One state’s supreme court recently published a decision affirming a district court’s ruling in favor of the defendant in a personal injury claim. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant, an insurance company that represented the other driver involved in an accident, had unreasonably rejected her initial claim for damages related to injuries that she suffered in an auto accident. The state supreme court ultimately decided that the defendant had reasonable grounds to challenge the plaintiff’s claim because there were conflicting accounts of the accident itself, as well as the source of the injuries the plaintiff claimed to have suffered in the crash. Although the high court affirmed the ruling favoring the defendant concerning the plaintiff’s bad-faith claim, the plaintiff may still be entitled to compensation from the defendant for her injuries.
The Plaintiff’s Vehicle Is Struck by Another in the Parking Lot of an Apartment Complex
The plaintiff in the case of Holloway v. Direct General Insurance Company is a woman who was involved in an accident with a driver who was insured by the defendant. According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the plaintiff and the other driver gave conflicting accounts of the accident, and police were never called to report on the crash. Although the accident occurred at a low speed, and the damage to the vehicles was relatively minor, the plaintiff allegedly suffered serious injuries from the crash. The plaintiff made a claim with the defendant for $125,000 in damages suffered in the accident.
The Defendant Disputed the Insured Was Responsible for the Collision and Denied the Plaintiff’s Claim
Based on the conflicting accounts of the accident, the defendant denied that the driver it insured was legally responsible for the injuries allegedly suffered by the plaintiff in the crash and eventually denied the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant to obtain the compensation requested in her initial claim, and she also requested additional damages from the defendant, alleging that the defendant unreasonably denied her claim and acted with bad faith.
In response to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, the defendant denied that the insured driver was responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and argued that the plaintiff’s bad-faith claim was inappropriate because conflicting accounts of the accident raised the issue of liability and justified the rejection of the plaintiff’s claim. The district court granted summary judgment to the defendant on the plaintiff’s bad-faith claim, finding that the defendant was justified to challenge the plaintiff’s request for damages.
The State Supreme Court Agrees with the District Court’s Rejection of the Plaintiff’s Bad-Faith Claim
The plaintiff appealed the district court’s decision to the state supreme court, but the high court refused to reverse the district court’s ruling. Since each driver offered differing accounts of the accident, and police were not called to the scene to evaluate which driver was at fault, the supreme court found that the defendant was reasonable to reject the plaintiff’s initial claim and force her to bring the case to court. Although the plaintiff will not receive compensation from the defendant for her bad-faith claim, she may be entitled to compensation for the injuries she suffered in the accident if she proves her case at trial or if a settlement is later reached.
Auto Accident Victims Should Contact Law Enforcement Even After a Minor Accident
Injuries suffered in a Florida auto accident are not always felt immediately after a crash. Accident victims may be reluctant to call the police after what initially feels like a harmless fender-bender, but a police report can be one of the most useful pieces of evidence for a plaintiff attempting to collect damages for an injury that becomes apparent days or weeks after an accident occurs. Accident victims should always play it safe and contact a law enforcement agency to make a report of an accident immediately after it occurs to preserve their right to recover damages for injuries or losses caused by the crash.
Should You Contact a South Florida Accident Attorney?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to damages through a South Florida personal injury lawsuit. Whether law enforcement was called after a crash or not, the Miami accident attorneys at Friedman, Rodman & Frank may be able to assist you in seeking compensation for your injuries. Our experienced accident lawyers know how insurance companies operate, and we are dedicated to helping our clients pursue the awards that they deserve. At Friedman, Rodman & Frank, we represent clients in auto accident and other negligence claims in the Miami metropolitan area and throughout South Florida. Contact us to set up a no-obligation consultation at no cost to you. Call us toll-free at 877-448-8585 or use our web-based form to get started on your claim today.
More Blog Posts:
Federal Court Refuses to Impose Sanctions Against Pharmacy for Destruction of Evidence in Prescription Error Lawsuit, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published October 4, 2016.
Court Upholds Verdict in Icy Road Car Accident Case, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published September 23, 2016.