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Florida Fifth DCA rules that advance payment by UM insurer to insured operated as a set-off from judgment in UM case

On August 21, 2020, in Solomon v. State Farm, No. 5D18-3920, the Florida Fifth DCA ruled that a “good faith payment” made as an advance payment to the plaintiff by the defendant insurance company in a uninsured motorist case was properly set-off against the damages subsequently awarded at trial.  The plaintiff had unsuccessfully argued that the advance payment should not be set-off from the judgment. This issue apparently arose because the advance payment set-off, when combined with two other undisputed set-offs, exceeded the amount of the jury verdict, causing the trial court to enter final judgment in favor of the defendant and making the defendant the prevailing party for purposes of the award of costs.  The Fifth DCA cited Hamm v. Milton, 358 So. 2d 121 (Fla. 1st DCA 1978) and Doe v. Pak, 784 S.E.2d 328 (W. Va. 2016) in support of its decision, noting that the plaintiff otherwise would have had the opportunity to recover costs even if the jury verdict had been less than the amount of the advance payment.

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