Each state has its own set of laws that address the selling of insurance policies and how loses on these policies are to be handled with an insured. Each state also has its own Commission which is in charge of making sure that companies doing business in their state are following the insurance rules for that state. Just because there are regulations pertinent to insurance companies, it does not mean that these companies don’t sometimes engage in activities that are contrary to state law. When a company violates these state mandated principles governing insurance agreements, it may constitute a breach of the policy or even be considered bad faith. The company taking to much time in making a decision on a claim or requiring unreasonable actions or documentation from an insured to prove a claim can evidence bad faith.
In addition to the value of the claim itself, the remedy for an company’s breach of the policy, an insurance company acting in bad faith may also be liable for damages for causing emotional distress to the plaintiff and perhaps even punitive damages if their pattern of conduct is so outrageous to disturb the general public. Types of insurance policies where a breach of the policy or insurance bad faith may occur include: homeowner’s insurance, fire insurance, uninsured motorist insurance, commercial insurance, life insurance and health insurance policies. Types of claims can include the following types of insurance losses: fire loss, theft loss, flood loss, weather related loss, automobile loss, commercial losses, health claims and life insurance claims.
Should you be involved in a situation where your company is denying your claim, demanding unreasonable hoops for you to jump through or is dragging its feet in advising you if your claim is accepted or denied, you should engage the help of an experienced insurance dispute or bad faith lawyer. The experience you should look for in hiring an expert insurance lawyer should be whether or not the attorney has insurance experience. Such experience should be in the form of whether or not the attorney has handled these types of claims before, whether or not the lawyer is a former insurance adjuster or whether or not the attorney has previously represented insurance companies at some time in his practice. A well-seasoned and experienced insurance lawyer will have many cases under his belt and will be familiar with all the language of the insurance agreement. Such language is usually highly technical and may be difficult for some to understand.
In addition to the experience a lawyer may have you also need to make sure that the insurance attorney has the resources and funds to be put forward in any insurance breach of contract lawsuit or any insurance bad faith litigation. The cost alone in these types of cases could run into the 4 to 6 figure range. Such cost include the hiring of insurance experts to provide a coverage opinion in your case and to provide deposition testimony. In short, these types of cases can be very complicated, technical and expensive. Therefore, take care in hiring an insurance dispute attorney and an insurance bad faith lawyer.