An insurance policy is a formal contract between an insurance company and a policyholder that requires both parties to meet their contractual obligations.
When the insurer fails to follow the terms of the contract, the policyholder can pursue a lawsuit to hold the insurance company responsible for acting in bad faith.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our knowledgeable lawyers offer client-focused representation and aggressive advocacy to insured individuals in Port Richey dealing with bad faith insurance. Our Port Richey bad faith insurance lawyers have recovered compensation for countless victims of dishonest insurance companies.
Residents of Port Richey Can Become Victims of Bad Faith Insurance
Port Richey is a suburban city in Pasco County, Florida, with a population of nearly 2,800 people. The vast majority of Port Richey residents have homeowners’ and auto insurance coverage. Anyone can become a victim of bad faith insurance when filing a homeowners’ insurance or car accident claim (or any other).
But how much do residents of Port Richey pay for insurance?
- With a homeownership rate of over 62 percent in Port Richey, the average home insurance cost in the city is a little over $1,200.
- The average automobile ownership in Port Richey is two vehicles per household, while the average cost of auto insurance in the city exceeds $1,800.
On average, a resident of Port Richey spends approximately $3,000 on homeowners and car insurance policies. Unfortunately, even if a policyholder is consistently paying premiums, they could still become a victim of bad faith insurance.
If you live in Port Richey and your insurance company refuses to pay your claim without a reasonable basis or fails to uphold other contractual terms, you may be able to pursue a bad faith insurance claim. However, it is highly beneficial to contact a Port Richey bad faith insurance lawyer to help you fight back and protect your legal rights.
A Port Richey Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights
Many policyholders are unable to recognize signs of bad faith insurance practices. However, it is vital to understand what types of bad faith insurance practices you can expect when dealing with your insurance company.
A study found that the threat of liability for bad faith can reduce the likelihood of an insurance company underpaying a claim. However, when the insurance company sees that it is dealing with a policyholder who lacks legal knowledge, it is more likely to engage in misleading or deceptive conduct because the policyholder would not understand that the insurer might engage in that type of conduct.
For this reason, it is critical to have the representation of a skilled bad faith insurance lawyer to protect your rights and help you distinguish between good faith and bad faith insurance practices.
Examples of Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Port Richey
Let’s review some of the most common examples of bad faith insurance practices to help you determine if your insurance company is engaging in dishonest, misleading, or deceptive conduct:
- Failing to acknowledge and respond to your claim within the applicable time limit
- Outright refusing to pay a valid claim
- Failing to conduct a prompt investigation
- Delaying your claim without a fair reason
- Denying your claim without a legitimate explanation
- Making unreasonable demands to delay the process
- Failing to provide a reasonable assessment of your claim
- Failing to provide a fair settlement offer
- Changing the terms of the contract (your policy) without giving you proper notice or getting your consent
- Making threatening statements
Many people do not realize that insurance claims adjusters have the training to protect their company’s best interests by undervaluing, delaying, and even denying valid claims.
If you believe your insurance company may be acting in bad faith, do not hesitate to contact a Port Richey bad faith insurance lawyer to evaluate your particular situation and help you understand your options.
Types of Damages Awarded for Bad Faith Insurance
Under Florida law, a victim of insurance bad faith may receive the following types of damages:
- Policy benefits. If you are entitled to policy benefits but cannot receive them due to insurance bad faith practices, a successful lawsuit can help you obtain the withheld policy benefits.
- Financial losses. These damages are also known as consequential costs. You can seek compensation for any monetary losses incurred as a result of the delay or denial of your claim. These financial losses also include attorney’s fees and any court costs associated with bringing a bad faith insurance lawsuit.
- Punitive damages. In many cases, policyholders who became victims of bad faith insurance can also receive punitive damages intended to punish the insurer for its wrongful conduct. You may be able to recover punitive damages if the insurance company’s bad faith conduct was willful, wanton, or malicious, or the insurer showed reckless disregard for your rights (Fla. Stat. § 624.155).
If your insurer denied your insurance claim for no reason or is otherwise acting in bad faith, you need to consult with an experienced attorney to help you pursue compensation for your damages and losses.
How a Port Richey Insurance Bad Faith Lawyer Can Help
Your insurance company must meet its contractual obligations to act in good faith and handle your claim fairly. Unfortunately, insurers are not acting in good faith all the time, which is why you can benefit from hiring an experienced attorney to:
- Gather evidence to build a strong claim
- Fill out necessary forms and file an insurance claim on your behalf
- Protect your legal rights and interests when dealing with the insurance company
- Answer your questions throughout the claims process to ensure that you make informed decisions
- Negotiate a fair settlement offer to help you get the maximum compensation to which you are entitled
- If the insurance company is acting in bad faith, give proper notice of the alleged violation
- If the insurer does not “cure” the alleged violation in time, take further legal action to hold it responsible for its bad faith insurance practices
Note: Keep in mind that there is a time limit to pursue a bad faith insurance lawsuit in Florida. Under Fla. Stat. § 95.11, you have five years to initiate a bad faith insurance lawsuit.
