Personal Injury Video Law Tip
“An insurance company has three duties to its insured. The first one is to indemnify you, meaning pay out up to your policy limits that you purchase. The next is to provide you a defense, meaning hire attorneys to defend you if you’re sued, and the last one is to negotiate in good faith, and so they need to reasonably assess your claim and to make reasonable settlement offers.”
– Bill Abel
Additional Information about your Florida car accident claim and what legal obligation an insurance company owes you
The responsibilities an insurance company has to you regarding your Florida car accident claim are governed by Florida law and your insurance policy (which is a contract between you and the insurance company). I suggest that you review your insurance policy. It might not be fun, but you will definitely learn a few things that could save you a lot of money if you get injured (or injure someone else) in a car crash.
Both the insurance company and you have responsibilities to one another. You, as the insured, have three primary responsibilities.
- You must be truthful in your representations
- pay your premiums on time
- cooperate with any accident investigation.
The insurance company also has responsibilities to you.
Assuming that you have been injured in an accident like a car crash, the most important responsibility is that they negotiate with you in good faith. It doesn’t matter whether the insurance company is your insurance company or the person’s who injured you, all insurance companies have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith. If an insurance company fails to negotiate in good faith, they can get in trouble. The way that they get in trouble is that the insurance company’s policy limits might no longer apply to your case. As a result, the insurance company might be required to pay you more than the limits in your policy.
The process is complex and it differs as to whether the insurance company negotiating in “bad faith” is your insurance company or the peson’s who injured you. In a nutshell, the process is as follows:
- you have an injury from a car accident
- the other driver has a $10,000 bodily injury policy and the insurance company does not think you are hurt and offers only $2,500
- If you take your case to trial and the jury awards you $50,000, then there will be second lawsuit
- In that second lawsuit you now claim the insurance company acted in “bad faith” during the negotiations over your injuries because, under the circumstances, the insurance company should have paid you their entire $10,000 policy limit
- There might be a second trial as to whether the insurance company acted in “bad faith” or not. If that second jury decides there was “bad faith,” then the insurance company must pay the $40,000 that is in excess of their insurance policy limits
This is a very complex area of the law and there are attorneys who specialize in “bad faith” litigation, but this potential excess exposure is how an insurance company can get “in trouble” if they do not negotiated in good faith.
Personal injury law video number 100033: For my Florida car accident claim, what legal obligation does insurance company owe me?