On December 15, 2014, Justice Saylor of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company v. Wolfe, (#39 MAP 2014), ruled that an insured may assign the right to recover damages from his insurance company deriving from the insured’s bad faith claim. In Pennsylvania, under nearly all circumstances, the consumer’s insurance company owes a duty of good faith toward its insured. In other words, insurance companies owe their insureds a duty to resolve cases within policy limits, in most circumstances. This includes the avoidance of punitive damages against their insured if possible.
In the Wolfe case, Allstate offered $1,200.00 to settle the underlying claim which arose from a 2007 rear-end collision. The jury awarded $15,000.00 in compensatory damages and $50,000.00 in punitive damages and the Plaintiff sought an assignment from the Defendant for the Defendant’s bad faith claim against Allstate Insurance Company. Punitive damages are usually not covered by insurance. An assignment is essentially where a party conveys his or her rights which an insured may have against their insurance company.
Allstate challenged the appropriateness of the assignment and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court did in fact determine that it was assignable. If you are dealing with an insurance company or feel that you have a bad faith claim, contact Rolf Louis Patberg at Patberg Law Firm, P.C. at 1-800-471-6880 or 412-232-3500. Visit our website at www.pcglawfirm.com.