We purchase insurance policies with the hope and expectation that if we need make an insurance claim, coverage will not be unfairly denied. Unfortunately, insurance companies are most profitable when they receive a large quantity of insurance payments and pay very few benefits. For this reason, some times insurance companies’ best interests are not aligned with the best interests of their policyholders.
When insurance companies fail to provide contracted–for coverage, fail to competently investigate claims, unreasonably delay benefit payments, or fail to settle a case within an insurance policy’s limits, they may be engaging in illegal bad faith behaviors. Thus, if your automobile insurance company or homeowner’s insurance company engaged in any of these behaviors after a car accident, motorcycle accident, or accident in your home, you may be entitled to compensation.
Insurers owe a number of legal duties to their policyholders. First and foremost, insurance companies have a duty to hold up their end of an insurance policy contract. This usually means that insurers must defend their policyholders in good faith and pay any judgments against the insureds.
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Insurers also owe a “duty of good faith and fair dealing” to their policyholders, which means that the insurance company must not break its word or use unethical means to avoid legal obligations. Even if an insurance company’s behavior was technically within the written terms of its policy, the company may breach its covenant of good faith and fair dealing if it is clear from the surrounding circumstances that the parties had a different understanding.
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After an accident, an insurance policyholder is often in a very vulnerable position. He may be injured, may have lost a loved one, or may be facing serious property damage. At the same time, the policyholder is expected to know how to deal with an insurance company that may not have his best interests at heart. Insurance companies know that policyholders have little experience dealing with the insurance industry, and too often they take an unfair advantage.
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The best way to deal with an insurance bad faith claim is to avoid it altogether. By enlisting the services of an experienced and competent attorney right after your accident, you could level the playing field and avoid unfair and unscrupulous insurance company tactics.
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If your insurance coverage was unfairly denied, or if your insurance company failed to live up to its end of the policy, call the experienced South Florida insurance bad faith attorneys at Anidjar & Levine. Even if you are unsure about whether your insurance company acted illegally, a free initial consultation with one of our insurance coverage attorneys can help you to understand what type of compensation may be available. Call our Fort Lauderdale office today at (800) 747–FREE.
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