Bad Faith Insurance Claims: What Policyholders Need to Know
By purchasing insurance, you make an investment to protect you property and financial well-being when issues arise. This may include a car accident, or damage to your home or business resulting from fires, floods, and other incidents common in Southern California. By signing a contract and making payments to uphold your side of the agreement, you deserve to be treated fairly by the insurance company. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Although insurance companies have a legal duty to act in good faith when you file a claim for damages and losses you sustained as a policyholder, they do not always do so. This may be the result of negligence and administrative errors or, more often the case, the result of insurance companies that care more about profits than they do about doing right by their policyholders. Whatever the reason may be, insurance companies that fail to treat their customers in good faith can make tough times even more troubling, and create significant financial uncertainty.
At Leonard Law Group, our team is dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals and families when they face off against insurance providers. Having dealt with insurance companies on a daily basis for decades in matters involving workers’ compensation and personal injury, we know they prioritize profits over people – even when those people are their own policyholders. We also know when their disputes, denials, and handling of insurance claims constitute bad faith, and how to help property owners assert their rights after they were treated unfairly.
What is Bad Faith Insurance?
Insurance companies are required by law to treat you fairly. This means they must properly handle any claim you file, and may not engage in conduct to shirk their responsibility of properly investigating a claim or paying what you are entitled to under your policy in a timely manner. Whether or not an insurance company’s actions or inactions constitute bad faith will depend on the individual circumstances involved. However, there are some common examples for why bad faith insurance claims are filed:
- Denying a valid insurance claim without an explanation
- Refusing or failing to investigate your claim in a timely manner
- Unreasonable delays in payment of a claim
- Misrepresenting the terms of your coverage
- Withholding information about your benefits
- Refusing or failing to settle a claim within policy limits
- Knowingly offering less than the value of your claim or what your policy covers
When insurance companies fail to treat you fairly, don’t handle your claim in a reasonable and timely manner, or commit wrongdoing when handling your claim, they may be acting in bad faith. Although disputes, delays, denials, and other bad faith dealings can cause policyholders to feel frustration and concern, it is important to remember you have rights, and you can fight bad insurance companies.
Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuits
Policyholders shouldn’t have to fight their insurance providers when filing a valid claim, but insurance companies who act in bad faith force policyholders to do so if they wish to recover what they rightfully deserve. Not only can fighting against an unreasonable delay, dispute, denial, or misconduct help you secure a positive resolution and the policy benefits you need, it can also ensure bad faith insurance companies are held accountable for their wrongdoing.
Because the legal and insurance issues involved in bad faith claims can be complex, working with an experienced lawyer can make the difference when fighting for what you deserve. Our attorneys at Leonard Law Group are passionate about protecting clients’ interests and leveling the playing field with powerful insurance companies that look out only for themselves, and we have the tools and resources to prevent insurers from taking advantage of what you don’t know, or how far you can go in the process when disputing without a lawyer.
By leveraging our insight, we can help you determine whether your insurance company has been acting in bad faith over claims involving a range of issues, including losses caused by water damage, fire, floods, theft, and more. We can also help explore your available options for the best possible resolution, whether that be through negotiation of a fair settlement, or litigation when insurance companies refuse to handle your claim appropriately.
To learn more about insurance claims and how our Chicago bad faith insurance lawyers may be able to help you, contact us for a FREE consultation.