Insurance companies can be difficult to deal with. Whether it is an aggressive representative trying to get an accident victim to settle a case for a low-ball amount or a claims adjuster denying a seemingly valid request for compensation, insurance companies are not known for their customer service. In fact, in many cases people have to turn to the courts to enforce their own insurance policy against the insurance company. That is exactly what happened in a recent case in front of the Florida Supreme Court.
In the case, Fridman v. Safeco Insurance Company of Illinois, the plaintiff was hit by an underinsured motorist and turned to his own insurance company, Safeco, for help. However, Safeco denied the plaintiff’s claim. After continuing to try and get a response for several years, the plaintiff finally filed a lawsuit against Safeco, compelling them to deal with the claim. The lawsuit was filed pursuant to a statute that allowed for recovery in excess of the policy limit.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Safeco sent the plaintiff a check for $50,000 in an attempt to pay out the claim. However, at this point the plaintiff rejected the check, and opted to have a jury determine how much he was entitled to. The case proceeded to trial, where a jury awarded the plaintiff $1 million. Safeco appealed to the intermediate appellate court, which reversed the lower court’s opinion, and held that the $50,000 check given to the plaintiff was, in effect, a settlement that prevented the case from proceeding toward trial. The plaintiff then appealed to the Florida Supreme Court.
The Florida Supreme Court reversed the intermediate appellate court, and remanded the case back to the intermediate court to rule on other issues not present in this appeal. In so doing, the Florida Supreme Court explained that holding otherwise would allow for insurance companies to “game the system” by making a plaintiff wait for a settlement, and go through the additional expenses of preparing for litigation that was likely never going to occur.
The takeaway from the case is that insurance companies do not always act in the best interest of their customers, and sometimes accident victims need to seek dedicated counsel to help them deal with these frustrating companies.
Have You Been in a Florida Accident?
If you have recently been involved in any kind of Florida car or truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for all that you have been through. You may be eligible for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, decrease in future earning capacity, as well as for any pain and suffering you sustained as a result of the accident. Call the Florida personal injury law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank today at 877-448-8585 to set up a free consultation with an experienced attorney who can help you evaluate your case.
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Florida Appeals Court Holds Section 57.105 Does Not Entitle Defendant to Privileged Information, February 25, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog
Florida Hearing Indicates Takata Concealed Evidence of Airbag Defect, February 22, 2016, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog