ATTORNEYS FEES IN AUTOMOBILE CRASH CASES

In many instances we meet with clients who have been injured in a car or motorcycle accident. Throughout the course of the case investigation, all insurance policies must be examined in order to evaluate whether the client has available coverage to compensate them for their damages. Unfortunately, there are times when the client’s own insurance coverage will refuse to provide the very insurance coverage the injured party has paid for. When this happens, the insured is often left with no other option but to bring a lawsuit against their own insurance company.

As a result of this litigation, and if the insured is successful, they may be entitled to an award of attorney’s fees and costs. Florida Statute 627.428 provides for the award of attorney’s fees to an insured or named beneficiary under a policy on the entry of the judgment against an insurer. Florida Statute 627.428 is designed to discourage insurance companies from contesting valid claims and to reimburse successful insureds whom have to defend or sue to enforce their insurance contracts.

Pursuant to the statute and related Florida case law, the insured is provided an opportunity to collect reasonable attorneys’ fees when they are compelled to sue to enforce the policy contract or defend an action brought by their insurer. The Second District Court of Appeals in the Bassette case noted that the purpose of the statute “is to penalize an insurance company for wrongfully causing its insured to resort to litigation in order to resolve a conflict with its insurer when it was within the company’s power to resolve it.” Bassette v. Standard Fire Insurance Co., 803 So.2d 744, 746 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001).

If you believe your insurance company is wrongfully denying insurance coverage for your personal injury, we invite you to contact our office for a free case evaluation. We believe the investigation and analysis of all insurance coverage is vital to protecting the client’s best interest.

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