When Insurance Companies Act in Bad Faith
We purchase insurance to protect our health, our home, our vehicles, and even our lives, from unexpected loss and damage. Insurance policies are meant to provide peace of mind so we can go about our lives without worrying about what we’ll do if tragedy strikes.
Of course, because of that, we trust insurance companies will be there to alleviate the burdens of an accident or injury when we need them most. This is why it can come as a shock when your insurance company is less than forthright when it comes to paying your claim. It is endlessly frustrating to deal with an insurance company that wrongfully delays or denies your claim altogether.
While we’d like to think we could work with our insurance companies without involving lawyers, insurance litigation is more common than you might think. When your insurance company fails to properly pay a claim covered by your policy, or meet its duty to you as its policyholder, you may need to file a lawsuit against your insurance company.
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When Can You Sue Your Insurance Company?
There are several types of claims against your insurance company. First, when you pay for insurance, you are entering a contract with your insurance company. That contract obligates the insurance company to pay claims as long as they are covered by the terms of the contract. When the insurance company fails to follow the contract, you can sue.
Additionally, the law usually recognizes a separate cause of action when your insurance company acts in “bad faith.” When your insurance company refuses to honor a valid claim, they are committing a legal wrong. An experienced insurance attorney, like those at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, can help you decide if you have a breach of contract claim, a bad faith claim, or both. Regardless of the type of claim, bad faith claims lawyers can help you collect the compensation you and your family deserve.
The bad faith insurance lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys represent those whose insurance companies failed to provide the coverage specified in their insurance policies. If you believe your insurance company has acted in bad faith towards your personal injury claim, our insurance bad faith attorneys are ready to fight for you today.
Call or use our online form to speak to our experienced staff right now. Speaking to Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys is completely free, and you won’t pay anything out of pocket. We don’t get paid unless we win.
Bad Faith Claims Lawyer Will Help Get The Compensation You Deserve
The bad faith insurance claims attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help when your insurance claim is wrongfully denied. We have helped many people obtain the benefits they deserve from their insurance companies.
Insurance policies are supposed to be there for your peace of mind. Whether you are involved in an automobile accident, a house fire, a burglary, or another unexpected disaster, insurance policies are meant to protect you, your family, and your belongings. In many cases, such as with home and auto insurance, consumers are required by law to carry insurance. It only makes sense that, if you must have insurance, you should be able to enjoy the benefits.
When your insurance company refuses to pay out on a valid claim or only agrees to pay a portion of your claim, you need a team of experienced attorneys who understand the insurance business.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our bad faith claims attorneys are well-versed in the tactics used by insurance companies to force you to settle for less than what you deserve. We have over 60 years of experience helping clients fight large insurance companies in bad faith claims, bringing you the compensation you deserve.
Our lawyers won’t charge a fee unless we win your case. This means that working with us has no risk to you. To date, we have won more than $1 billion in settlements and verdicts, and we’re ready to get to work on your claim.
Determining Whether You May Have a Claim Against Your Insurance Company
When your insurance company refuses to pay, you may need a bad faith insurance lawyer.
When a catastrophic event occurs, such as a car accident, house fire, or even untimely death, we expect that our insurance companies will follow through on their contractual obligations to pay. Insurance lawsuits happen when the insurance company doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain, either by not paying, delaying payment, or paying less than the policy’s full amount. At bottom, any time your insurance company acts in a way that keeps you from receiving money owed to you under your insurance policy, you may have a bad faith insurance claim.
If you are unsure if your insurance company is acting in bad faith, contact our team of bad faith claim attorneys today for a free consultation.
You may not only be owed the money from your policy claim, but additional compensation as well, including for any money you had to pay because your claim was denied. The consultation with a bad faith lawyer is free, and it may be the first step toward getting the full, fair payment you deserve.
Know Your Rights as an Insurance Policyholder
According to the Insurance Information Institute, state laws regulate insurance companies, guaranteeing that they are licensed, remain solvent and that their rates remain regulated. This helps to avoid bad faith insurance practices.
Beyond these regulations, insurance companies have several duties they must uphold to you, their policyholders. Failure to uphold any one of these duties may entitle you to file a legal claim and be considered acts of bad faith.
- Duty To Investigate – One of the primary duties of an insurance company is to investigate your claim and offer a monetary valuation. When your insurance company delays or refuses to investigate, they are acting in bad faith.
