions taken by an insurer clearly violate their duty of good faith, and thus give the policyholder an opportunity to sue and recover damages pursuant to a bad faith claim. Actions giving rise to bad faith claims include those that involve unreasonable delays in handling, resolving, and processing an insurance claim submitted by the policyholder.
Bad faith claims can be somewhat confusing for those who are unfamiliar with the push-and-pull typical of many insurance disputes — as such, you’ll likely want professional guidance to help you navigate the challenges and complexities of bad faith litigation. Get in touch with a qualified Miami bad faith insurance lawyer for assistance.
Insurers Have a General Duty to Act in Good Faith
In Florida, insurance companies owe a general duty of good faith towards their policyholders. Essentially, the duty of good faith requires that the insurer act fairly and honestly towards one of their policyholders, with due regard of the interests of the policyholder. In determining whether the insurer acted in bad faith, Florida courts must consider the totality of the circumstances surrounding the unreasonable delay at-issue.
Suppose, for example, that you have submitted a claim, but the insurer continues to delay their decision on whether they will pay. After investigating further, your attorney discovers that the insurer did not properly investigate and evaluate your insurance claim, and further, that they had no intention to do so. Your attorney may also discover that the insurer delayed with the hope of you simply resigning yourself to the possibility of not receiving a payout.
Under these circumstances, the court is almost certain to determine that the insurer acted unfairly and dishonestly towards you, and without due regard to your interests. You would not only be entitled to sue and recover damages pursuant to a bad faith claim, but depending on the egregiousness of the insurer’s conduct, the court may even award punitive damages.
Unreasonable Delays Entitle You to Sue for Bad Faith
What constitutes an unreasonable delay is — again — dependent on the circumstances. If the circumstances justify a delay, then the insurer may be able to avoid bad faith liability. On the other hand, if there is no evidence that can justify the delay, that delay is likely to be considered unreasonable.
Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Miami Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
Here at Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, our attorneys have provided strategic representation to insured policyholders for over two decades, helping to resolve complex insurance disputes, including those that involve bad faith claims.
Ours is one of the few firms across the country that puts a singular focus on insurance coverage issues and disputes, and our specialization and commitment to client-oriented representation has served us well over the years. We have been recognized as a premier law firm by national and regional publications such as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and US News and World Report, and have become the first choice for Florida policyholders involved in high-stakes litigation over an insurance claim.
We have advocated on behalf of individual policyholders, small business policyholders, large corporate policyholders, and various other stakeholders in the insurance process. As such, we are well-positioned to evaluate claims from a variety of perspectives and secure a favorable resolution that is informed by our experiences with a diverse range of clients.
Call (305) 577-3996 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Miami bad faith insurance lawyer here at Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin.Share