When the insurance company fails to honor your policy or refuses to compensate you for your losses, you have the right to file a lawsuit. Insurance companies are typically profit-driven, but while denying your claim may be in your provider’s best interest, it’s not in yours.
You have damages that require compensation. Perhaps you have injuries because of a car accident and now you face crushing medical bills. Maybe a fire swept through your home, and it needs repairs. An insurance bad faith attorney from our firm has experience dealing with insurance companies that act in bad faith.
What Does It Mean When an Insurance Company Acts in Bad Faith?
An insurance company acts in bad faith when it doesn’t fulfill contractual obligations with you, the policyholder. When you purchase insurance, you expect your provider to come through for you when you have a legitimate claim. After all, why have insurance if it’s not going to help you when you need it?
It may not even be your insurance company that is acting in bad faith, but someone else’s. If someone else’s negligence causes you to suffer injuries and financial losses, the liable party’s provider should make a good-faith effort to settle your valid claim.
Some examples of an insurance company acting in bad faith include:
- Delaying payment on a claim
- Denying a valid claim
- Attempting to underpay your claim
Our law firm understands the ins and outs of the insurance system. If an insurer is acting in bad faith when you need compensation, we can help.
What Should You Do If Your Insurance Company Denies Your Claim?
The insurance company should be making a good-faith effort to settle your claim and pay you the benefits you deserve so you can cover your losses. However, your insurer may try to save money by denying your claim or by making you a lowball offer. They may not expect you to do anything about it, but there are steps you can take to fight back. These include:
- Appeal the decision: You have the right to appeal the denial of your claim. We recommend appealing in writing in addition to an in-person or over-the-phone appeal. This way, there is a paper trail proving your effort to work with your provider to resolve the problem. Explain in detail why the denial should be reversed and cite your policy where applicable.
- Gather evidence: You will want to keep a copy of your policy handy so you can make a copy and highlight the terms and conditions that apply to your claim. You should also collect evidence of your injuries and financial losses that you are seeking compensation for such as police reports, medical records, photographs, video footage, witness statements, and pay stubs. Make copies of the evidence to send to your insurer so you can keep the originals.
- Consult an attorney: If your insurance company still won’t work with you to settle the matter fairly, we urge you to consult a lawyer. A lawyer with experience dealing with insurance companies can provide you with options. Your lawyer can review your policy, calculate the value of your claim, draft a demand letter, negotiate a settlement that adequately covers your losses, and file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Most cases settle out of court. The insurance company doesn’t want to risk having to pay out a jury verdict in your favor that is larger than a settlement both sides can agree on. A lawyer from our firm can prepare your case for court and represent you at trial.
Do You Have Rights as a Policyholder?
You have rights as a policyholder. Your insurance provider has a legal obligation to honor the terms of your policy, which serves as a contract between you and the company. You pay premiums for your coverage. This could be car insurance coverage, home insurance coverage, or any other kind of coverage that your insurer offers.
If your claim meets the conditions of your policy or the other party’s policy, the insurance company has an obligation to pay benefits.
Does the Insurance Company Have the Right To Deny Your Claim?
If your claim does not meet the conditions of your policy, the insurance company has the right to deny your claim. The insurance company can also deny your claim if it is fraudulent or if you have not paid your premiums.
However, the insurance company cannot legally deny a valid claim that meets the terms of your policy.
What Damages Can You Recover?
You are entitled to recover the benefits of your policy, which typically include losses like medical bills and property damage. However, you can also recover any losses that occur because of bad-faith behavior. For instance, you may have had additional damages or losses since the original filing of your claim.
The court can also order your insurance provider to pay punitive damages for intentional misconduct. Again, your insurer will most likely seek to settle out of court, especially if you have an attorney with experience handling your case.
Learn More About Suing an Insurance Company for Denying Your Claim Today
We pay for insurance for a reason. Accidents happen. When we suffer injuries and financial losses, we expect the insurer to do the right thing and honor the terms and conditions of the policy. The insurance company must exercise good-faith practices and work with you within your policy to settle your claim. If your insurer operates in bad faith, reach out to an attorney.
GED Lawyers has experience handling cases involving insurers acting in bad faith. We can review your policy and negotiate with your insurance provider for the compensation you need. To learn about suing an insurance company for denying your claim, or to schedule a free consultation, please contact us today.