Our attorneys at Cross & Smith are skilled Alabama insurancelawyers, and we are your ally if you are seeking justice for unfair treatment by an insurance company.
Insurance companies accept premiums from people, and in exchange agree to pay money when something happens that is covered by the insurance policy. There are many forms of insurance, including auto insurance, life insurance, health insurance, fire and home insurance, and so on. Insurance companies are motivated to collect premiums from their insureds, but they are not always eager to pay when there is a covered loss. Instead, people who have suffered covered losses often experience resistance from their insurance company when it comes time to pay.
This resistance to paying insurance policy benefits can take many forms. It can involve delay in investigating and processing claims, refusal to pay valid claims, offering “lowball” settlement figures and refusing to pay fair value for a claim, and using unreasonable interpretations of insurance policy language in an effort to avoid paying the claim. In cases of liability coverage where you have been sued for allegedly injuring another, your insurance company is obligated to provide a legal defense, and if a reasonable offer is made to settle within policy limits while the possibility of the injured party collecting more than the policy limits exists, the insurance company is generally obligated to accept that reasonable settlement offer and pay the injured party.
This type of conduct is known generally as bad faith. Unfortunately, bad faith insurance practices are not uncommon. Extensive bad faith insurance practices were seen, for example, with the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, resulting in countless bad faith lawsuits against insurers, and even a suit by the Louisiana Attorney General against numerous insurers for bad faith claims handling practices. In some cases, insurance companies have been found to have business practices coming from the highest levels of the company directing that policyholders be fraudulently denied benefits, given the run-around, and that payment of benefits be minimized as much as possible.
While it may not always seem like it, insurance companies have a duty to treat their own insureds fairly, and cannot put the interests of the company over the interests of the insured. Your insurance company must deal with you fairly and in good faith. This is true whether the insurance benefits involved are from damage to your home, an auto accident you were involved in, healthcare benefits, disability benefits, or any other sort of insurance coverage. When you are not treated fairly, your insurance company may be liable for the stress you suffer and any monetary losses you incur due to delay or the refusal to pay policy benefits. The insurance company may also be subject to punitive damages for its bad faith conduct.
Insurance policies are complicated, and mammoth insurance companies can be intimidating to deal with. Retaining an experienced Alabama insurance attorney can help you cut through the red tape and obtain the benefits you deserve. The attorneys at Cross & Smith deal with insurance companies every day, and have represented many policyholders in claims against insurance companies. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients for claims against insurance companies. If you have not been treated fairly by your insurance company, call us at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.