How to File an Insurance Bad Faith Lawsuit
Purchase of an insurance policy is meant to assure peace of mind and security in the event of an accident, poor health or a natural disaster. However, depending on what was contracted for in the insurance policy, not every accident, medical issue or natural disaster may trigger coverage from the policy. Sometimes, there may be a dispute regarding whether a certain event is covered under the policy or not. Other times, an insurance company may be denying the claim without adequate basis. In any case, in order to determine whether there is coverage, one needs to thoroughly review the insurance policy.
The Insurance Contract
The insurance policy in question is the contract between an insuree and insurer that determines the terms of the contract and what events are covered. It will also include important definitions to provide as much clarity as possible regarding the terms. Another important term in the policy is the policy date and coverage period. If the event in question occurred before the policy began or after the policy period ended, there may not be coverage under that policy. Also, the insurance policy will provide important information on the limits of the policy in terms of the total amount it will cover.
If the insurer denies coverage without adequate basis or due to bad faith, that insuree may have a strong case for insurance bad faith lawsuit. However, when an insuree has a need for coverage and makes a claim, it is important to follow some guidelines.
The statute of limitations refers to the time period one has to bring a claim. Because the date in which the time clock starts running can be difficult to determine, it is important to keep track of dates of when events occurred. It is advisable to contact the insurance agency immediately upon the occurrence of an accident or other event. When it is uncertain whether a claim should be made or when, it is advisable to contact an attorney with experience in insurance coverage or litigation without delay.
It is very important to document correspondence with the insurance company in order to preserve the insurance claim. Maintaining a log of the events, telephone conversations and correspondence will provide a timeline and sequence of events. This log can help establish the time period from when the claim was made and how the claim was handled at the insurance company leading up to the denial of the claim.
Also, it is important to keep a record of all the insurance agents, claim file handlers and adjusters involved in the claim. In the event of litigation, these individuals may be asked to appear for depositions and trial. Their testimony will provide crucial evidence needed to establish bad faith or negligence in their handling of the claim.
State Department of Insurance
Each state has a department of insurance that regulates insurance companies. These departments are charged with the duty to ensure that the public is protected from unjustified denials and bad faith by insurance companies. Providing notice to the department will initiate investigation of the insurance company. The state insurance department may also assist in settlement of the insurance claim.
Insurance Claim Demand
Before filing a lawsuit against the insurance company, one needs to make a settlement demand. This is often referred to as the final demand letter. This letter usually provides the basis for why the claim should be covered and provide evidentiary support. Additionally, the demand letter notifies the insurance company that if the company fails to respond within a given time, a lawsuit will be initiated. This letter is required to show that the one made every effort to settle the claim before initiating a lawsuit.
If the insurance company fails to settle the claim or respond, one can initiate a lawsuit. Lawsuits against insurance companies can be very complicated involving causes of action based on bad faith, fraud, negligence and breach of contract. It is important to consult experienced insurance litigators to initiate the lawsuit to make certain that the case is handled thoroughly to obtain maximum damages.
Pittsburgh Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. Fight for Your Rights
Attorneys at AlpernSchubert P.C. have extensive experience handling insurance bad faith litigation. If you have suffered due to the bad faith actions of your insurance company, you may have a strong case against them. We will advocate on your behalf so that the insurance company compensates you for its breach of its obligations. Contact us online or call 412-765-1888 or 800-243-6095 to arrange a consultation with a seasoned Pittsburgh bad faith insurance lawyer. From our offices conveniently located in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout the state of Pennsylvania, including those in Allegheny County, Lawrence County and Washington County.