Most people know that if they are injured by someone else, they have a right to seek compensation. Hopefully that person will carry insurance of some sort, and that insurance company will agree to pay (or be forced to do so by a jury). What happens when someone’s own insurance company simply refuses to pay, or worse yet, they drag their feet, cause delays, and make the person’s life miserable?
At Heninger Garrison Davis, we see these unfortunate insurance tactics all the time. Do not for a second believe these massive and wealthy corporations are doing this by mistake. There is a strategy to everything they do, and in many cases, these tactics can be frustrating. The good news is that you may have options for fighting back. Our team of experienced lawyers have decades of proven results helping individuals and families throughout the country with large and complex insurance disputes. Getting compensation from an insurance company can take a high degree of skill and effort. Not every attorney is cut out for these types of cases. Fortunately, we are here to help.
What is Insurance?
When you purchase insurance – auto, fire, home, business, or any other sort of coverage – you are purchasing peace of mind. You are also buying a contractual obligation. Think of insurance like paid protection. Imagine a celebrity paid a body guard a monthly fee to follow him around and be ready at a moment’s notice to shield him from violent attacks, crazed fans, or privacy intrusions. The celebrity pays the bodyguard that monthly fee year after year, and one day the unthinkable happens. An attacker jumps a railing and charges the celebrity.
Now, imagine the bodyguard leaps out of the way, and leaves the celebrity completely exposed, causing him severe injuries and humiliation, among other harms. Most people would agree that the bodyguard completely broke the agreement. This is what happens when insurance companies happily accept your premiums, only to shirk their obligations when you need them most.
Bad Faith Claims
While the example above is a bit extreme, the fact remains that insurance companies virtually do this every day. The law even has a term for it. It is called “bad faith failure to indemnify.” It means that an insurance company has an obligation to act in good faith to investigate, pay, and timely resolve claims for its customers. Good faith involves fair dealing, honesty, sharing facts and policy information, and working to quickly resolve the claim so as not to further harm the insured person.
So, when insurance companies act in a vexatious, harassing, or uncooperative manner, it can rise to the level of bad faith. Here are some clear examples of bad faith:
- Ignoring a claim and letting the insured suffer financial harm
- Refusing to pay a valid claim
- Intentionally undervaluing a claim
- Using threats, deceit or harassment to leverage a settlement
- Talking to insured people when they are known to have an attorney
- Misrepresenting policy information and coverage availability
Common cases our firm handles, include:
- Bad faith insurance disputes
- Insurance fraud claims
- Unreasonable or improper long-term disability insurance denials
- Bad faith auto insurance claims
How to Deal with Bad Faith
First, you do not need to be dealing with an insurance company alone. No matter what kind of insurance carrier you are dealing with, if you have a clear and valid right to be compensated, and your insurance company is willfully denying or delaying your compensation, you may have a right to sue your insurance company for bad faith. It is sort of like a breach of contract case, except there is an added element of culpability for the insurance company.
At Heninger Garrison Davis, our team of bad faith insurance lawyers are here to fight for your right to recover insurance proceeds. If an insurance company has created unnecessary delays, unreasonably denied compensation, or acted in a malicious way to avoid paying, you may very well have a right to seek compensation through a bad faith lawsuit. To find out if we can help, call our office or visit us online today. The consultation is free, and we do not take a fee unless we recover compensation for you.