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When you pay premiums for various forms of insurance to cover any liability you may have, you expect the insurance company to step in and take care of matters when you are sued, and to avoid paying above your policy limit. Sometimes that means negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff. However, if your insurer fails to engage in good faith efforts to settle the suit when they have the opportunity, it may leave you on the hook for major liability.
Your insurer has a legal duty to make every effort to keep you from having the pay out a judgment against you. If they fail to do so, and you wind up owing money, call the Tampa failure to defend lawyers at the Germain Law Group. We're take on insurance companies who fail to fulfill their duties. Call us today at (813) 835-8888 to schedule a consultation.
We serve clients throughout Central Florida, including Pinellas, Hillsborough, Brevard and Manatee Counties.
Florida Insurance Covering Liability
All drivers are required under Florida law to at least carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers you in case you get into an accident for which you are legally at fault. In such an accident, the injured person will likely sue. Liability insurance is supposed to cover the costs of the injured person in what that person would normally get in a lawsuit against you: medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.
Additionally, many homeowners and business owners carry insurance that covers any accidents that occur on their premises. For example, if a homeowner invited a guest and did not warn about a hole in the ground, and the guest fell and injured himself, the homeowner would likely be liable for that guest's injuries. Like liability insurance for motor vehicles, the insurance policy would cover that guest's damages.
The insurance policy will have a policy limit, and you will be covered for all costs and damages up to that limit. If the injured person's damages exceed that policy limit, you are personally liable for the excess amount.
Duty to Defend by Central Florida Insurers
When you carry any kind of insurance policy that covers your liability, including professional malpractice insurance, and a person sues you, the insurance company has a duty to step in and defend you. In addition to the basic premise that they are required to defend, they are required to do so in a way that best represents your best interests.
Your best interests means that you do not have to pay for anything beyond your policy limit. If the insurance company has an opportunity to settle for less than the policy limit, under most circumstances, it should take that opportunity so that you are not forced to pay.
Breach of Duty to Defend in Tampa
The insurance company is supposed to look out for your best interests. However, much of the time an insurance company's primary concern is its own bottom line. Instead of agreeing to a settlement, the insurance company may think it can risk going to court. When the company loses, the verdict could wind up being many times what the settlement would have been, and far over your policy limit, sticking you with the bill.
When that happens, your insurance company may have breached its contract with you. A Tampa insurance bad faith lawyer can help you take on your insurance company. You may be able to recover all costs and attorney fees that result from your insurance company's failure to property defend you.
Germain Law Group | Central Florida Failure to Settle Attorney
If you faced a lawsuit your insurance policy was supposed to cover, and they failed to take a settlement and then left you with a big judgment that went beyond your policy, you may have the option to recover. Call the Tampa failure to defend lawyers at Germain Law Group today. Call (813) 835-8888 to set up a consultation.