As a business or professional, you probably have some type of general liability insurance. You expect your insurance company to have your back in case you face possible financial responsibility for a civil claim. However, some insurers deny their policyholders a defense so they can spend as little as possible.
Insurers are obligated to protect their policyholders if they’ve had a claim filed against them. When they deny their policyholders a strong defense for a viable claim, then they are acting in bad faith. It’s important that these companies are held responsible and you receive the defense your business or reputation deserves.
If you or someone you know has had their defense denied by their liability insurance, then it’s imperative you contact an experienced insurance claims attorney.
Tampa Attorney Explains Denied Defense in Florida
Did your insurance company recently deny you a defense you were entitled to? If so, it’s highly advised you seek legal action. Being without a defense in a civil claims could cost you and your business dearly. You could find yourself burdened with court costs, attorney’s fees, and still be liable for financially compensating the plaintiff.
That is why it’s advised you contact Germain Law Group, P.A.. Michael B. Germain is an experienced insurance claims lawyer who has assisted numerous people with their liability insurance claims. He can negotiate with insurers and collect evidence why the denial was in bad faith. Call Germain Law Group, P.A. now at (813) 835-8888 to schedule a free consultation.
Germain Law Group, P.A. represents people throughout the greater Tampa area and surrounding cities including Brandon, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, New Port Richey and Temple Terrace.
Overview of Denied Defense in Florida
- The Insurer’s Duty to Defend
- Bad Faith Actions by Insurance Companies
- What Can I Recover from a Bad Faith Lawsuit?
- Additional Resources
The Insurer’s Duty to Defend
Most liability insurance companies have two obligations. One is to pay the damages or settlement that the insured is obligated to pay as a result of a claim or a suit. The second obligation is they must defend the policyholder if there’s a lawsuit in which they are liable.
In a general liability policy, you are protected from most tort-related lawsuits such as premise liability or personal injury. What you’re specifically covered under depends on your policy.
Under Section 627.4137 of the Florida Statutes, it’s established that liability insurance companies are subject to certain disclosure requirements by law. If a lawsuit covered in the policy is filed against the insured, then the insurer has an obligation to defend. This is also referred to as the insurer’s duty to defend.
Unfortunately, it’s common to see big insurance companies deny their policyholders a defense. They may state the claim isn’t included in your policy or that there’s no possibility of the suit being covered by your current policy. When this happens, it’s recommended you seek legal counsel. Your company could be intentionally denying you a defense so they can make a profit from your policy.
Bad Faith Actions by Insurance Companies
Insurance companies who intentionally breach their contracts by denying you a defense to a viable claim are acting in bad faith. A bad faith action is when an insurance company conducts deceptive practices such as unreasonable delays or avoiding phone calls to avoid upholding it’s express or implied duties to the insured. If your insurance company refuses to defend you or pay defense costs, then you may be able to file a bad faith claim against them.
Insurers who are found to have acted in bad faith can be held liable for damages. For instance, if your insurance companies denied you a defense and hardly investigated your claim, then the denied defense could be in bad faith. Liability companies must thoroughly examine your claim to see if it’s covered in your policy. Even if on the surface the case doesn’t seem applicable.
It’s important you review your policy before making any major decisions. If you breached the contract yourself, then you might be stuck with the court costs from your bad faith claim and the initial lawsuit that your insurance denied defense for. Insurers who are accused of acting in bad faith may be evaluated on:
- Whether they were able to obtain a reservation of the right to deny coverage;
- How long it took for them to respond to the claim;
- Any possible delays caused by the insurer;
- Efforts and measurers taken by the insurer to investigate the claim;
- Attempts to limit potential prejudice on the policyholder; and
- If they were responsive over email, phone or other form of communication
What Can I Recover from a Bad Faith Lawsuit?
If you’re successful with your bad faith case, then your insurer will be liable for any damages associated with their actions. This can include judgement costs from the claim you were denied a defense for. You will receive a monetary award that reflects any losses you experienced since the insurance company acted in bad faith. The award may consist of both financial and emotional losses.
Listed below are some damages that may be recovered in a bad faith lawsuit.
- Attorney’s fees;
- Court costs;
- Judgement settlement costs;
- Interest accumulated from the settlement;
- Emotional distress;
- Loss of wages; and
- Loss of consortium
Insurance Laws in Florida – Visit the official website for Online Sunshine, a collection of Florida’s state laws and legislation. Access the site to learn more what liability insurance, what it covers, limits to liability insurance and other types of coverage.
Commercial General Liability Insurance – Visit the official website for the Insurance Information Institute, a non-profit dedicated to spreading informational resources regarding insurance. Access their site to learn about liability insurance, types of liability insurance, other kinds of coverage, and more.
Insurance Lawyer for Denial of Dense in Tampa, Florida
If you’ve paid your premiums on time and your claim is valid, then it’s your insurance company’s job to defend you or cover your defense. Don’t let insurers act in bad faith by refusing to give you what you deserve. Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. now for effective legal representation.
Liability insurance is an incredibly complicated sect of law, and you want someone who knows what they’re doing on your side. Michael B. Germain is an experienced liability insurance lawyer with years in the field. Contact him at (813) 835-8888 to schedule a free consultation now.
Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Hillsborough County area and adjacent counties including Paso County, Pinellas County, Hernando County, and Polk County.
This article was last updated on June 21, 2019.