Philadelphia Bad Faith Insurance Lawyers
You pay into your insurance policy with the expectation you will have a reliable financial safety net in the event of an accident, injury, or death. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous insurance companies place profits over their legal obligations to their policyholders and act in bad faith.
All too often, insurers unjustly deny their policyholders’ claims for no valid reason other than to avoid making payments. If your insurance company is failing to perform its duties, you may be dealing with a case of bad faith. As a policyholder, you have the right to challenge bad faith practices. Policyholders have two years to file a lawsuit against an insurance company on the basis of bad faith in Philadelphia. By taking your case to court instead of settling, you can recover additional economic damages plus punitive damages against your insurance company.
To arrange for a free and confidential legal consultation with our Philadelphia bad faith insurance lawyers, call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 today.
Protecting Your Legal Rights as a Policyholder in Philadelphia
While all insurers are concerned with keeping costs to a minimum, some take this goal to an extreme and wrongfully deny payments or engage in other bad faith actions. Fortunately, insurance companies which consistently and systematically place profits over their clearly defined legal duties can be held accountable by their policyholders.
If you have filed an insurance claim with an insurance company, by law that company owes you a duty to act in good faith. However, many insurance companies take extremely aggressive litigation strategies that aim to deny valid claims at any cost. If you believe that your provider is not complying with state or federal laws, it is critically important to contact our bad faith insurance lawyers as soon as possible. We may be able to help you file a bad faith insurance claim against your negligent insurer. In Pennsylvania, if your insurer is found liable, you may be able to recover the benefits of the policy as well as other compensation associated with your losses.
It is not recommended that you deal directly with the insurance company yourself, as this tends to lead policyholders into long and frustrating battles against representatives who simply try to minimize and devalue legitimate claims by coaxing statements out of accident victims. The last thing you need to worry about after you have been a victim of unjust or dishonest insurance practices is fighting with your provider just to be treated fairly.
Common Warning Signs of Bad Faith Insurance Practices in Philadelphia
There are many different problems which can lead policyholders to filing bad faith claims. Some common examples of issues our clients encounter include unwarranted claim denial, poor communication, threats or intimidation, failure to investigate, and outright fraud. If you notice any of these warning signs, there is a good indication that your insurance company is acting in bad faith and that you can file a civil suit against it.
Unwarranted Claim Denial
A common way insurance companies might act in bad faith is by denying a claim without reason. Insurance companies can deny claims if they have reason to, for example, if a claim is invalid or a claimant acted negligently. However, insurance companies cannot deny a valid claim for the sheer purpose of not wanting to pay a policyholder what they deserve.
Some insurance companies might hope that, by poorly communicating with a claimant, a claimant will accept a low settlement offer or revoke their claim altogether. This is acting in bad faith, as your insurance company has a responsibility to you to communicate during the claims process clearly.
Low Settlement Offers
As a policyholder, you have the right to certain compensation if you file a valid claim with your insurance carrier in Philadelphia. It is considered bad faith when an insurance carrier offers you a settlement that is considerably below what your policy should pay based on the claim in the hopes that you will be unaware of that fact and accept the settlement offer.
Pressuring a Claimant
Insurance companies cannot and should not pressure claimants into accepting a settlement. Carriers that are acting in bad faith might even go as far as to threaten a claimant should they refuse to accept an unsuitable settlement offer that does not reflect their current policy.
Failure to Investigate
During the claims review process, insurance companies have the responsibility and the right to investigate a claim thoroughly. Failure to do that might lead an insurance company to believe your claim is invalid, resulting in a wrongful denial of compensation. Refusing to pay a claim without conducting a proper investigation is another example of how insurance companies in Philadelphia might act in bad faith.
Failure to Quickly Review a Claim
In Philadelphia, insurance companies typically have 15 business days to review and reject or approve a claim. Insurance companies might intentionally delay the claims review process in an attempt to disrupt it. Failure to pay or deny the claim within a reasonable period might indicate that your insurance company has acted in bad faith.
Failure to Provide a Reasonable Explanation for Claim Denial
If your insurance claim was denied in Philadelphia, you have the right to know why. A warning sign that your insurance company is acting in bad faith is if it cannot provide you with a clear and reasonable explanation for why your recent claim has been denied.
Deliberate Acts of Fraud
Sometimes, insurance companies are overt in their acts of bad faith. For example, an insurance company might intentionally attempt to convince you of incorrect policy limits or mispresent the scope of your insurance altogether.
Refusal of Settlement Negotiations
In the event that you want to enter into negotiations with your insurance company and it refuses to, it might be acting in bad faith. Insurance companies intentionally trying to thwart the claims process typically do not want to negotiate with our bad faith insurance lawyers, as doing so might reveal their unethical tactics.
Bad Faith Insurance Claims vs. Breach of Contract Claims in Philadelphia
There is an important distinction to make between bad faith claims against an insurance company and breach of contract claims. Sometimes, these two things might overlap.
Any action by an insurance company to disrupt a claim or defraud a claimant intentionally is an act of bad faith. Breach of contract is when an insurance company violates your policy, or the contract you have, in any way. Bad faith claims typically involve unethical behavior on behalf of insurance companies. Breach of contract claims tend to arise when insurance companies fail to uphold their end of an agreement.
Some acts, such as failing to provide a claimant with the compensation they deserve based on their policy, might fall into both categories. It is not only unethical to deny compensation when a policyholder has a valid claim, but it is also a breach of the contract between a policyholder and an insurance carrier.
Because of this, claimants might be unsure whether or not to file a claim against an insurance company for bad faith or breach of contract. Our attorneys can investigate your claim and your insurance company’s actions to determine the right path to take following a wrongly denied insurance claim or other issues during the claims process.
Deadline to File Bad Faith Claims Against Insurance Companies in Philadelphia
Policyholders do not have unlimited time to sue an insurance company that acted in bad faith in Philadelphia. The deadline for such cases is two years.
You will have two years from the date your insurance company acted in bad faith to file a lawsuit in Philadelphia. Depending on the case, that might mean two years from unwarranted claim denial or two years from another act of bad faith.
Quickly filing a case in these instances is crucial, as insurance companies rarely want to accept fault for acting in bad faith or recognize the severity of their transgressions. Even if you already accepted a settlement from the insurance company, you may be able to file a lawsuit for additional compensation if you can prove it defrauded you or otherwise acted in bad faith.
Going to Trial Over a Bad Faith Claim in Philadelphia
When insurance companies act in bad faith, policyholders can typically benefit from going to trial in Philadelphia.
Suppose your insurance company acted unethically when offering a settlement or denying your claim. In that case, there is no reason to assume it will change its mindset during settlement negotiations for a bad faith lawsuit.
Instead, policyholders can go to court. There, they can prove exactly how an insurance company acted in bad faith during the claims process and recover additional damages. In bad faith claims that go to trial, policyholders may recover economic damages as well as punitive damages in Philadelphia.
Our Philadelphia Attorneys Can Assist in Your Bad Faith Issue
Call The Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940 today to set up a free case evaluation with our bad faith insurance lawyers.