Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a Georgia car accident case requiring the court to determine if a bad-faith claim against an insurance company should be permitted to proceed toward trial. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of each element of the bad-faith claim, and the case should proceed toward trial.
The Facts of the Case
The case is somewhat confusing in that the plaintiff in the case against the insurance company was the estate of a motorist who had caused an accident that resulted in the motorist’s own death and injured several others. Several of those injured in the accident filed a personal injury case against the deceased motorist.
The insurance company of the deceased motorist failed to respond to communications from the accident victims’ attorney, seeking to settle the case within the insurance policy’s limits. As a result, the accident victims rescinded their offer to settle the case, and that case proceeded to trial, where a large verdict was entered in the plaintiffs’ favor.
The estate of the deceased motorist (which is now responsible for the large jury verdict) filed a bad-faith claim against the deceased motorist’s insurance company. The estate claimed that the insurance company had the chance to settle the case within the limits of the policy, but it negligently failed to do so. As a result, the estate claimed, it is now liable for the large jury verdict. In essence, the estate’s claim was that the insurance company had the opportunity to settle the case for far less than the jury verdict, and it was negligent not to do so given the facts.
The case arose on a summary judgment motion filed by the defendant insurance company. The trial court denied the insurance company’s motion, and the insurance company appealed. On appeal, the court affirmed the lower court’s denial of the insurance company’s motion. The court explained that insurance companies have a duty to act in good faith when it comes to settling claims within the limits of an insurance policy. Under these facts, the court held that the insurance company’s failure to respond may have risen to the necessary level to establish a bad-faith claim. However, the court left the ultimate determination in the hands of a jury, sending the case toward trial.
Have You Been Dealing with a Difficult Insurance Company?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia motor vehicle accident, and if you have since been dealing with a difficult insurance company, you should reach out to an attorney at McAleer Law to discuss your case. At McAleer Law, we routinely handle cases against stubborn insurance companies that have denied our clients’ legitimate claims. We know how insurance companies think, and we work diligently to get our clients every penny they deserve. To learn more, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Georgia personal injury attorney.
See More Posts:
Georgia Appeals Court Rules on Dispute Over County to Hear Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, February 27, 2018.
Georgia Court Discusses Government Immunity in Recent Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 10, 2018.