Insurance Bad Faith / Denials – Practice Areas
Insurance Bad Faith / Denials

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Insurance Bad Faith / Denials

When you buy insurance, you expect the insurance company to honor the agreement when you file a claim. However, when your insurance company fails to act in good faith, only seasoned Scranton bad-faith insurance attorneys like those at Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. can help.

What Is Bad Faith Insurance?

In Pennsylvania, statute 42 Pa. C.S. section 8371 deals with bad faith claims. As a leading Scranton bad-faith insurance lawyer, we often have to deal with cases where the insurance company tried to delay or deny a claim. Bad faith claims can put you in a tough spot, especially if the claim gets denied.

People purchase insurance to protect themselves from financial losses when they suffer property damage or personal injuries. In exchange for the premiums you pay, the insurance company has to fulfill a few duties and responsibilities. The two primary duties include:

  • Adhering to the policy’s terms and conditions.
  • Paying the valid claims covered by the policy.

In other words, your insurance provider should process the claim quickly and efficiently. However, that is not always the case. Some insurance companies try to deceive their insureds, resulting in a bad-faith policy situation. A bad faith claim arises when your insurance company does one or more of the following.

  • Misinterprets the language of the insurance agreement.
  • Delays processing your claim.
  • Makes random demands for proof of loss.
  • Engages in abusive tactics.
  • Asks you to pay for settlements in the form of processing fees.

No one is immune to bad-faith insurance practices. If you suspect your insurance carrier is acting in bad faith, contact a Scranton bad-faith insurance attorney immediately.

What Are a Few Examples of Bad-Faith Insurance Practices?

Insurers may act in bad faith with regard to a wide range of insurance policies. These include automobile, boat, and recreational vehicle insurance, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, business insurance, health, and disability insurance, life insurance and homeowner insurance, and others. It’s better to speak with a Scranton bad-faith insurance lawyer as early as possible.

First-Party Bad-Faith Insurance Claims

As a successful bad-faith insurance attorney in Scranton, PA, we often handle claims involving first-party claims. In such bad-faith claims, you have to deal with your own insurance company because they acted in bad faith.

Here’s an example, imagine your house got damaged by a fire. You would want your insurance company to pay fair compensation to get your repairs started. However, they keep delaying the claim for one reason or another, or they underestimated your claim. These may be grounds for filing a bad-faith insurance claim. Make sure to speak with a competent Scranton bad-faith insurance attorney first.

Third-Party Bad-Faith Insurance Claims

Not all bad-faith insurance claims are first-party claims. Sometimes, there could be a third-party insurer involved. These usually involve liability claims. They tend to be a little more complicated than first-party bad-faith insurance claims. A seasoned attorney in Scranton, PA, can help you untangle this mess.

These claims arise when you – the insured/policyholder – have to pay damages to someone, and your insurance provider fails to honor the settlement within your policy limits. For example, imagine you caused a car crash that injured someone.

The victim will most likely make an offer to settle. If the settlement is within your policy limits, your insurance company has the duty to accept it. However, if they refuse to give you a reasonable offer, forcing you to bear the expenses out of pocket, you might have grounds for a bad-faith insurance claim.

Again, these claims are often complicated. Make sure to consult a bad-faith insurance lawyer first. They can help you understand if you have a claim and how to proceed.

Commercial Bad-Faith Claims

As mentioned earlier, bad-faith insurance claims can arise in a wide range of policies. In short, these claims are also not limited to individuals. As a bad-faith insurance lawyer in Scranton, PA, we have dealt with cases where insurance companies have denied claims to organizations or businesses.

What Other Actions Warrant Consulting With a Bad-Faith Insurance Attorney?

Before you speak with a attorney, understand what can lead to a bad-faith insurance claim. Here are a few scenarios that might be grounds for such a claim. These situations include:

  • Unreasonable denial of settlement/claim.
  • Failure to investigate your claim thoroughly.
  • Denying your claim without an investigation.
  • Failure to start investigating your claim and confirm/deny your claim.
  • Failure to make coverage payments in a reasonable time.
  • Delaying coverage payments on purpose.
  • Failure to explain the claim decision or policy limits.
  • Implementing a standard that strays from the insurance industry standards.

What Damages Can a Bad-Faith Insurance Lawyer in Scranton, PA, Help You Recover?

If you are facing one of these situations, speak with an experienced bad-faith insurance attorney in Scranton, PA. Depending on your case, they may be able to help you recover the following damages.

  • The amount of your claim/coverage.
  • Interest on the amount of your claim/coverage at the prime interest rate, plus 3% from the date you made the claim.
  • Legal expenses like your lawyer fees and court costs.
  • Punitive damages.

But as mentioned before, each bad-faith insurance claim is different. You must consult a skilled bad-faith insurance lawyer in Scranton, PA, to understand your legal options. After studying your case, your lawyer can come up with the best possible legal strategy to help you get the compensation you deserve.

How Can a Scranton Bad Faith Insurance Attorney Help You with Your Case?

When you suffer from injuries in accidents or losses to personal property, you expect your insurance company to cover those damages. Sometimes, however, insurance companies refuse to pay benefits for valid claims.

Insurers may also unfairly delay payment of benefits, fail to settle a claim within policy limits, use unethical business practices, or expect policyholders to pay hidden fees. These unfair practices are known as insurance bad-faith practices.

At Scartelli Olszewski, P.C., our experienced Scranton bad-faith insurance attorneys represent victims of insurance denials and insurance bad-faith practices. If you believe your insurance company has violated the terms of your policy or that a third party’s insurance company owes you benefits, we encourage you to contact us today.