Under Florida law, all motorists are required to maintain a base level of insurance coverage in order to legally operate a motor vehicle. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that, in the event a motorist causes a Florida car accident resulting in serious injuries or death, the motorist has sufficient assets to cover the costs incurred by the accident victim.
Insurance companies, however, are for-profit businesses, and like other businesses, they rely on making a profit to stay in business. This means that insurance companies must take in more money each month in monthly premiums than they pay out in settled claims. As a result, insurance adjusters are trained to settle claims for as little a sum of money as possible. In some cases, insurance adjusters have taken advantage of less-than-savvy accident victims who may not know what their claim is worth. A recent case illustrates one court’s unwillingness to enforce a settlement agreement that it determined was unfair.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was a passenger in a friend’s car when she was involved in a car accident. Police cited both the plaintiff’s friend as well as the other driver. After the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in her neck and side.
An adjuster with the other motorist’s insurance company visited the plaintiff to discuss her injuries and the potential of settling her claim. The plaintiff, who suffered from an intellectual disability and had never dealt with insurance issues in the past, ended up agreeing to settle her claim for $3,500, including all medical expenses. Later, the plaintiff was able to increase that amount to $8,500. However, as it turns out, the plaintiff’s medical expenses were closer to $400,000.
The plaintiff sought to set aside the settlement agreement, arguing that she was subject to undue influence when presented with the agreement. The plaintiff claimed that the insurance adjuster took advantage of her susceptibility to being persuaded.
The court agreed with the plaintiff and permitted her case to proceed toward trial. The court explained that the plaintiff was someone who was indeed susceptible to undue influence, and knowing that the plaintiff’s medical expenses were far greater than the proposed settlement amount, the adjuster pressured her into accepting it. The court acknowledged that there was some question about the parties’ knowledge of the plaintiff’s injuries at the time, but it ultimately held that the exact extent of the injuries was immaterial to the plaintiff’s undue influence claim.
Are You Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Florida car accident and are currently dealing with a difficult insurance company, the law firm of Friedman, Rodman & Frank may be able to help. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we have represented Florida car accident victims in thousands of cases spanning several decades. We understand both the substantive and procedural laws that govern these claims, and we put our advanced knowledge behind each of our clients’ cases. Call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims in Florida, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 21, 2017.
Additur and Remittur: A Judge’s Ability to Adjust a Jury’s Verdict in Florida, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published March 5, 2018.