In a case decided earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Florida upheld a jury’s $1 million verdict against an insurance company after it was determined that the insurance company acted in bad faith in not paying out on the plaintiff’s meritorious claim.
Fridman v. Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois: The Facts of the Case
The case arose after a 2007 accident involving the plaintiff and an uninsured motorist. In the wake of the accident, the plaintiff discovered that the other driver did not have insurance and sought to collect reimbursement for medical expenses and property damage from his own insurance company, Safeco. However, Safeco initially denied the claim and then failed to respond to any of the plaintiff’s attempts to follow up with the claim.
Eventually, the plaintiff filed a case against Safeco, citing the company’s bad faith in failing to settle the claim. Once that claim was filed, Safeco issued the plaintiff a payment of $50,000, which was the upper policy limit of the plaintiff’s uninsured motorist coverage. The plaintiff refused the settlement and opted to let the jury decide what the claim was worth. After a jury trial, the plaintiff was awarded an amount of $1 million.
The defendant asked the court to consider its $50,000 offer as settling the claim, and to prevent the plaintiff from putting the case before the jury. The court denied the defendant’s request, and the defendant appealed.
On the initial appeal, the court found in favor of the defendant and struck the jury’s verdict in favor of the $50,000 settlement amount. However, the plaintiff then filed an appeal to the highest state court.
On appeal in front of the Florida Supreme Court, the case was again reversed, this time in favor of the plaintiff. The court determined that the plaintiff was entitled to submit his bad-faith claim to the jury in light of the surrounding circumstances. The exact details of the court’s decision were complex, and there were other grounds beyond the scope of this post. However, the end result is that the plaintiff’s bad-faith jury verdict is now much more likely to remain intact.
Dealing with Insurance Companies after an Accident
Dealing with insurance companies in the wake of a serious accident can be a real headache. Whether it be an outright denial of coverage or an offer for compensation that is far below what is fair, insurance companies are not working in an accident victim’s best interest. It is therefore very important that anyone involved in a serious accident seek out counsel of their own to assist them through the recovery process.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Car Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Florida car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Do not be fooled by the insurance companies and the smooth-talkers they employ to tell you that your claim is worth less than it really is. Contact a dedicated attorney at the renowned personal injury law firm of Cecere Santana at 800-753-5529 to set up a free consultation with a skilled and compassionate injury attorney. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part unless we can help you recover compensation.
More Blog Posts:
Little League Association Found Not To Be Liable for Injury Occurring on Baseball Field, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 25, 2016.
Drunk Driving on South Florida Roads, Cecere Santana Injury Lawyers Blog, published February 9, 2016.