You buy insurance for peace of mind; when something goes wrong your insurance will be there to make things right again. But what happens if the insurance company doesn’t treat you fairly or flat out fails to honor its promises?
An insurer owes a duty of good faith and fair dealing to its insured. If it breaches this duty, the insured may have a tort claim for “bad faith” in addition to a breach of contract claim.
In a “bad faith” tort claim, the insured’s damages are not capped by the policy he or she bought. If the insurance company acted egregiously the jury may award money damages to punish and deter insurance companies for similar bad conduct in the future. These punitive damage awards can be millions of dollars.
WHAT KINDS OF BAD ACTS CAN GIVE RISE TO A TORT CLAIM?
Some examples of bad acts by an insurance company include:
- Failing to pay valid claims
- Failure to settle within policy limits
- Failure to properly investigate or value a claim
- Deliberately delaying payment
- Insurance broker or agent negligence
- Refusing to defend a lawsuit
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A BAD FAITH CLAIM?
Bad faith is defined in part by court decisions and is ever-changing. Not every insurance company denial gives rise to a claim for bad faith. The first step to finding out if you have a claim is to consult with an experienced bad faith insurance attorney.
WHY CHOOSE BODE & COLLINS, P.L.C.
Attorney H. Christian (Chris) Bode has extensive experience with insurance issues, including bad faith cases. For many years Chris worked for insurance companies defending claims against them. Now, he works for people who are not being treated fairly by insurance companies and uses what he learned as a defense attorney to his clients’ advantage.
If you or someone you know has been denied a legitimate insurance claim, call or contact Chris Bode at Bode & Collins, P.L.C. today. He is ready to help.
At Bode & Collins, P.L.C., initial consultations are free. If we take your case we will front all costs and work on a contingency fee, meaning that you won’t owe any attorneys fees unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor.