Despite being multibillion-dollar empires, some insurance companies have no problem throwing policyholders like you under the bus to make an extra buck. They may put up a wall of bureaucracy to try to keep you from getting what you are owed. Some insurers will outright deny a claim that is valid just to make more money, government investigations have concluded.

You count on your insurance company to be there when you need it. That’s what you pay them for. When your valid claim is denied or undervalued, or your payments are delayed, your entire future can be thrown into jeopardy. If you can’t fall back on your insurance policy, where do you turn?

To best challenge your insurance company’s refusal to pay out on your policy, you’ll want an attorney on your side who knows the legal obligations of your insurer. If you believe your insurance company has wrongly denied your claim, you should speak with an attorney about your situation. Contact Harlan Law PC today at (619) 870-0802 for a free consultation.

 

What is ‘Bad Faith?’

Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, but selling an insurance policy is different from selling most products. The law includes specific duties that insurance companies have to policyholders. It’s called an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” and it means just that: Insurers have an obligation to investigate, negotiate and settle all claims in good faith. Profits are not supposed to come in the way of fairly administering the terms of an insurance policy.

When they do, it’s called insurance bad faith, and it can be the subject of legal action. Here are some common actions by an insurance company that might constitute bad faith:

  • Requiring you to provide unreasonable documentation
  • Failing to completely investigate your claim
  • Failing to provide a clear reason for a denial
  • Unreasonably delaying payments
  • Offering far less than your claim is worth
  • Failing to disclose policy limits
  • Excessive delays in acknowledging or adjusting your claim
  • Failing to abide by the terms of the policy
  • Incorrectly or unfairly interpreting policy language

Take the case of Unum, for example. Unum is one of the largest providers of disability insurance in the world, posting annual revenues in excess of $10 billion. A government investigation in 2004 found that the company denied valid claims as a business tactic to maximize profits. The company actually went as far as to establish quotas to incentivize its employees to deny valid claims. While Unum boosted its bottom line, the Americans who paid the company to have their backs were the ones who suffered.

Bad faith is typically more subtle, however. Let’s say you are in a serious car accident, sustaining medical expenses totaling $2,500. Your insurance company says it will only pay $1,000 and refuses to provide a legitimate explanation for why it will only pay so little. The company may be acting in bad faith.

This type of behavior is ethically and legally unacceptable, and companies that do business this way need to be held accountable so that ordinary Americans are protected.

 

Why You Need an Attorney

Insurance companies have lawyers on staff whose job is to keep you from getting what you are owed under your policy. You can and should appeal your denial, but it can be a true David vs. Goliath situation going up against a multibillion-dollar corporation alone — especially when you have your health to worry about.

This is why you need someone on your side. You need someone who knows how to hold insurance companies accountable. When you hire an attorney, your attorney will get to work fighting for what you deserve, leaving you to focus on your health and your family.

Because each claim is different and because policy language varies, there is no cut and dry formula for determining whether a company’s actions amount to bad faith. It is likely in your best interest to have an experienced attorney examine your claim and your insurer’s actions to determine if you have a valid bad faith lawsuit.

In the U.S., our laws allow for companies to be financially punished for their malicious behavior in insurance bad faith cases. These are called punitive damages, and it means that you may be entitled not only to the money you were wrongly denied, but also to additional compensation if your attorney can prove that your insurance company deliberately acted in bad faith.

 

Contact Harlan Law PC

Jordon Harlan is a San Diego attorney who will go up against any insurance company on behalf of a client. His clients know that unlike their insurance company, Jordon is there when they need them. He will always fight for the maximum possible compensation in every case, so you can rest assured that he will leave no stone unturned.

Harlan Law PC offers free consultations with no obligation. If you believe your insurance company is acting in bad faith, call (619) 870-0802 today or contact us online to speak with an attorney about your options.

 

 

 

 

 

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