The Eleventh Circuit federal Court of Appeals recently affirmed summary judgment in favor of an automobile insurance company, finding that no reasonable jury could conclude that the insurer had acted in bad faith by offering the policy limits to an accident victim 33 days after the accident. Johnson v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., No. 08-11336 (Mar. 11, 2009).
Johnson’s decedent had argued that the insurer delayed payment of bodily injury coverage unnecessarily, when it had already tendered uninsured motorist payments and knew that Johnson was in the hospital on a respirator.
The court held, however, that, even construing the facts in favor of Johnson, the insurer’s actions could not, as a matter of law, constitute bad faith. The court noted that liability was initially contested, and the insurer’s adjuster “moved quickly” to determine liability. Johnson’s attorney made a 30-day demand for settlement, and the insurer responded within “far fewer” days from that demand.