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Overview of Florida's bad faith statute

Like several other states, Florida has a law on its books which allows West Palm Beach residents to sue their insurance companies for bad faith under certain circumstances.

Under this law, a resident can obtain compensation for damages from the insurance company in the event the company engages in techniques like improperly denying or delaying the payment of a valid insurance claim. Among other things, the statue also applies to situations in which an insurance company insists on trying a case even though settlement is clearly the better option.

A customer can get damages in these situations even if it turns there would have been no need for the insurance company to pay under the terms of the policy; a customer's damages can also exceed the policy's stated limits.

Furthermore, Florida's law allows victims of bad faith insurance practices to obtain their costs, including their attorney fees, from the insurance company. Punitive damages may also be available in certain limited circumstances.

Although this law benefits the customers of Florida's insurance companies in a variety of ways, it is important to note that several requirements and other matters need to be attended to before a victim of an unscrupulous insurance company can hope to get damages under this law.

One of the most important steps is that the insurance company has to be given, via a formal notice process, the opportunity to correct its actions. The company will have 60 days to do so once it gets the required notice.

A bad faith claim can be an important step for a Florida resident to take if he or she is not being treated fairly by an insurance company. However, doing so can be a complicated legal process. For this reason, having the help of an experienced attorney may be advisable.

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Reid Burman Lebedeker
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