Can an insurance company be sued for bad faith practicesafter the statute of limitations has expired?

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Can an insurance company be sued for bad faith practicesafter the statute of limitations has expired?

Personal injury case involving slip and fall accident in the parking lot of a restaurant chain. For 2 years claims were sent to insurance company with no payments made. Adjuster wanted to come to a settlement without going to court. My 80 year old mother was the injured party and I, her daughter, handled everything relating to her injury. Then 2 months after the SOL had expired, I received an email that the case had been closed and no reimbursements would be made. Can a lawsuit for bad faith practices be filed after the statute has expired? If so, is there a “time” limit to file?

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with an attorney--it *may* be possible to bring an action, even though the SOL on the actual slip and fall itself has expired. There are two potential theories: 1) that the insurer deliberately delayed matters to run out the SOL, and therefore is "estopped" from pleading the SOL due to its bad faith; or 2) you are not suing on the slip and fall per se, but on the insurer's violation of the implied covenant of good faith (the obligation on all parties to contracts to act in good faith), which violation occured later.

Bringing an action after the SOL has nominally expired is tricky--the courts disfavor finding ways to allow the action, though they will in certain cases. Therefore, you need an attorney's assistance; if there's not enough money at stake to make consulting with an attorney worthwhile, it's probably best let the matter drop.


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