I have filed a lawsuit against an insurance company for breach of contract and statutory bad faith. I am a pro se litigant and have no attorney. Today was the first day of trial, and it should continue for another two days. On the first day of trial, the attorney for the insurance company was able to get the judge to dismiss the bad faith portion of my lawsuit. If I win the breach of contract portion, can i later file another suit for bad faith or should the judge have abated the statutory claim instead of out rightly dismissing it, in order for the bad faith to have been able to be put in a later proceeding or lawsuit?
You will not likely be able to pursue the bad faith later on. It entirely depends on why it was dismissed at trial as to whether the contract claim should have been abated. Impossible to answer your question without being able to review copies of your pleadings. If procedurally you failed to do what was needed to preserve the statutory bad faith claim, then you would not have been allowed to abate your contract claim since you were one that failed to follow the statute. I am guessing about that based on the context of your question.
The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices. Bstein@dcfsz.com, 305 377 1505
In Florida, you cannot proceed on a bad faith claim against an insurance company until you recover in the breach of contract case. I don't know exactly why the court dismissed the bad faith claim, but I would imagine that it can be brought after the breach of contract case if you win. There are some statutory requirements that you must comply with before pursuing bad faith, but you should discuss what they are with your attorney. Good luck!
Todd is a partner at the law firm of Stabinski & Funt, P.A., specializing in accident and insurance claims. Stabinski & Funt has been serving South Florida for over 42 years. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone toll free (877)48-CLAIM. This is not to be considered legal advice nor does an attorney-client relationship exist. www.stabinski-funt.com
You really needed to consult an attorney before suit. Attorneys who practice insurance law in Florida may recover attorney fees for the insured, if the verdict is favorable to the insured/plaintiff. Nevertheless, here is some information about Bad Faith claims against insurers in Florida. Florida allows a third-party claimant to pursue a common law cause of action for bad faith or a statutory action under Section 624.155 of Florida Statutes, but the third-party claimant cannot pursue both. The first-party claimant can only pursue the statutory cause of action under s. 624.155 and must complete the conditions precedent under s 624.155(3). See http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0600-0699/0624/Sections/0624.155.html
That said and since you claimed a breach of contract, there is a twist in all of this if your claim is under ERISA (such as a group policy from your employer) as there is no bad faith remedy even if the action was not removed to federal court. Good luck.