Bad Faith Insurance Settlements
Insurance Bad Faith Attorneys in Gainesville, FL
When you purchase an insurance policy for your car, home, boat, motorcycle or business, you enter into a contract with the insurance company. In exchange for paying your premiums, the insurance company agrees to provide coverage for specific risks up to a certain amount. If something occurs and you have to file a claim with your insurance company, you expect them to honestly evaluate the claim and provide fair compensation for your losses.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out this way all too often. Many companies will deny claims unfairly or try to underestimate a settlement offer in hopes you will take it and move on. It’s a simple fact that the fewer claims an insurer pays out, the higher their profits will be. Having to deal with an insurance company engaging in bad faith practices on top of your property damage and injuries can easily overwhelm you.
Signs of Bad Faith Insurance
Insurance companies have an obligation to investigate your claim and provide an answer within a reasonable amount of time. In legal terms, this means the insurance company is required to act in “good faith” provided you have paid your premiums and upheld your part of the contract.
While a denial is an understandable cause for a dispute with an insurance company, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are acting in “bad faith”. Perhaps your claim isn’t covered by your policy, or maybe you were found to be at-fault for an accident.
However, if an insurance company is ignoring your claim or denying you when it is clear the claim falls within your policy, you may have grounds for further action against the company. Other examples of “bad faith” tactics include:
- Your insurance company is misleading you or twisting the language in your policy.
- There is no reasonable basis for your claim being denied.
- Payment is delayed for a claim.
- Not defending you against any lawsuits if your policy includes liability coverage.
- Acting with complete disregard of the facts of your case or your rights.
Remember, an insurance company is well within their rights to deny your claim, but if your policy clearly covers the accident, you have a right to pursue legal options for obtaining compensation. If your claim is denied, carefully review your Declarations page or discuss your case with an insurance claims attorney specializing in insurance bad faith.
Understanding Your Insurance Policies
When you or a loved one sustains an injury, your first priority should be obtaining treatment. Serious injuries are already stressful situations for families. Having trouble with your insurance company just adds insult to injury.
Many states, including Florida, have laws like the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Act that help protect consumers from being treated unfairly by their insurance companies. However, this doesn’t stop an insurance company from delaying or otherwise offering a settlement that’s way too low.
In this difficult time, you need someone who can evaluate your case and represent your interests before powerful insurance companies. While it is tempting to accept the first offer and move on, it is imperative you speak with a insurance lawyer to ascertain the true level of compensation you need and are entitled to under your policy.
If an insurance company is found to be acting in bad faith, you may be eligible for the following:
- Full payout of your claim per policy limits;
- Any subsequent losses and costs, including missed time from work;
- Compensation for emotional distress;
- Compensation for attorney fees;
- In rare cases, punitive damages if it’s determined the insurance company acted with complete disregard for the facts of your case or your rights.
The best way to avoid getting caught in this situation in the first place is to clearly understand what your policy states, what it covers and what it doesn’t. Many cases simply involve a misunderstanding between the two parties and can be easily resolved. Another way to prevent these situations is to not accept the first settlement offer the insurance company throws at you. Take the time to discuss the offer with a Gainesville attorney before signing any contract, because once you agree to the offer, that’s it.
Insurance Lawyers in Gainesville, FL
Don’t let your insurance company push you around during this difficult time. If they are acting in bad faith by not evaluating your claim, providing a timely decision, or withholding payment after an approval, you should speak with an experienced bad faith insurance attorney today.
Attorney Michael D. Sechrest and his team at Warner, Sechrest & Butts in Gainesville have extensive litigation experience against some of the most powerful companies, including many insurance carriers who act in bad faith toward their policyholders.
Don’t delay – discuss your bad faith insurance case anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by completing our Contact Us form.