How to Avoid Florida’s Bad Faith Minefield
It starts innocently enough - a seemingly routine “rear-ender” car accident that involves a policyholder wintering in Florida. The claimant driver of the other vehicle quickly seeks medical treatment and attorney representation. Then the attorney sends a time-limit demand for the policy limit, contending his client has multiple bulging discs that will require surgery.
Routine case? Or a potential bad faith bomb about to detonate? In Florida - and in many other parts of the U.S. - a carrier’s conduct will determine whether the claim resolves without incident or instead morphs into a time-intensive and costly bad faith suit.
Florida is unique in that it has no objective bad faith standard, defining it as more than “mere negligence” without calling for a showing of evil intent. As a result, carriers everywhere need to watch for common pitfalls in order to reduce costly bad faith awards. For example:
- What are some of the unique problems posed by “time limit” demand letters and how can a missed deadline and/or failure to meet a key term “open up” the policy limit?
- How can carriers avoid bad faith in a clear-liability case with a likely judgment in excess of a policy limit? Do carriers have an affirmative duty to offer the policy limit in such cases, even in the absence of a demand?
- What are some of the tender traps that might be used to “set up” carriers for bad faith? How should carriers respond when presented with a serious injury case that involves low limits?
We are offering a webinar for Gen Re clients interested in learning more about the bad faith minefield in Florida and ways to avoid it. To learn more about it or to register, please use the following link: Navigating the Bad Faith Minefield.