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Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer on Your Side When Insurers Act in Bad Faith
An insurance policy is only helpful if the insurance company pays the policyholder’s claims according to the agreement and in a prompt manner. But insurance companies only stay in business if they collect more money in premiums than they pay in claims. Large-scale disasters in Alabama that spawn multiple claims, such as hurricanes or tornadoes, or individual claims that are costly can threaten an insurer’s bottom line.
It is not unusual for insurers to dispute, deny or delay payments for insurance claims as a means of saving money. However, there exists between the insurer and policyholder what is known as an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” This simply means that insurance companies are expected to treat their policyholders fairly.
Refusing to pay an insurance claim that is owed without a legitimate reason is acting in bad faith, or fraudulently. It is illegal and the law permits the policyholder to seek the claim payment owed plus additional compensation for the breach of contract.
When insurance companies break promises to their policyholders and act in bad faith, the law firm of Belt & Bruner is ready to step forward and hold them accountable. Our bad faith attorneys have extensive experience and background knowledge in all types of insurance policy disputes and bad-faith litigation. We have represented individual and business clients in disputes involving all types of insurance policies.
If you believe your insurance company is treating you unfairly, contact our Alabama business attorney at Belt & Bruner for a free initial legal consultation about your case today.
Insurance Company Obligations and Bad Faith
Insurance fraud and bad faith cases are filed under specific statutes and common law causes of action, such as misrepresentation, suppression and deceit. In the U.S., most courts have held that a special relationship exists between an insurance company and its policyholders, which requires the insurance company to act in good faith toward the insured. This means that the insurance company is under a legal obligation to pay when it becomes reasonably clear that a claim is covered by the policy that the company has issued.
Insurance companies are required to respond to a claim within certain time limits. Companies that breach their duty of good faith and fair dealing may also be held liable under certain state deceptive trade practices acts.
How Our Bad Faith Attorneys Can Help
As attorneys representing insurance policyholders who have been treated in bad faith by an insurer, we work to gather evidence to show:
- A valid insurance contract existed
- The insurer intentionally refused to pay the claim
- The insurer had no legitimate reason for refusing to pay the claim
- The insurer knew there was no legitimate reason to deny the claim or intentionally failed to determine whether there was any lawful basis for its refusal to pay the claim.
Common Bad Faith Tactics Used to Deny Valid Insurance Claims
There are many tactics an insurer might employ in a bad-faith attempt to defraud a policyholder by refusing to pay a legitimate claim. Some examples of deliberate misrepresentations or deceptive practices by an insurer include:
- Misrepresentation of records or language in the policy, or failure to disclose policy provisions, exclusions or limits
- Arbitrary or unreasonable demands for the policyholder to prove their loss
- Using improper standards for denying the claim
- Not investigating the claim as required by the policy or insurance company procedures
- Unreasonable delay in settling a claim
- Abusive or coercive tactics to compel acceptance of a settlement
- Unreasonable legal action against the policyholder.
Unfortunately, recent court cases have made it easier for insurance companies to prevail in bad faith cases brought in Alabama. The Alabama Supreme Court has held that if the insurer’s investigation establishes a legitimate or arguable reason to refuse to pay a claim, the evidence creates “sufficient condition” by which a bad faith claim can be denied.
However, it remains important for policyholders to hold accountable insurers who would operate in bad faith. With experienced legal counsel, insurance fraud claims can be pursued toward a more advantageous negotiated settlement or a court ruling for the policyholder.
Our experienced Alabama business law attorneys at Belt & Bruner are ready to stand up for you if you have been mistreated by an insurance company and have a potential insurance fraud claim. Our bad faith attorneys understand Alabama insurance law and the composition of insurance policies. We are aggressive negotiators who are more than ready to take insurance fraud cases to court when necessary.
Speak With a Birmingham Insurance Dispute Lawyer Today
If you are being unfairly denied an insurance policy payout, consult the Birmingham, Alabama law firm of Belt & Bruner about the legal options available to you. The staff of Belt & Bruner is committed to achieving the best possible outcome in every insurance fraud case we pursue.
We offer a free initial consultation to review whether you have a valid legal claim. If our firm pursues a bad-faith insurance fraud claim on your behalf, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. Our payment for attorneys’ fees and expenses is a percentage of any money we recover for you. We cover all expenses associated with pursuing your case until we successfully resolve the case and recover money for you. Then we will accept an agreed-upon share of the compensation obtained for you. If we do not recover compensation for you, then you pay us nothing.
Contact our Birmingham bad faith lawyers today for a free consultation.
Contact our law firm to work with dedicated attorneys who are prepared to give the personalized attention you need and deserve.
Belt & Bruner serve people throughout the state of Alabama, including the cities of Anniston, Birmingham, Gadsden, Huntsville, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. With bad faith attorneys licensed in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, New Mexico and Colorado, our legal team handles cases throughout the Southeastern United States.
To schedule a no obligation consultation with an experienced Alabama insurance fraud lawyer, complete our contact form or call us (toll free) today.