- Duty To Uphold the Policy – Your insurer has a duty to honor their obligations as stated in your policy. An insurance company is acting in bad faith if they do not uphold your policy or payout your claim as listed in your policy.
- Duty To Defend – Your insurance company may have a responsibility to defend you or provide legal representation against third parties and even to pay out judgments. This is called indemnification.
- Duty Of Good Faith – Your insurance company may not act in bad faith. Such a duty is implicit in all insurance policies, and in many states, the law explicitly prohibits bad faith tactics by insurance companies.
If your insurance company fails in its “duty to policyholders” in any way, contact the attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys. We know how to get you the compensation you deserve. And we don’t take a penny unless we win your case.
What Constitutes a Bad Faith Insurance Claim
“Bad faith” has a specific meaning in insurance law. In Pennsylvania, a bad faith action by an insurance company means “any frivolous or unfounded refusal to pay proceeds of a policy . . .[which suggests] a dishonest purpose and means a breach of a known duty (i.e., good faith and fair dealing), through some motive of self-interest or ill will.” Clunie-Haskins v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 855 F. Supp. 2d 380, 388 (E.D. Pa. 2012). Bad faith can look many different ways but put simply, this means that you may have a bad faith claim when your insurance company fails to pay you what you are owed under your policy, not because of a mistake or a miscalculation, but because they were acting in their own self-interest or actively wanted to avoid paying your claim.
This is different from a legitimate denial; an insurance company does not act in bad faith by acting negligently or by exercising bad judgment (though you may still have a cause of action if that bad judgment resulted in a breach of your insurance contract).
At bottom, if you believe your claim falls within your policy guidelines, and yet it was denied or unreasonably delayed, you should contact an attorney experienced with bad faith insurance claims. Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can, at no cost to you, help you understand your rights under your insurance policy.
Even with that definition, it’s sometimes hard to really know when your insurance company is acting unlawfully. How can someone tell if an insurer’s conduct is unreasonable or if the company acts in bad faith? There are some telltale signs in many cases, and a bad faith claims lawyer can walk you through them. However, the following examples may help you better identify bad faith insurance:
- Unreasonable Delays – If you are in a car accident and submit a claim to your insurance provider, you have the right to receive a response from them within a reasonable timeframe, usually between 15 and 60 days. If an unreasonable amount of time has gone by without reply from your insurer, you should contact a lawyer.
- Failure to Complete an Investigation – If your insurance company fails to complete a fair and accurate investigation of your accident or damage claim, you may need a bad faith claims attorney.
- Denial – Unreasonably denying a claim when liability is clear and damages are present.
- No Explanation of Denial – If your insurer denies your claim and fails to offer detailed explanation or documentation of why the claim was denied, they may be acting in bad faith.
- Deception – When you file a claim with your insurance company, your insurer has a duty to inform you of all of the proper deadlines as well as the appropriate paperwork that needs to be filed. Should your insurer fail to do so, you should contact an attorney immediately.
There are many other examples of wrongful denials of coverage. A bad faith claims attorney at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.
How Much Money Can I Recover?
A bad faith claims lawyer can negotiate with your insurance company and obtain proper compensation for you.
When your insurance company acts in bad faith, you have two choices. You can accept the denial of your claim, or you can contact an attorney. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our team of experienced bad faith claims lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
When you file a lawsuit against your insurance company, you may be eligible for several different types of compensation, depending on your bad faith insurance claim. The bad faith claims attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you receive the compensation you deserve, which may include:
- The original claim under your policy
- Interest on the claim
- Punitive damages in cases where the bad faith act was especially egregious
- Court costs and legal fees
If you believe that your insurance company acted in bad faith, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help. Whether you face a coverage denial, deceptive practices, failure to investigate, or other bad faith acts, you need a bad faith claims attorney to fight for you. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our experienced attorneys know how to win insurance company lawsuits. Call today for a free consultation. We don’t receive a penny unless you win your case.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bad Faith Insurance Claims
Fighting with your insurance company is endlessly frustrating. Insurance law, and your insurance policy, are complicated, and we understand that you may have many questions about your current situation. Because insurance claims often depend on the specific facts of your case, the best thing you can do is contact us toll-free at (570) 338-4494 for a free consultation. One of our attorneys can discuss your situation and answer any questions you have. That being said, below is a list of our clients’ most frequently asked questions regarding bad faith insurance claims.
Q: What can I do if I suspect my insurance company is acting in bad faith? What should I do before contacting an attorney?
