“Bad Faith” Lawsuits & Protecting Your Legal Rights
As you write out that monthly check for your insurance premiums – for your car, home or business – you have faith that your carrier will be there for you if you ever file a claim. Unfortunately, that faith is oftentimes misplaced, and you could be faced with ‘bad faith' tactics and claims processing from your own insurance company.
Bad faith insurance claims is a topic we are asked about often, and one that many people don't fully understand. As a law firm that handles bad faith insurance claims in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Port Charlotte, LaBelle and all throughout Southwest Florida, our attorneys are often asked to explain exactly what the term bad faith means.
When broken down into a basic premise, bad faith insurance claims arise when your own insurance company demonstrates an unwillingness to properly and adequately process a claim you have submitted. In most bad faith insurance cases in which we are involved, our client's own insurance company has failed to best represent the interests of the their client. Insurance carriers often do not conduct a complete and proper investigation following a motor vehicle accident insurance claim, and the same can be said about submitting a claim to your homeowners or business insurance company.
Let's say you are involved in a car crash, and another person has brought a claim for damages or injuries – or both – against you. This is when you are counting on your own insurance company to act in good faith, per the language of the contract you signed, and in recognition of the faithful payments you've been making every month. When you think about it, you will realize then, if you haven't before, that your insurance company is not in business to lose money. The job of your insurance agent is to pay as little as possible towards your claim, or completely deny payment altogether. When your own insurance company starts dragging their feet in fairly and adequately processing your claim, you have the legal right to file bad faith litigation against them.
If your insurance company does not sufficiently pay a reasonable amount to settle any claim brought against you, this can result in dangerous exposure to additional financial claims against you. And this is the time you need a fully qualified and capable bad faith attorney on your side.
Your insurance company has a duty to act in your best interests when it comes to settling a claim. But clients we deal with every day tell us that trying to deal with their own insurance company after a crash is one of the most traumatic and confrontational situations they have ever faced. It's at this moment that you will begin to notice your carrier – backed by their attorneys and claims adjusters – is less than willing to adequately compensate you for your losses. Between the aggressive and persistent efforts used by insurance companies to get you to record a statement after a crash to the foot-dragging delay tactics used in ‘processing' your claim, you will quickly learn who your insurance agent really works for.
RELATED: Car insurance, accident injuries, and you: Learn more in our free white paper Accident Injuries and Your Car Insurance.
Insurance companies both large and small use a “one size fits all” formula generated by a computer program to analyze your claim, and determine what they feel is a fair settlement. In so many cases we work on, an insurance company will not fully investigate or work to discover all of the facts pertaining to your case. If they cannot successfully get you to agree to a low-ball settlement just to close the claim out, you may be in for a legal fight that is clearly stacked against you. The hiring of an attorney with an intricate knowledge of Florida insurance bad faith law and how to aggressively negotiate with giant insurance companies is of the utmost importance if you are faced with this unfortunate situation.
If you are unsure if you may have a case for bad faith insurance litigation, it won't cost you a thing to sit down personally with one of our attorneys to review your circumstances. You are fully entitled to have your legal rights protected, and to a lawyer who will see to it that you receive the insurance benefit coverage for which you have been paying all these years.
Talk with one of our bad faith attorneys directly at 239-461-5508, or complete the information below to learn more about whether you may have a case.