Search Site
Menu
Massachusetts Court Upholds Prior Bad Faith Ruling

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently affirmed a lower court’s decision that an insurance company acted in bad faith by failing to tender a reasonable settlement offer once liability became clear. The court awarded additional damages to the Plaintiff based on the insurance company’s misconduct.

Rivera v. Commerce Insurance Company began with a 2003 head-on collision involving Mr. Rivera’s vehicle and a dump truck operated by Commerce’s insured party. After only nine days, Commerce determined that the defendant caused the accident. Despite this finding, Commerce refused to make a reasonable settlement offer until May 6, 2008 ― shortly before trial was scheduled to begin. As compensation for Commerce’s inaction, Mr. Rivera received an additional $55,000 plus interest on the entire amount, dating back to 2003.

Elements of a Bad Faith Claim

The policy behind bad faith law is that insurance companies should not use their financial advantage to extort a favorable settlement from the plaintiff. Some insurance companies make the plaintiff wait while unpaid bills accumulate, and then use that financial pressure as a bargaining chip. That being said, Massachusetts law imposes a rather high standard of proof in a bad faith claim. The plaintiff must prove conduct that is “immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous” which “causes substantial injury.” The conduct must rise to the level of “rascality that would raise the eyebrow of someone inured to the rough-and-tumble world of commerce.”

The Massachusetts court punished Commerce Insurance Company for its stubborn intransigence. If the insurance company is dragging its feet in settling your claim, a similar action may be appropriate. Call me and I’ll examine your case for free.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Feinberg & Alban, P.C. fervently protects your rights
  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

    The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.

  • $7.7 Million Award for Feinberg & Alban Client in Personal Injury Trial

    Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.

Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I had a wonderful experience working with Robert Feinberg and Colleen Santoro. I never once had doubts about how my case would be handled. I knew I was in great hands with both of them. I was always informed and felt confident in their ability to re...

    Read more

    Betsy Rose

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    This firm is great! They negotiated a settlement for us after another firm told us we had no case. The whole process was quick and easy. Colleen was so easy to work with and very responsive.

    Read more

    Ellen Carita

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Highly recommend this firm! Colleen Santora was my sister's attorney for her motor vehicle accident. Colleen was always responsive and answered all our questions. She was transparent and put 100 effort in the case. She very knowledgeable. I would re...

    Read more

    Warda Khurram

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    My wife with our dog crossed the street when was hit by a car. Our attorney Alexis Cahill was professional, knowledgeable and reliable. We had good communications with her all the time while my wife recovered from her injuries. We are completely sati...

    Read more

    michaelvideohere

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I got chance make car accident (it's not my fault). Before I didn't have any accident like that one. I choose this agency accidentally due to it's location was convenient to my job. I was surprise (good surprise) that agency lawyer (Colleen Santora) ...

    Read more

    Anatoly Gorbatchev

See all reviews
Awards & Affiliations
Contact us

Quick Contact Form