There is insurance for almost every type of need, such as health insurance, home insurance, car insurance, and flood and hurricane insurance. In the best case scenario, premiums have been paid for years and a claim is never filed. However, many valid claims are filed each year. In the United States, there are around 1.4 billion health insurance claims filed every year, according to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Also, many claims are filed for home, auto, and life insurance.
Some insurance companies try to underpay or get out of paying anything to the policyholder. In this case, the policyholder can sue the company for a bad faith insurance claim. When this happens, the policyholder should seek legal recourse as soon as possible.
Generally, a bad faith insurance case must show that the valid claim met the terms of the policy and benefits were withheld, and the insurance company was unreasonable in withholding the benefits. Insurance companies can use a variety of tactics to avoid or reduce the amount they owe to a customer who has filed a claim, including:
Insurance companies have a legal responsibility to provide the protection that the policyholder has paid for. They are required to act in good faith and deal fairly when settling a claim. Not every claim that gets denied is an issue of bad faith on the part of the insurer. It is possible that the policy did not cover the damage being claimed by the policyholder or that mistakes were made in filing the paperwork. It is true that insurance policies are full of fine print and difficult to understand. A claimant who feels they are being treated unfairly and in bad faith by their insurance company should seek legal representation from an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer.
There are several different kinds of compensation that a plaintiff in a bad faith insurance claim can try to recover. The goal is to recover the amount that the initial claim was seeking under the insurance policy. Additional damages can include the cost of legal fees for the suit and other legal fees incurred, such as those for defending a lawsuit that resulted from lack of coverage by the insurance company and punitive damages.
Punitive damages in a bad faith insurance case are different from those in personal injury cases. Insurance companies are most often large companies with billions of dollars in assets and teams of lawyers. Awards for punitive damages in bad faith insurance suits can be very high and are meant as a signal to companies who break the implied covenant of good faith. Without the assumed promise of good faith, an insurance policy is worth nothing.
Insurers will seize on minor errors to delay or avoid paying. To minimize the risk of an insurance claim being denied, there are several precautions a consumer should take when filing a claim:
If one wishes to file a bad faith insurance claim, it is important to retain a lawyer right away.
You may have paid insurance premiums for years only to find that your insurance company walked away from their obligations to you as a policyholder. A Pittsburgh bad faith lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. is ready to fight for the compensation you are entitled to. Call us at 412-765-1888 or complete our online form for a free consultation about your case. Located in Pittsburgh, we represent clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Lawrence County, Allegheny County, and Washington County.