Defining Bad Faith
In accordance with the law, insurance companies are obligated to maintain good faith practices with policyholders while providing them with insurance service. When you file an insurance claim for a covered incident, such as home insurance, auto insurance or health insurance, you expect to have your insurer treat you fairly. The duty of good faith and fair dealing requires an insurance company to treat its policyholders reasonably and according to the policyholder’s best interests.
Examples of Insurance Bad Faith
Corless Barfield Trial Group attorneys have successfully prosecuted many bad faith insurance claims, including ones in which the insurance company:
- Intentionally misinterpreted or inaccurately represented their own policy to minimize the cost of the claim.
- Failed to conduct a prompt and complete investigation.
- Denied a claim without giving a reason.
- Engaged in “low ball” tactics, where insurers offered less money than the claim was worth.
- Refused to pay a valid claim.
- Used abusive or malicious litigation tactics.
- Refused reasonable requests for documentation.
- Canceled the policy as the consequence of making a claim when the insured was not at fault.
If you’ve experienced dishonest dealing by your insurance company, you should speak to a bad faith insurance lawyer at Corless Barfield Trial Group. Call us at 813-258-4998 for a free consultation. As a Florida policyholder, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company if it acts in bad faith.
We are a trial law firm. We prepare every case as if a trial will be necessary and we have the resources, experts, and experience to handle the most complex insurance bad faith claims. We have won historic verdicts against big insurance companies and hold them accountable for their failure to fulfill their duties.
Policy Language & Punitive Damages
When an insurer acts in bad faith, it can be held accountable in court and may be required to pay significant money damages. If an insurer loses its battle to deny your claim, a second lawsuit can be filed for bad faith, under Florida Statute 624.155. If, during the second lawsuit, the Court finds evidence of a general business practice associated with the insurer’s improper acts, you may also seek punitive damages.
For example, Corless Barfield recently moved from a traditional bad faith claim to a punitive damages case after its investigation revealed that the insurer’s conduct had occurred more than 50 other times, making the claim more than just a single act by a rogue claims adjuster. By demonstrating that the process was baked into their claims process to lower aggregate claim payments, the Court permitted us to ask a jury to “punish” the insurer by making them pay a large number out of its own pocket. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter the insurer’s future conduct, with their awareness that the insurer will have to answer for its choices.
Given the downside to an insurance company losing a bad faith case and the likelihood of owing punitive damages, insurance companies tend to be especially ferocious in their defense of the cases filed. By working with an experienced bad faith lawyer, with tons of relevant experience, you can get the legal advice you need to determine if you have a case and figure out how to proceed.
Corless Barfield Trial Group is open 365 days a year. We are dedicated to assisting the injured against bad faith insurance companies.