“Civil Remedies Against Insurers; Requires insureds, claimants, or
persons acting on their behalf to provide insurer with written notice
of loss as condition precedent to statutory or common-law action for bad-faith
failure to settle insurance claim; provides that insurer is not liable
for claim of bad faith failure to settle claim if certain conditions are
Narrowly passing with a 7–6 vote in the Florida House Civil Justice
Subcommittee, this bill would protect insurance companies from what are
known as “bad faith” lawsuits. Characterized by the idea that
insurance companies are not acting in the interest of the insured, a bad-faith
lawsuit could be filed if, during a
personal injury case, the jury finds for the victim that they should be awarded a dollar
amount above that of the defendant’s insurance policy maximum. Either
the plaintiff or the defendant could file the bad-faith lawsuit in an
attempt to force the insurance company to pay the additional damages.
Sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a republican from Naples, House Bill
813 would protect insurance companies with a 45-day window of opportunity
to settle a claim at the policy maximum or below. If they do so within
this allotted time frame, they would be immune from paying further damages
on the claim.
Although large business-advocacy groups such as the National Federation
of Independent Business and the Florida Chamber of Commerce are lobbying
for the bill, others are not so sure. If sued for a workplace injury,
for instance, small business owners who have kept up with their insurance
premiums in good faith could still face bankruptcy and be obliged to lay
off good employees for lack of finances, should a workers’ compensation
lawsuit not be met with adequate settlement by the insurance company itself.
How Todd Miner Law Can Help You
Todd Miner and his team are watching this issue closely. We have a proud
history of advocating for the individual in the face of monolithic entities
such as insurance companies. Imagine a worker who incurs a life-altering
on-the-job injury, and then receives an insurance settlement far below
their long-term needs, simply because the employer’s insurance policy
maximum was met within the proposed 45-day window.
In this hypothetical situation, such a worker would be forced to resort
to taxpayer-supported care for the rest of his life. We need to be protecting
good, hardworking, taxpaying individuals and their families, rather than
simply the big insurance companies.