A: Your best course of action is to document everything. Make a record of every conversation with your insurer and what you discussed. To the extent possible, follow up on any in person or phone conversation in writing, confirming the topics discussed and the insurance company’s position on those topics.
Additionally, keep all written and email correspondence. Keep photos of any property damage, and save all of your receipts or cost estimates for repairs. Likewise, make a record of all medical treatment and corresponding bills. This evidence will be very important when pursuing a bad faith insurance claim.
Q: Why should I hire an attorney for my bad faith insurance claim?
A: In order to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit and collect the full amount of benefits you are owed, plus the additional damages you could recover as a result of an insurance company’s bad faith actions, you will need an experienced lawyer. There many ways a lawyer can help.
First, insurance companies are no strangers to these types of lawsuits. Insurance companies will often pay top dollar for lawyers who specialize in defending against claims that they wrongfully denied coverage. You shouldn’t feel like you have to go up against your insurance company and their powerful attorneys alone. A qualified bad faith insurance lawyer will have years of experience working with insurance companies and their lawyers, and will know how to protect you from tactics that could keep you from recovering the money that you are owed.
Second, bad faith faith insurance claims can be avoided completely. Insurance companies make mistakes, and sometimes experienced attorneys can convince an insurance company to change its mind. At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we are well versed in the technical language of insurance polices, and can use that familiarity to your advantage. Because our lawyers are familiar with the industry and “speak the insurance company’s language,” we can sometimes obtain better, faster results than you might get negotiating with the insurance company alone.
Third, if the insurance company won’t give you what you deserve after negotiations, you must be prepared to file a lawsuit. As we mentioned, insurance companies are used to going to court. While many lawyers shy away from a courtroom battle, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys does some of its best work in the courtroom. If an insurance company knows that you’re ready, willing, and armed to take a dispute to Court, you could obtain better (and faster) results.
Q: How much does it cost to hire a bad faith lawyer?
A: At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we work on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not collect a fee for our services unless we win you the compensation you need. The contingency fee agreement protects you from financial risk in pursuing justice; instead, we take on all of the risk, and if we do not obtain compensation for you, you owe us nothing.
Contacting us also won’t obligate you to take any action. If, after your initial consultation, you decide you don’t want to pursue your claim, that’s ok. You still don’t owe us anything.
Q: How long does a bad faith lawsuit take?
A: The timeline for every bad faith case is different. In some cases, your bad faith insurance attorney may be able to obtain a payout from your insurance company by issuing a demand letter. This is a formal letter drafted by your attorney to challenge the insurance company’s decision, and explain, using the terms of your insurance policy, why you are legally entitled to benefits. If your insurance company responds in good faith, they may reverse their previous decision and pay what you’re due quickly. These cases can be resolved in just a few weeks to a few months.
However, if the company refuses to pay you what you are due after a demand letter, the case may go to court. While our lawyers are ready to fight for you, formal proceedings in court involve a lengthy process that can take months, or even several years, depending on the complexity of the case. Our lawyers will never let the insurance company drag their feet, but the process of building and litigating an effective bad faith insurance claim takes time.
Q: What if my insurance company offers to “settle” my claim, but it’s less than I think I am owed?
You should always check with an attorney before accepting any deal proposed by an insurance company. While sometimes insurance companies are willing to pay the money owed to you under your policy, if they agree to pay only after you catch the company acting in bad faith, you may be foregoing your ability to recover more.
Furthermore, sometimes by signing a deal before getting an attorney involved, you accidentally sign away rights you might otherwise have. For example, a claim against a third party. While we hope the insurance company is just recognizing that it owes you money, it is still best to check with an attorney to make sure accepting a deal, or signing a document, is in your best interest.
When an act of bad faith on the part of your insurer keeps you from moving forward, you need a bad faith claims lawyer who can fight for you. Contact Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free consultation.
When your insurance company fails to protect you the way they should, you need a bad faith claims lawyer who can fight to get you the compensation you deserve. If your claim had been delayed, your insurance company keeps asking you for more information, or otherwise denied your insurance claim without reason, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help.
For more than 60 years, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys has been the go-to law firm for people who suffered harm because of another person or company’s wrongdoing. The bad faith claim attorneys at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys are recognized nationwide as the best at what they do. Our firm wins big while keeping our focus completely on you.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we believe that cost should not stand in the way of justice for the injured. Therefore, we do not collect a fee for our services unless we recover benefits for you.