Insurance is big business, and insurance companies have significant resources to fight back against claims of bad faith. These are claims that the insurance company put its own profit concerns above the interests of policyholders.
Because the insurance industry is so profitable, and because forcing an insurance company to cover a policyholder’s losses may not do enough to discourage future bad actions, some policyholders are allowed under Florida law to hold insurers accountable for punitive damages. These are meant to punish the insurance company for wrongdoing.
In Florida, litigation involving claims of insurance bad faith is governed by the civil remedy statute. This is a complex area of law, and policyholders are generally not in a position to handle bad faith claims without the help of an experienced insurance attorney. However, bad faith litigation is often necessary to resolve insurance disputes.
Insurance litigation is different than other kinds of civil litigation in that an attorney for a policyholder cannot simply file a claim against the insurer if the insurer refuses to pay. The civil remedy statute establishes a specific process for resolving this kind of dispute.
To pursue punitive damages against an insurer, you as a policyholder must first show that the insurer should have covered the underlying claim. Punitive damages may then be awarded if there is proof that, for example, the insurer failed to defend you against a lawsuit, investigate your denied claim or properly settle your claim.
At Ver Ploeg & Lumpkin, P.A., we help businesses and individuals resolve bad faith insurance disputes. Our insurance law website has more on our areas of practice.Share