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How to Find the Best Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
When policyholders file claims with their insurance companies, they expect to be treated fairly during the claim settlement process. Because insurers control the claim settlement process, some of them cut corners when it comes to compensating policyholders for what they deserve to be compensated.
That is just one example of bad faith insurance.
Insurance companies sit on a large sum of money that far exceeds the money any policyholder can muster. The large disparity in wealth allows insurance companies to hire the best attorneys to dispute the claims submitted by policyholders.
If your insurance company committed one or more acts of bad faith, you have the right to seek the compensation you deserve. However, you cannot go it alone against an insurance company that has a seemingly endless supply of cash to fight litigation.
You need to learn how to find the best bad faith insurance lawyer.
The first stop on the road to hiring the right attorney is to schedule a free case evaluation with one of the insurance dispute lawyers at Morgan & Morgan. Since 1988, we have helped clients recover compensation for filing an insurance claim. Whether you bought a life, auto, or health insurance policy, our team of insurance dispute attorneys will work with you to recover the money lost because of a denied claim or an approved claim that falls well below the amount of money that you asked for in the original claim.
What Is Bad Faith Insurance?
Bad faith insurance is not a policy that is full of legal holes. It is about your insurance company failing to uphold its legal obligation. Some insurance companies refuse to follow the implied or expressed duties written into an insurance policy. Bad faith insurance can be accidental, such as forgetting to send a payment on a specified date. On the other hand, your insurance company might have knowingly tried to cheat you out of money.
There are two types of band faith insurance: First-party and third-party. First-party bad faith insurance involves just you and your insurance company. Every interaction that carries with it legal implications is conducted with a representative from your insurance company. Third-party bad faith insurance brings in a third party to the dispute. The third-party is typically the insurance company representing a policyholder that got involved in some type of accident with you. Third-party bad faith insurance can also involve a product liability claim.
What Are Some Examples of Bad Faith Insurance?
Before you learn how to find the best bad faith insurance lawyer, you should review several examples of an insurance company failing to adhere to its legal commitments. After suffering an injury caused by an accident, medical malpractice, or a defective product, policyholders need the financial support of their insurance companies to pay off medical bills, make up for lost wages, and cover the costs associated with property damage.
Unfortunately, far too many insurers take one or more of the following actions to commit bad faith insurance.
Unwarranted Denied Claim
If your insurance company denied your claim for an unjust reason, you might have enough evidence to file a claim of bad faith. This also applies if your insurer denied your claim for no reason at all.
Delay in Making a Decision
Some insurance companies operate on the principle that if they wait out policyholders, the policyholders will simply disappear. You have the right to receive a decision on your claim within a reasonable amount of time.
Conducting an Improper Investigation
Investigators working for your insurance company might conduct a deceptive, immoral, and/or illegal investigation into your claim. One example of this is when an investigator places an inordinate amount of pressure on a healthcare provider to submit less than conclusive medical evidence.
Insurance companies that operate in bad faith often make unreasonable demands on policyholders, as well as any other party involved in an investigation. Your insurance company might ask for irrelevant documents or records the company knows you cannot access.
Your insurance company might approve your claim, but the amount it agrees to pay out is far lower than the amount of money that you calculated before you submitted your claim. An experienced insurance dispute attorney from Morgan & Morgan can help you recover the full amount of what you are owed.
Increasing the Premium
Altering an insurance policy without your consent is considered an act of fraud. One of the worst examples of unlawfully changing the terms of an insurance policy is to increase the monthly premium without your approval.
In the worst cases of bad faith insurance, a company issues threats or tries to coerce a policyholder into not filing a claim. If you feel your insurance company has committed one or more acts of bad faith insurance, you should immediately contact an insurance dispute lawyer to determine the best course of legal action.
What Are the Monetary Damages for a Bad Faith Insurance Claim?
You have the right to recover monetary damages from an insurance company that conducts business with you in bad faith. Seeking compensation is one of the most important reasons for you to know how to hire the best bad faith lawyer who has earned a license to practice law in the state where you live.
The first type of monetary damages to recover is the full amount of your claim, whether your insurer lowballed you or refused to pay you any money. You should also seek the cumulative interest on the amount of the claim, which is the prime rate plus three percent on the date when you filed your claim. For an especially harmful act of bad faith, you might qualify for punitive damages. Finally, you want your settlement to cover court costs and attorney fees.
How Do I Hire the Right Bad Faith Insurance Attorney?
Before the Internet exploded into a cultural and socioeconomic phenomenon, plaintiffs involved in bad faith insurance cases let their fingers do the walking when searching for legal counsel in the Yellow Pages. Although digital technology remains a helpful tool when looking for the best insurance dispute lawyer, you still have a few old-school methods that can connect you with the right legal counsel.
Ask Attorneys for Referrals
You do not need to know an insurance dispute lawyer to find one. Asking lawyers that you know that practice other types of law can lead you to the best bad faith insurance attorney. Let’s say you work with an estate attorney to create a family asset protection trust. Maybe your estate lawyer knows an attorney who practices business law, with a specialization in handling bad faith insurance cases. Most attorneys stay in touch with college classmates, as well as the lawyers they meet during conferences.
Reach Out to the People You Know
Reaching out to friends and family members can help you connect with a state-licensed insurance dispute lawyer. If you cannot get a referral from the people that are closest to you, branch out by asking your neighbors and professional peers for recommendations. Just remember that getting a referral from someone you trust does not mean you do not conduct research on the recommended lawyer.
State Bar Association
This is where digital technology enters the picture. Every state bar association has developed a website devoted to helping potential clients find an attorney. The tool is called something along the lines of “Find a Lawyer,” and it can help you find the best bad faith insurance lawyer. Another advantage of going online to your state bar association website is you can discover whether a lawyer under consideration has committed one or more acts of misconduct while representing clients.
What Should I Look for in a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer?
Whether you receive a recommendation for an insurance dispute attorney or you have to start from scratch, you should know the factors that come into play for learning how to find the best bad faith lawyer. Not every lawyer possesses the same level of expert legal skills.
Specializes in Insurance Dispute Law
Experience matters when you search for an attorney, but the experience must come in two forms. First, any lawyer who makes your shortlist of candidates must specialize in insurance dispute law. You might come across one or more lawyers that claim they specialize in bad faith insurance cases when they specialize in another area of law. Bad faith insurance cases sometimes end up in court where you need an experienced litigator to represent you against your insurance company.
Second, you have to cross off your shortlist the candidates that cannot demonstrate a record of winning bad faith insurance lawsuits. The legal representation that you get should be a highly skilled litigator when it comes to presenting the evidence of your case. You also want to work with an insurance dispute attorney who knows how to negotiate favorable settlements for clients. Agreeing to a settlement before the start of a civil lawsuit saves you both time and money.
You are going to ask a lot of questions from the day when you meet for a free case evaluation to the day when a judge rules in your favor. The legal representation that you get for a bad faith insurance case must respond to your questions and concerns quickly. If you go with a law firm such as Morgan & Morgan, you want both the lawyer representing you and someone working at the office to be available for instant communication.
You should be able to discover how an attorney communicates before you sit down for a free case evaluation.
Positive Client Reviews
Word-of-mouth advertising has gone online in the form of client reviews. Both Yelp and Google represent popular platforms where a lawyer’s clients leave feedback. You want to look for common feedback like praise for the honesty and integrity of a candidate on your shortlist. Another website to visit is run by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The consumer advocacy organization has awarded Morgan & Morgan its highest rating of A+.
Get a head start for learning how to find the best bad faith insurance lawyer by scheduling a free case evaluation with one of the insurance dispute attorneys at Morgan & Morgan.