Bad Faith And The Jury
Bad faith is for the jury where there is a dispute as to whether the insurer’s offer of payment was unreasonably low.
Where an insured has suffered a loss, efforts by the insurance company to settle the claim that are not bona fide can be a constructive refusal to pay. In Firemen’s Ins. Co. of Newark, N.J. v. Allmond, the insurance company acknowledged coverage, made an offer of settlement of $2,250, and a jury determined the amount of the loss to have been $4,000. In such a case, “it was a question for the jury to say whether the offer had been so small as to amount to an absolute refusal to pay, and if so, whether there was bad faith in such refusal.” Accordingly, the Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s award of bad-faith damages.