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WHEN YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY ACTS IN BAD FAITH, HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO FILE SUIT TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS?

Ten years, according to the decision of the Louisiana Supreme Court in Beverly Smith v. Citadel Insurance Company, et al, (See www.lasc.org/opinions/2019/19-00052.CC.OPN.pdf )

Beverly Smith was injured in a car accident caused by Darlene Shelmire. Ms. Shelmire had an insurance policy with GoAuto Insurance Company. After Ms. Smith filed suit, and after a full trial of her claims, Ms. Smith was awarded a judgment for more than the amount, or policy limit, of Ms. Shelmire’s GoAuto’s insurance policy.

Because of the judgment awarded, Ms. Shelmire was personally liable for the amount in excess of, or above her insurance policy. Eventually, Ms. Shelmire assigned her rights against GoAuto Insurance to Ms. Smith. Those rights included Ms. Shelmire’s claim GoAuto Insurance did not act in good faith while handling the claim against Ms. Shelmire.

Bad faith claims can be brought by an insured against their own insurance company. Those situations can arise when the insurance company has failed to resolve a claim against its insured.

Returning to the Smith v. Citadel case, Ms. Smith filed suit against GoAuto Insurance for its failure to resolve all the claims against Ms. Shelmire. GoAuto Insurance opposed the suit, and one of its arguments was Ms. Smith did not bring the bad faith claim within one year of the bad faith acts.

The Louisiana Supreme Court had to consider the amount of time a person has to bring a bad faith claim against its insurance company. The bad faith suit was found to be a breach of contract claim against GoAuto Insurance, and the contract was the insurance policy issued to Ms. Shelmire by GoAuto Insurance.

The Supreme Court concluded an insured has ten years to file suit against its insurance company for breaching the insurance contract and failing to act in good faith or deal fairly with the insured.

If an insurance company is not dealing fairly with you, call Frederick Law Firm at (337) 269-5143, where we will discuss your case and explain your rights. At Frederick Law Firm, you get the Frederick Fee Guarantee, and we strive to be Fast Fair and Focused on your needs.

Frederick Law Firm

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