Port Richey Insurance Bad Faith FAQs
Let’s review some of the most common questions about bad faith insurance.
What is bad faith insurance?
Insurance bad faith is a legal term used to describe an insurance company’s failure to handle a policyholder’s claim according to the terms of the policy.
Insurance companies have a legal duty to act in good faith when handling and settling claims. If an insurer fails to meet its contractual obligations, you may have a right to pursue a bad faith insurance claim to recover damages.
How can you recognize signs of bad faith insurance practices?
While many insurance companies engage in subtle forms of bad faith insurance, others do things that are a clear breach of contract. When dealing with an insurance company after filing a claim, look for the following signs of bad faith conduct:
- You receive an offer that is substantially less than what your policy promises
- The insurance company is delaying or stalling the claims process
- The insurance company fails to conduct an adequate or timely investigation
- You receive a denial of your insurance claim without a legitimate explanation
- The insurance company is trying to misrepresent the terms of your policy
What to do if your insurance company is acting in bad faith in Port Richey?
If you suspect that your insurance company is acting in bad faith, you have legal options to hold the insurer responsible for its unlawful and inappropriate actions.
In many cases, it can be difficult to determine whether or not your insurance company has failed to meet the requirements of the contract. For this reason, you need to get the expert advice of a knowledgeable lawyer who specializes in bad faith insurance cases to review your situation.
Do Port Richey insurance companies act in bad faith?
Since the population of Port Richey is only 2,800, some people may presume that they are unlikely to become victims of bad faith insurance in a small city.
Unfortunately, that is not true. A resident of Port Richey is just as likely to deal with an insurance company acting in bad faith as a resident of any big city with millions of residents.
What are your rights under your insurance policy?
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and your insurance company. By placing your signature and agreeing to the terms of the policy, you assumed a responsibility to meet your obligations under the contract.
Your insurance company, for its part, assumed the obligation to act in good faith and abide by the terms of your policy.
What types of policies do insurance bad faith apply to?
Bad faith insurance can apply to any insurance policy, including but not limited to auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, and health insurance. Regardless of the type of your insurance policy, your insurer is legally required to follow the terms of the contract.
Is the denial of your insurance claim a sign that the insurer is acting in bad faith?
Not necessarily. Insurance companies have a right to deny claims when the denial is legitimate. For example, your insurer may deny claims that fall outside the policyholder’s coverage or when the policyholder fails to abide by the conditions of the policy.
It is advisable to consult with a lawyer to determine whether or not your insurance company was acting in bad faith when it denied your claim.
Can your insurance company deny a claim without explanation?
No, it is illegal to deny an insurance claim without providing a reason. In Florida, insurance companies have the legal requirement to provide policyholders with a reasonable explanation for denying their claims.
How to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit in Port Richey?
Under Florida law, you must first provide your insurance company with written notice of an alleged violation before filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit. You are legally required to give a 60-day notice of the insurer’s alleged bad faith violation to give the company a reasonable opportunity to “cure” the violation.
If the insurer fails to respond to the notice or cure the violation within 60 days, you will be able to file a lawsuit to hold the company liable for acting in bad faith.
How to win a Port Richey bad faith insurance lawsuit?
To win your bad faith insurance lawsuit, your lawyer will need to demonstrate clear and convincing evidence proving that:
- The insurance company withheld benefits owed to you under the policy
- The insurance company acted dishonestly or otherwise violated your rights when handling your claim
Fla. Stat. § 627.4136 prohibits third parties from filing a lawsuit against a liability insurer unless they have obtained a settlement or verdict against the insured.
What damages can you recover in a Port Richey bad faith insurance lawsuit?
In addition to the benefits you deserve under your insurance policy, filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit may allow you to recover consequential damages, including attorney’s fees and lost wages. You may also be eligible for punitive damages, as discussed above.
Why do you need a bad faith insurance lawyer in Port Richey?
If you filed your insurance claim in Port Richey, you could benefit from hiring a lawyer with offices in the city. A local bad faith insurance lawyer is familiar with the insurance industry in Port Richey and can use their knowledge to your advantage.
It is advisable to hire a bad faith insurance lawyer in Port Richey to ensure that your claim proceeds effectively.
Why hire Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers to handle your Port Richey bad faith insurance claim?
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our skilled and results-driven lawyers have decades of experience representing policyholders in Port Richey and throughout Florida in bad faith insurance cases.
Our Port Richey bad faith insurance lawyers will handle your claim with the personalized attention it deserves to ensure that you get the compensation you should.
We offer contingency fee arrangements to clients, which means you do not have to worry about paying attorney’s fees until after our lawyers have successfully obtained compensation on your behalf. If we don’t win, we don’t receive payment. It’s that simple.