In Eads v. Allstate Indemnity Co., a Florida woman was permanently injured when the motor vehicle she was traveling in was struck while stopped at a red light in Broward County. The unfortunate car accident apparently hurt at least seven people. Following the collision, the seriously harmed woman and six other individuals filed a personal injury claim against the automobile insurance company that provided liability coverage for the driver who negligently caused the traffic wreck. In response, the insurance company agreed to pay the injured parties a combined total of $20,000. As a result, six of the people who were hurt in the crash received $2,857.
Instead of accepting the settlement offer, the permanently hurt woman filed a lawsuit against the driver who caused the collision and the owner of the automobile in the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County. According to the woman’s complaint, the vehicle owner’s insurance company did not investigate or fully evaluate the various personal injury claims filed in connection with the traffic accident. Instead, the woman alleged the insurer offered her a capricious amount of damages and refused to allow its insured to negotiate a settlement with her. Following trial, a Broward County jury awarded the woman more than $300,000 in damages.
Next, the woman filed a common law and statutory bad faith claim against the auto insurer in the Southern District of Florida. The insurance company then asked the court to dismiss the woman’s statutory bad faith cause of action because she allegedly failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. According to the federal court, a civil pleading is only required to contain a plain statement demonstrating a plaintiff is entitled to relief. In addition, the plaintiff’s claim for relief must be plausible based upon the facts alleged in the complaint. A court considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim must also construe the pleading in the light that is most favorable to the non-moving party.
After examining each of the insurer’s assertions in favor of dismissal, the federal court stated the insurance company’s arguments were unpersuasive. According to the court, the plaintiff’s notice was sufficiently specific, the company’s claim that it could not be required to pay more than the insurance policy’s bodily injury liability limits was contrary to established Florida law, the woman’s claim was not time-barred, and the format of the plaintiff’s amended complaint did not obviate the insurer’s ability to adequately respond to the woman’s claims. Because of this, the Southern District of Florida denied the automobile insurer’s motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s statutory bad faith case.
If you or someone you love was severely hurt in a Florida car crash that was caused by a negligent driver, you need an experienced lawyer on your side to help you protect your rights. To speak with a seasoned personal injury advocate about your traffic wreck today, call the skilled attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank, P.A. at (305) 448-8585 or contact us online.
Eads v. Allstate Indemnity Co., Dist. Court, SD Florida 2014
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