Injured Florida Catering Employee Allowed to Pursue Bad Faith Action Against Employer’s Insurer

A Florida slip and fall accident can cause significant and costly injuries. As an injured party, the first priority should be your health, but the concern for how to pay for the injuries soon follows. An experienced Florida personal injury attorney can help maximize your recovery to help cover the expenses incurred due to lost wages, hospital charges, and doctors’ fees. Part of recovery is making sure those who are at fault for your injuries are held accountable.

In a recently published Florida Third District Court of Appeal case, Taylor vs. Admiral Ins. Co., an injured employee pursued recovery from her employer, the caterer of an event held at an attraction owned by a Florida county. The employee also pursued actions against the county and the attraction. The county and the attraction looked to the employer’s insurer to indemnify them in the lawsuit, but the insurer refused to indemnify the county and the attraction. Following this refusal, the county and the attraction agreed to settle for a total of $575,000 with the injured person. They also both assigned all of their rights under their insurance policy for claims of breach of contract and bad faith against the insurance company.

The injured person pursued the third party action, discovering that the county and the attraction had obtained policies through a broker used by the employer’s insurer. The catering employer requested that the broker bind coverage for its business, with the assurance that it included coverage for blanket additional insured. After this assurance was made by the insurer, a certificate was issued to the attraction, along with 90 other entities connected to the catering business. At no point was any of these entities advised that they could not be insured.

The trial court judge granted the insurer’s motion for summary judgment against the injured person, agreeing with the insurer’s argument that the county and the attraction were not “additional insureds” under the policy. The Third District disagreed, pointing to the Employer’s Liability provision, which excluded coverage for any bodily injury that an employee sustained while performing duties related to the conduct of business. The Court of Appeals asserted that the county and the attraction were not employers of the injured employee, so their respective coverage could be pursued.

The Third District went further in their analysis, looking to the analysis of Florida’s Fifth District. The Fifth District determined in its review of a home owner’s policy that the interaction of an exclusionary clause and a severability clause of policy could still provide coverage. Insurance contract case law has long held that if policy provisions are ambiguous, the policy is to be construed strictly against the insurer. In other words, courts favor coverage. The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s ruling and remanded the case, allowing the injured person to pursue the third party claim against the insurer.

The Florida premises liability attorneys at Donaldson & Weston have the experience you need to maximize the damages you deserve. Our lawyers understand that the path to monetary recovery can be complex and challenging, but we aggressively pursue all avenues of legal relief. For a free, confidential consultation, call our office at 772-266-5555 or 561-299-3999.

More Blog Posts:

Florida District Appeals Court Reviews Notice Requirements for Insured to Receive Personal Injury Protection Benefits, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 13, 2015

Knowing How a Rejection of Uninsured/Underinsured Auto Insurance Coverage in Florida Affects You and Your Family, South Florida Injury Lawyer Blog, October 6, 2015