You had to go to the hospital for injuries. Thank goodness you have insurance, right? After you get home, you file a claim and wait to hear back from you insurance, believing everything will be fine…
…but it’s not.
The insurance company, for some reason, decides to reject your claim. You have to pay up. This can be devastating for families who depend on their insurance to cover medical procedures, repairs after an accident, or other high costs.
If something feels wrong after a rejected claim, pursue it. You might be able to file a bad faith insurance claim against your provider and get compensation that covers your damages and your troubles. A Florida personal injury lawyer can help you every step of the way through this process.
What Is a “Bad Faith Claim” in Florida?
Insurance companies have a specific set of regulations that they must follow to make sure they are providing fair services and coverage. They must pay for what they promise they are going to pay, and do so in a timely manner. Regulators require that insurance companies go through this process “in good faith.”
If insurance companies fail to carry out their duties, and their failure costs you money, you may be able to file a bad faith insurance claim.
Examples of Bad Faith
There are a few ways in which an insurance provider may act “in bad faith,” including:
- Denying a claim for costs that should be covered
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation for a denial
- Refusal to answer correspondence
- Failing to investigate the claim, a disability, injuries, etc.
- Bringing in a medical professional who doubts or overrules your provider’s opinion
- Failing or neglecting to categorize injuries and illnesses properly
- Canceling or threatening to cancel your insurance policy without your knowledge or without good reason
Bad faith insurance claims don’t just affect the person filing the claim. If you get into a car accident and a third party is denied coverage from your insurance company, you may also be able to file a bad faith insurance claim.
Steps to Take Before Filing a Florida Bad Faith Insurance Claim
Do you think your insurance company is acting in bad faith? Take action by reaching out to your insurance company first.
Request medical records, keep notes during your call, and ask if there is any additional information you or the provider can offer in order to reverse the rejection.
Collect all communication that has transpired between you and your company regarding your claim. You may need it when speaking with an attorney or to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (FLOIR.)
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation can investigate a claim once you file a complaint. You will need to submit your policy number, your concerns, and any documentation that supports your complaint. Give them 30 days to review your claim before taking further action.
The FLOIR also provides a guide on closed claims, a complaint comparison database, and other relevant news that may support your claim.
Statute of Limitations for Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Like all personal injury lawsuits, bad faith insurance claims have a statute of limitations. Plaintiffs have five years to file a bad faith insurance claim in court.
If you were rejected coverage for damages from Hurricane Irma, Hurricane
Matthew, or any injury or illness in the past five years, you may still be able to file a claim against your insurance provider and get the coverage you deserve.
How to File a Bad Faith Insurance Claim in Florida
If you are prepared to take civil action against your insurer, reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss your claim and whether or not you have a leg to stand on in court.
Bad faith claims are not easy to win, but sometimes taking a simple action will scare your insurance provider into paying up.
Ready to file a claim? Almost.
You have to notify your insurance company first. Insurance providers have 60 days to remedy the situation before you can move forward and take legal action. Sometimes, that is the kick in the pants they need to settle your claim properly.
Once the 60 days passes, if your insurance provider has held strong, you and your lawyer can take the suit to court and start building your case.
We want to reiterate that fighting this court battle isn’t always easy. Insurance companies have a lot of power. It is crucial to have a lawyer who has experience fighting bad insurance claims and winning on your side. You deserve to have the coverage you are paying for, and a bad faith claim can help you get it.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2017 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – and was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite” and as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015, 2016, and 2017.