The tort of bad faith can also exist in a Non-Worker’s Compensation insurance setting. Regardless of the type of insurance, the insurer has a fiduciary duty to act fairly and reasonably toward its insured. In other words it is under a duty to place the interest of the insured ahead of its own. As an example if an insured is sued for an alleged tort such as a vehicular collision, slip and fall, or at home injury, the insurance company is required to provide a defense and to indemnify the insured in the event of a judgment against the insured. Beyond that the insurance company has the duty, and the obligation, to attempt to settle the case within policy limits in order to protect the insured’s assets from being subject to being sold to pay for a judgment.
It also arises in such contexts when an insured is making a claim for reimbursement for damage to his or her property regardless of whether it is the home, contents or a vehicular damage. If the insurance company does not act in good faith, the insured can file suit against the insurance company for damages in excess of the loss. It is difficult, if not impossible, for an insured to determine whether an insurance company is acting in bad faith. Therefore even in non-Worker’s Compensation cases if you suspect that the insurance company is acting in bad faith you should immediately contact an attorney for advice and determination whether a claim for bad faith can be made. We at the Beattie Law Firm are here to help you and are experts in handling bad faith litigation.