Florida lawmakers proposed HB 427 last year in an attempt to “rein in plaintiff’s attorney’s attempts to trap insurance claims adjusters in bad faith situations.” The bill, which failed in the House Judiciary Committee would have required plaintiffs attorneys to give insurance companies a sixty day written notice stating that they intended to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company. Insurance attorneys have stated that bath faith claims arise when “a plaintiff’s attorney sends a policy limits demand to an insured containing a unilaterally-imposed deadline, typically ten days, for the insurer to pony up its policy limits under threat of a bad faith action against it if an excess judgment is obtained.” Insurance defense attorneys claim these demands do not give the adjuster adequate time to evaluate the claims and the demands contain little, if any of the needed information.
The failed bill states, “As a condition precedent to bringing an action either under this section or based on the common law claim of bad faith, the department and the authorized insurer must be given 60 days written notice of the violation. If the department returns a notice for lack of specificity, the 60 day time period shall not begin until a proper notice is filed.”
The notice to the insurance company would have had to contain:
1) The statutory provision or common law duty, including the statutory language, violated by the insurer.
2) A description of the facts and circumstances causing the violation and the amount of money the insurer failed to pay.
3) The names of persons involved in the violation.
4) The policy language relevant to the violation unless the action is brought by a third party claimant, then it shall not be required to reference the specific policy language if the insurer has not provided a copy of the policy pursuant to written request.
5) A statement the notice is given in order to perfect the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this section or by the common law.
The bill proposed that if any damages were paid out in regards to bad faith allegations within 60 days notice of the filing, “no action can be pursued and the insured is entitled to a general release from the claimant upon the insurer’s tender of the demanded amount in the notice or the applicable policy limits.”
As mentioned, the bill failed in the House Judiciary Committee and will not go into effect. Plaintiff’s attorneys are free to file a bad faith claim against insurers at any time and make demands within the confines of their clients’ policies.
Florida Lawmakers Attempt to Rein in ‘Bad Faith Set-Ups’, www.claimsjournal.com January 30, 2012.
The House’s decision to knock down the bill is a victory for all personal injury victims. The Broward personal injury attorneys understand the confines of the existing laws and can help you recover the compensation you deserve from the insurance companies. The attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona are expert automobile accident attorneys who have over twenty years of experience dealing with insurance companies. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and the insurance companies are giving you the run around, call the Fort Lauderdale motor vehicle accident attorneys at (305) 661-2008 today for your free consultation.
The Miami motor vehicle accident attorneys at the Friedland | Carmona handle all types of motor vehicle accidents throughout the state of Florida, including Boca Raton, Homestead, North Miami, South Miami, Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pembroke Pines, Hialeah, Kendall, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach. The Friedland | Carmona handles all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death, defective products, medical malpractice, slip and falls and construction site injuries. Call today and let our family take care of your family!