Damage in Excess of Policy Limit
The point of having liability insurance is to minimize your financial responsibility if a torts-related claim is filed against you. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will act in bad faith by agreeing to an outrageous settlement or allowing an easily resolved claims issue head to court. Either of these actions can result in your insurance company stating that the damages were in excess of your policy limits. This means you could be stuck with the rest of the bill.
Insurers have a duty to settle claims in good faith if the circumstances allow them to do so. Insurance companies who inadequately investigate your claim and settle quickly could be held liable for damages. If your insurance company refused coverage because it was in excess of their policy limits, then it’s imperative you gain legal representation.
Attorney for Damages in Excess of Policy Limits in Tampa, FL
General liability insurance companies must protect their policyholders by providing the best defense possible. Insurers who don’t evaluate a claim and hire effective counsel could be accused of acting in bad faith, especially if they state the damages were in excess of their policy limits. If you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, then contact Germain Law Group, P.A..
When you’re up against huge insurance companies, you want representation with the right skillset, knowledge and dedication. That is why it’s recommended you contact Michael B. Germain. Attorney Germain has years of experience and can aggressively fight for what you deserve. Call (813) 835-8888 now to set up a free consultation.
Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Hillsborough County area including surrounding counties such as Pinellas County, Polk County, Pasco County and Sarasota County.
Overview of Damages in Excess of Policy Limits
- How Insurers Surpass Policy Limits in Florida
- What Do I Do If my Damages Exceed Policy Limits?
- What Can I Recover If I File a Bad Faith Claim?
- Additional Resources
How Insurers Surpass Policy Limits in Florida
Suppose you’ve had a claim filed against you for a torts-related issue included in your liability policy. You contact your insurance company promptly and expect to sit back while they handle settlement negotiations and defense for you. However, you receive a written statement later stating that the damages that resulted from the claim were in excess of policy limits. What does this mean and how did it happen?
When your insurer informs you that the damages were in excess of policy limits, it means the result of the case surpassed how much your policy is worth. Now, you could be stuck with an expensive settlement or monetary award you didn’t expect. Typically, the reason why the damages exceed your policy limits is because of bad decision making by your insurance company.
It’s your insurance company’s duty to fully investigate the claim filed against you. This requires extensive paperwork, hiring legal counsel, contacting experts and doing whatever’s possible to evaluate the claim. Unfortunately, some insurance companies do not apply some or any of these measures when they’re investigating a claim filed against you.
They may instead try to settle quickly with the plaintiff, which can result in a settlement so large it exceeds your policy limits. Insurers should utilize whatever they have at their disposal to negotiate a reasonable settlement with the plaintiff. If they rush into an agreement, then you could be stuck with a settlement that far reaches your expectations.
Some insurers do the opposite, but the result is relatively the same. The insurance company may continuously deny settlement offers that are fair and reasonable. They may instead push for the issue to go to trial unnecessarily. This can put you in a sticky situation if in the end the damage cost exceeds your policy limits.
What Do I Do If My Damages Exceed Policy Limits?
If you believe your insurance company’s poor decision making is the reason you exceeded policy limits, then you may be able to file a claim against your insurance company. Insurers who act in bad faith can be held liable for their actions in court. The term “in bad faith” refers to when an insurance company refuses to uphold their express or implied duties to their policyholders.
Under §624.155 of the Florida statutes, it states insurance companies must attempt “in good faith to settle claims when, under all circumstances, it could and should have done so, had it acted fairly and honestly toward its insured and with due regard for his interest.” Basically, insurers should utilize everything at their disposal to obtain a reasonable settlement.
Insurance companies who aren’t attentive to their claims could be held in bad faith. It’s their job to thoroughly examine the situation and act in the best interest of the insured. Actions such as settling quickly, frequently denying offers and dragging an easily resolved issue to court can all be considered in bad faith.
You can recover your losses by choosing to file a claim. However, it’s highly advised you seek legal representation to assist you. General liability law can be incredibly confusing, and you don’t want to go into the ordeal blind. Your insurance attorney can evaluate the situation and collect relevant evidence proving why your insurer was in bad faith and that was why your damages exceeded policy limits. If you’re successful, you could be granted monetary compensation for any losses you’ve experienced.
What Can I Recover If I File a Bad Faith Claim?
If you’re able to sway the court, then your insurance company will be held financially responsibility for any damages you endured because of their actions. Damages is a legal term for losses you’ve experienced due to your insurer acting in bad faith. These can incorporate both financial and emotional losses such as judgement costs and mental anguish.
The following are some damages that you could recover in a bad faith lawsuit.
- Attorney’s fees;
- Court costs;
- Settlement amount;
- Interest accumulated from the settlement;
- Emotional distress; and
- Loss of consortium
Insurance Bad Faith: The “Setup Myth” – Visit the official website of the Florida Bar to read an article by Rutledge R. Liles. Access the site to find more information about how insurance carriers set themselves up for failure by acting in bad faith. Learn the history behind bad faith actions, why jurors don’t believe insurance companies, and a checklist of actions that insurance companies could do to avoid acting in bad faith.
Florida Policy Disclosure Laws – Visit the official website of the Florida Statues to learn more about policy disclosure laws. Access the site to see what an insurer must disclose if asked in writing such as their policy limits and how many days they must respond.
Lawyer for Damages in Excess of Policy Limit in Hillsborough County, FL
The point of having insurance is so you can avoid financial responsibility in case of a lawsuit. However, if your insurer is acting in bad faith the only person who will be losing money in this situation will be you. If your insurer stated your damages were in excess of policy limits, then contact Germain Law Group, P.A..
Michael B. Germain is a skilled insurance lawyer who understands the complexities of liability law. He can assist you through quality legal service and help you get what you deserve. Contact us now at (813) 835-8888 and set up a free consultation. Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Tampa area and surrounding cities including Brandon, Bradenton, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater.
This article was last updated on June 21, 2019.