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

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2012

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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