(1) Any person damaged by a violation of the provisions of this part may bring a civil action against a person violating such provisions in the circuit court of the county in which the alleged violator resides or has her or his principal place of business or in the county in which the alleged violation occurred. Upon adverse adjudication, the defendant will be liable for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, together with court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred by the plaintiff.
(2) No punitive damages may be awarded under this section unless the acts giving rise to the violation occur with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice and these acts are:
(a) Willful, wanton, and malicious; or
(b) In reckless disregard for the rights of any insured.
Any person who pursues a claim under this subsection shall post in advance the costs of discovery. Such costs shall be awarded to the insurer if no punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff.
(3) As a condition precedent to bringing an action under this section, the department and the insurer shall be given written notice of the violation. The notice shall state with specificity the facts which allegedly constitute the violation and the law upon which the plaintiff is relying and shall state that such notice is given in order to perfect the right to pursue the civil remedy authorized by this section. No action will lie if, within 30 days thereafter, the damages are paid or the circumstances giving rise to the violation are corrected.
(4) This section shall not be construed to authorize a class action suit against a service warranty association or a civil action against the department, the office, their employees, or the Chief Financial Officer.