Insurance Bad Faith & Extra-Contractual Liability
In Florida there is no legal requirement for people driving on our roads to purchase insurance coverage to pay for bodily injury they cause others. Our car accident lawyers at Zimmet & Zimmet we believe that this is a significant failure of the state legislature to protect Florida citizens.With no legal requirement, Florida drivers are free to purchase no coverage or coverage in any limits they choose. A driver could cause $1,000,000 worth of bodily injury but have only a very small amount of insurance coverage that would not come close to meeting your expenses.
Are you just out of luck if that happens? If you are seriously injured, ask us about “extra-contractual liability.”
An insurance policy is a contract. You agree to pay premiums and the insurance company agrees to pay for the cost of damages you cause up to a specific limit you choose. Of course, insurance companies charge more for higher limits.
Sometimes the insurance company refuses pay the limits of the policy for settlement of a specific claim even if the damages are more than the limits.
This tactic can increase the insurance company’s profits. The problem for the insured, however, is that if the insured loses at trial the court could award a judgment against the insured for more than the insurance limit. The insured pays that excess amount.
In this situation, it might be possible to sue the insurance company for dealing with its own insured in bad faith. The lawsuit could allege that the insurance company is responsible for more than its limits, “extra-contractual liability.”
If successful the injured person may be able to collect the full amount of their damages ($1,000,000 in the example above) instead of the smaller policy limits.
At Zimmet & Zimmet our mission is to do everything we can to give all of our clients the best opportunity to be compensated completely for their injuries.