In Idaho, an Insured May Recover Damages for Both Breach of Contract and a Tort Claim Where the Insurer Engages in Bad Faith and/or Unfair Claims Settlement Practices.
In Idaho, all contracts carry with them an implied warranty of good faith and fair dealing in carrying out the obligations of the contract. The insurance contract also known as a policy sets forth duties and obligations for both the insured and the insurer therein.
In Idaho, the insurer has the obligation to engage in good faith and fair dealing. When that obligation is breached, the policyholder has a cause of action for breach of contract and possibly a tort claim for bad faith and unfair claims settlement practic
In order to recover under the tort claim for bad faith, the insured under the policy has the burden to show that the claim falls under the purview of the insurance policy. Thereafter, the insured has the burden to establish four elements to prevail at trial, namely:
1) That the insurer intentionally and unreasonably denied payment under the terms of the policy;
2) That the claim was not fairly debatable;
3) That the denial of the claim and/or failure to pay was not due to a good faith mistake; and,
4) The resulting harm is not fully compensable by contractual damages.
See Robinson v State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, 137 Idaho 173, 176, 45 P.3d 829, 832 (2002). As such the burden is on the insured or third party beneficiary to establish that the denial by the insurer was both intentional and unreasonable . However, notwithstanding a claim may be fairly debatable under the facts of a case, the carrier cannot unreasonably or intentionally delay the determination or the process of determining the claim’s validity. See White v. Unigard Insurance Company, 112 Idaho 94, 730 P.2d 1014 (1986). For further discussion as to when a claim is fairly debatable, see http://www.mortonlawyers.com/library/bad-faith-and-unfair-claims-settlement-practices.cfm
Mistakes by an insurance company that are based upon negligence, inattention, or indifference do not constitute an "honest mistake" on behalf of an insurance company under Idaho law. Robinson, 173 Idaho at 178.
There are a number of cases in Idaho where insurance carriers have been held to have intentionally and unreasonably denied payment under the terms of an insurance policy. When that happens to you, it’s important to seek out and obtain a free initial consultation with an experienced trial attorney.
Contact Boise, Idaho, Bad Faith/Insurance Dispute Trial Attorney Alan L. Morton
If you would like to speak to a bad faith/insurance dispute trial lawyer in Idaho, contact Mr. Morton. Mr. Morton represents bad faith clients throughout Idaho. His clients come to him from Boise, Ada, Canyon, Elmore, Blaine, Twin Falls, Gem, Payette, Washington, Valley counties and beyond. You may reach the firm by calling 208.344.5555 or toll free at 888.716.8021 or by filling out an online contact form at http://www.mortonlawyers.com. Mr. Morton is available to talk with you regarding your claim.