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Florida Plaintiff’s Bad-Faith Claim against Insurance Company Upheld on Appeal

Earlier this month, the Florida Supreme Court issued an opinion upholding a trial court’s ruling in favor of a plaintiff who filed a bad-faith claim against his insurance company after the insurance company initially refused to settle the plaintiff’s claim. In doing so, the court reversed the intermediate appellate court, which had held that the insurance company’s after-the-fact confession of judgment was binding against the plaintiff.

car-wrecked-845143_960_720Fridman v. Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois: The Facts

The accident giving rise to the case occurred in 2007, and involved the plaintiff and an underinsured motorist. Because the at-fault motorist was not adequately insured at the time of the accident, the plaintiff filed a claim with his own insurance company, under the “underinsured motorist” provision of the policy.

Initially, the insurance company failed to pay the claim. The plaintiff followed up, and by 2009 he had still not received a response. He then filed a bad-faith claim against the company pursuant to a state statute. The specific statute at issue allowed for an award to be issued in excess of the policy limit. However, the plaintiff still offered to settle the case for $50,000. The insurance company did not respond.

Finally, in 2011, the insurance company provided the plaintiff with a $50,000 check. However, this time the plaintiff rejected the check and opted to allow a jury to determine what amount the insurance company owed. The case went to trial, and a jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $1 million. The insurance company appealed on several grounds. Specifically important to this case, it argued that the $50,000 check it offered to the plaintiff was a valid pay-out on the claim, and thus precluded the lawsuit.

On appeal, the intermediate court agreed with the insurance company, but the plaintiff appealed that ruling to the Florida Supreme Court. Ultimately, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, and held that the jury’s verdict should stand in light of the history of the claim. However, because the insurance company presented the intermediate court with several issues, and the court only ruled on one of them, the case was remanded back to that court so that it could analyze the other issues presented.

Have You Been Involved in a Florida Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a Florida car accident, it is likely you know how difficult it can be to work with insurance companies. The skilled personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith have ample experience dealing with insurance companies in all kinds of car and truck accidents. They understand what motivates an insurance company and how to get the most out of their clients’ claims. Call 954-431-8100 today to set up a free consultation with a dedicated personal injury advocate at the Florida-based law firm of Cohn & Smith.

Related Blog Posts:

Insurer’s Doctor in Florida Uninsured Motorist Lawsuit Did Not Have to Reveal Financial Information Concerning Frequency of His Work for Insurer or its Attorneys, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, May 4, 2015.

Federal Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court Judgment and Rules Against Firearms Manufacturer in Products Liability Lawsuit, South Florida Injury Attorney Blog, March 4, 2016.

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