What is a Civil Remedy Notice?
A civil remedy notice (“CRN”) in Florida is a document that must be filed with the Florida Department of Financial Services at least sixty (60) days prior to filing a bad faith lawsuit. Before digging deeper into exactly what a CRN is, a little background is necessary.
In a car accident case, there are often two types of insurance that are implicated. First, the at-fault driver may carry bodily injury coverage, which would provide coverage for the injured person. However, bodily injury coverage is not mandatory in Florida, and many people do not carry it, or do not carry policies with sufficiently high limits. Accordingly, many people opt for uninsured motorist coverage with their own insurer. With uninsured motorist coverage, you can file a claim with your own insurance company for your injuries.
Unfortunately, after you make an uninsured motorist claim, sometimes your insurer will not make an offer that fully compensates you for your injuries. In this case, you could hire our Jacksonville uninsured motorist claim lawyers to pursue the claim for you. If the insurer failed to act properly while evaluating and negotiating your claim, you may have an action for bad faith against your insurer, in addition to your injury claim. Florida statutes more specifically describe what constitutes what attorneys call “bad faith.” The statute requires the insurer to attempt in good faith to settle claims, while acting fairly and honestly toward its insureds with due regard for their interests. In other words, the insurance company is supposed to put its customers’ needs ahead of its own interests in minimizing payouts.
Regrettably, insurers do not always act in good faith, and this is where the CRN comes in. Prior to pursuing a bad faith case against an insurer, we must file a CRN with the state, and then wait for 60 days for the insurer to respond. If the insurer ignores the CRN or denies it, we can then sue them on day sixty-one.
An example of a case our attorneys recently handled is helpful to further understand how this process works. Our client had severe injuries from a car crash, including frequent migraines stemming from her cervical spine injuries, making it very difficult for her to work. The at-fault driver had no insurance, but our client had $10,000 of uninsured motorist coverage with her insurer. We asserted a demand for the full $10,000 of coverage, but the insurer offered only $6,000. We filed a CRN, again demanding the full $10,000. After a few weeks, the insurer tendered the $10,000. If the insurer had not done so, we would have pursued a case against them for bad faith.
In bad faith cases, our attorneys handling uninsured motorist claims in Jacksonville pursue more than just the value of your injuries. Bad faith cases carry additional categories of damages. First, there are consequential costs, which include the attorneys’ fees and costs associated with the bad faith litigation. Additionally, emotional distress damages are available in the bad faith case, if the emotional distress stems directly from the insurer’s bad behavior.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, punitive damages are available in the bad faith case. These damages are not meant to compensate the injured person for their injuries. Instead, punitive damages are intended to punish the insurer for operating in bad faith. The idea behind punitive damages is to discourage the insurer from acting unfairly or dishonestly in the future.
Bad faith is difficult to prove, but it can be accomplished through careful discovery requests and depositions. Specifically, bad faith is often shown when our Jacksonville uninsured motorist claim lawyers are able to prove that the insurer’s behavior was not a singular instance, but instead was part of a larger pattern or practice in their overall claims handling.