The short answer is, yes! You can sue an insurance company if they fail or violate the terms of the policy/contract. Some common violations insurance companies make include refusing to pay properly filed claims, refusing to make payments on time, or even making bad faith claims. There are numerous laws that protect consumers and make it possible for policyholders to sue their insurers.
It’s hard enough dealing with everything you need to do after a car accident. As such, if you are forced to take on your insurer, the entire experience can feel harrowing and overwhelming. Here we will delve into the basics of suing insurance companies when they deny your claims or engage in any other misconduct.
Why Insurers May Deny a Claim
Insurance companies have plenty of reasons at their disposal to deny your car accident claim. While some are legitimate, others are not. The variety of reasons given include:
- Lack of coverage: It is common for insurance companies to argue that your claims are not covered by the policy you hold. For a better understanding, study the exclusion section in intricate details to understand your cover. It is important to note that ambiguities in insurance policies are judged in favor of policyholders and not the insurance companies.
- Application errors: Insurance companies can also claim that you made misrepresentations in your application, which nullifies your policy and the coverage therein.
- Claim errors: You should understand the requirements provided for your policy regarding how to notify the insurance company when making a claim. Some timelines can be as short as 24 hours.
- Insurance fraud: Insurers consider submitting exaggerated or false claims as insurance fraud. Such crimes carry criminal and civil consequences.
- Bad faith denial: As you might guess, the insurer will not give you this as a reason. They will simply give you a myriad of other reasons explained in policy jargon just to hide the fact that they do not want to pay you for your claim.
When Can I Sue the Insurance Company for Denying My Claim?
Insurance companies have numerous obligations to their policyholders. For instance, they must act in good faith, abide by the terms of the policy, and avoid all unfair trade practices. However, since the insurance industry is regulated at the state level, the precise duties of insurers will vary from state to state. All things considered, their obligations require them to refrain from:
- A delayed and inadequate investigation into policyholder claims
- Refusing to pay claims in instances where their liability is reasonably clear
- Failing to deny or approve claims within specified or reasonable timeframes
- Denying a claim while giving little or no explanation for the denial
- Failure to defend policyholders in liability lawsuits in cases where one or more of the claims are potentially covered by the liability policy
- Denying claims based on policy application misstatements after the period of contestability elapses
Policyholders who believe their claims were improperly denied and their insurer has stuck on their position should consider suing the insurance company. That said, if you find yourself in such a position where you are feel treated unfairly, it is in your best interest that you contact an experienced car accident attorney in Henderson, Nevada.
Consider seeking the services of the lawyer before they deny the claim, where possible. The presence of an experienced professional can go a long way in persuading the company to honor the contract and, therefore, agree to a fair settlement.
Different Types of Legal Action You Can Take Against Your Insurer
Keep in mind that every state has its own set of laws and statutes that regulate the insurance industry. These determine the kind of lawsuits you can file against an insurer. Every state gives consumers the chance to pursue breach of contract action, as insurance policies are contracts. Additionally, many states allow consumers to pursue bad faith tort lawsuits.
In some cases, you can sue the insurer under the unfair trade practices laws. The vast majority of states have trade practice codes and statutes specific to the insurance industry.
As you can appreciate, you will need a car wreck attorney to help you understand the damages available to you, given that every state has different rules pertaining to the different damages you can seek with a given lawsuit.
Compensatory damages such as lost wages and medical expenses are available in all the different lawsuits. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are only available in certain cases. Additionally, access to punitive damages could be restricted by the court or state law.
Top Tips for Suing the Insurance Company for a Denied Claim
Whether you are in the process of suing your insurer or you are simply contemplating, it is paramount that you stay prepared. Keep detailed records as the foundation of the lawsuit. Other tips to keep in mind include:
- Document your correspondence with the company and/or its representatives. Store all copies of emails. Always take notes of your phone conversations by taking note of the dates, the names, of the representative, and the content of the phone call. Always stay calm and clear-minded knowing that they are recording your calls.
- Maintain all the records of the insured property. Store pictures of all the insured properties and all the receipts of your payments. Importantly, take pictures of the property immediately after an accident.
- Record all the expenses you incur including repairs, medical bills, lost wages, and attorney’s fees. Always be honest in your record-keeping and assessment.
- Hire an experienced Henderson, NV car accident lawyer. Insurance law is complex, expensive, and time-consuming. You want to get it right the first time.
If you decide to sue your insurance company, having proper documentation will help your lawyer build a strong case.
Do Not Fight Your Insurer Alone
If you are looking to sue the insurance company for denying your claim or any other misconduct, you should consult a local car accident lawyer who is experienced and vastly knowledgeable to defend your rights and interests. Having endured the events that lead to the claim, the last thing you want is an uncooperative insurance company.
Additionally, you can rest assured the insurance company will come well-equipped with a team of lawyers to defend their interest. Level the playing field. Hire an expert car accident attorney from Nettles Morris today.