While Florida drivers are required to carry adequate insurance, many do not, and uninsured and uninsured motorists cause a fair number of collisions throughout the state each year. Luckily, many drivers have the foresight to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance and can seek benefits from their insurer if they are hurt by a party without sufficient coverage. In some cases, though, an insurer will fail to comply with its contractual duties and will deny a person’s claim for first-party benefits. Recently, a Florida court discussed how breach of contract and bad faith claims arising out of an insurer’s refusal to pay underinsured motorists benefits are valued in a ruling on the issue of whether a case should be removed to federal court. If you were hurt in an accident with a driver without insurance and your insurer is refusing to pay you benefits, you should speak to a Florida car accident attorney to discuss your rights.
History of the Case
It is reported that the plaintiffs were involved in a collision with an underinsured driver. The driver was ultimately determined to be at fault for the accident. The plaintiffs suffered significant and permanent injuries. Thus, they filed an underinsured motorist claim with the defendant, their automobile insurance carrier. The defendant denied the plaintiffs’ claim, after which the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the defendant in state court, alleging breach of contract and bad faith claims. The defendant removed the case to federal court, after which the plaintiff filed a motion to remand.
Valuing Uninsured Motorist Claims for Diversity Jurisdiction
The issue in dispute was whether the defendant adequately demonstrated that the value of the plaintiffs’ claims exceeded $75,000, as required for the federal court to exercise diversity jurisdiction. The court explained that the defendant bears the burden of proving a claim is appropriately within a court’s jurisdiction. In cases in which the plaintiff does not assert a precise amount of damages, the defendant must prove that the majority of the evidence demonstrates that the amount the plaintiff seeks in damages exceeds the jurisdictional threshold.