We trust our insurance providers to be there for us in those challenging situations when we suffer unexpected injury, loss, or damage. But what if the companies we pay to protect us when things go wrong don’t hold up their end of the bargain? What can you do when an insurance company is dishonest or denies your claim without a valid reason? Can you file a lawsuit against an insurance company? In many cases, yes, depending on the circumstances.
If an insurance company violates the terms of the insurance policy, you may be able to sue with the help of an experienced attorney. Laws exist to protect policyholders from unscrupulous insurance company practices. In some situations, suing the insurance company is the best way to ensure that a fraudulent company is held accountable and consumer rights are not violated. Often, without legal action, a company is allowed to continue its corrupt practices and deny many future policyholders the compensation they need to recover after injury. As legal advocates for our clients, we use the law to prevent this harmful situation from happening.
If you were injured in a motor vehicle or other type of accident and are dealing with an insurance company you believe may be using dishonest, deceptive, or illegal practices to deny you compensation, reach out to our firm. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys have a long history of successfully dealing with insurance companies. Our lawyers will be able to advise you of your legal options based on your specific circumstances.
Why You Might Need to Take Legal Action Against an Insurance Company
When an insurance policy is purchased, there is an understanding that the insurer has a legal obligation to fulfill certain duties. These duties include things like providing insurance coverage and paying valid, covered claims, as well as upholding all terms of the policy. When an insurance company fails in its duties, policyholders suffer the consequences. This happens more often than we might hope to believe. Sadly, it’s not uncommon to find that insurance companies put profits above the needs of their customers. This might include using unreasonable delays to avoid payment, deliberately undervaluing claims, bullying policyholders into dropping claims, or abusing the language of an insurance policy to make excuses for denying a valid claim.
We know there are many tactics used by insurance companies in an effort to deter or avoid payment after an accident. When we evaluate your case, our attorneys will investigate to determine whether and how the insurance company acted wrongfully or in bad faith and what type of lawsuit or action you may be able to bring against the insurance company. This will also include understanding in what way your life was impacted by your insurer’s wrongdoing, what types of damages you are eligible to seek, and how much compensation you need to recover losses such as medical bills and lost wages. In some cases, the best course of action may be to file a bad faith claim against the insurance company.
What Is a Bad Faith Claim Against an Insurance Company?
The term “bad faith” describes a situation in which an insurance company deliberately violates the terms of an insurance policy or refuses to pay a valid claim. Part of the responsibility of an insurance company is to pay valid claims that are covered under the policies they sell. But oftentimes, a company motivated by profit will look for means to reduce the amount of payment they provide customers, or even ways to avoid payment altogether.
If it can be proven that an insurance company acted in bad faith, the company may be subject to legal liability for the damages caused to the policyholder. Bad faith laws are essential to promoting corporate accountability, and they also provide a means for victimized customers to recover what has been taken from them through deceptive practices. Your lawyer will be able to provide guidance on whether or not a bad faith claim is applicable under the facts of your particular case.
Insurance bad faith can come in many forms. The following list contains examples of actions that can be considered bad faith insurance practices:
- Refusing to pay valid claims
- Paying less than a claim is worth
- Attempting to force customers into too-low settlements
- Deliberately causing delays to discourage customers from filing claims
- Dragging processes past deadlines to avoid payment
- Bullying or deceiving policyholders into saying things that can be used to deny a claim
- Refusing to communicate with customers, intentionally ignoring calls or messages
- Threatening policyholders with intimidating language
- Complicating the claims process to confuse or dissuade customers from filing claims
- Misinterpreting the terms of the insurance policy
- Misleading customers on what insurance policy terms mean
- Ignoring available evidence in order to deny or devalue a claim
- Denying a claim without a valid reason
While these are some of the more common examples of bad faith in the insurance industry, there could be other actions or behaviors that would fall under the category of insurance bad faith. In most cases, intentional steps taken to cheat a policyholder out of the payment they legally deserve can be considered bad faith. The totality of the circumstances must be considered.
Bad Faith Claims in Uninsured/ Underinsured Motorist Claims
For drivers in Illinois, the possibility of being involved in an accident with a motorist who was uninsured or underinsured is all too real. Getting into a collision caused by another driver is terrifying in and of itself. Learning that the other motorist is uninsured or underinsured can make matters even worse. Even if you hold an uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance policy, you may find that things don’t go as smoothly as they should. To complicate a challenging situation even further, insurance companies have been known to be less than forthright when handling these types of claims. This is an incredibly difficult situation for an injured car accident victim to face.
Fortunately, bad faith claim laws can still apply to situations involving uninsured or underinsured motorist claims under the right circumstances. The attorneys at our firm have experience with UM and UIM claims, as well as bad faith claims, and we thoroughly understand the circumstances under which a bad faith claim can be brought against an insurance company.
Filing a Lawsuit Against an Insurance Company
No matter how much insurance coverage you’ve purchased, even if you hold an umbrella auto insurance policy, it is meaningless when the company you’ve hired to protect you doesn’t do what it should. When you file an insurance claim, it means you have been hurt or suffered damages. An insurance company should never take advantage of a person’s most vulnerable times in life to save money. At Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys, we believe that no one should be cheated by insurance companies eager to protect their bottom line.
The lawyers at our firm have years of experience handling insurance claims. If you believe an insurance company may be acting in bad faith, reach out to our office for a free case evaluation. We will work hard to thoroughly understand the facts and circumstances of your situation so we can best advise you of your legal options. We will offer an honest opinion about whether or not you have grounds to sue the insurance company in question.