Insurers involved in tortious bad faith conduct may be liable under several doctrines: fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and statutory violations. At Kadetskaya Law Firm, our life insurance attorneys will analyze your case and will help you determine which course of action to take.
Fraud: Fraud is the most common cause of action supportable when the insurer acts so badly it appears that the insurer, from the inception of the contract, never really intended to pay the claims.
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: Another theory to afford relief against bad claims handling practices by insurers is intentional infliction of emotional distress. The plaintiff in such cases has to prove outrageous conduct and severe emotional distress in cases involving life insurance, disability insurance, or medical insurance.
Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing: Insurers owe their insureds an extra-contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing. A breach of this duty may impose upon insurers liability in excess of policy benefits. It may take the form of compensatory damages or punitive damages.
Statutory Violations: The Model Unfair Trade Practices Act defines unfair claims practices, enumerates complaint handling procedures, and preserves insureds’ rights to enforce other state laws (statutory as well as common law). Many states have enacted rules or regulations similar or related to the Model Regulation. The Model Regulation deals with file and record documentation, misrepresentation of policy provisions as to coverage, acknowledging communications from insureds, investigations of claims and prompt, fair, and equitable settlements of claims. The Model Regulation sets forth the following specific time limits for insurers:
1. Ten working days in which to acknowledge communications from insureds;
2. Thirty days in which to complete an investigation of claims;
3. Fifteen days in which to respond after insureds present proof of loss either insuring or denying the claim or stating why it will take more time to make a determination; and
4. If more than 45 days from receipt of proof of loss is needed to make a determination the insurer must again notify the insured setting forth the reasons why additional time is needed and must continue to notify the insured every subsequent 45 days until a determination is made.
An insurer’s misconduct in refusing to make payment or delaying in making payment justifies the imposition of statutory penalties if the refusal or delay is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, without reasonable or probable cause or in bad faith.
If you find yourself in a situation where the insurer has handled your claim in an unfair manner, you may have legal recourse for bad faith. At Kadetskaya Law Firm, we handle various types of bad faith insurance cases. Our bad faith insurance attorneys will help you recover monetary penalty, interest and attorney’s fees from the insurer.
No Legal Fees Unless We Win Your Case!
Our attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. It means that we do not charge legal fees unless we collect the life insurance proceeds for you. Only then will we charge a reasonable legal fee. We take pride in offering competitive contingent fee structures and will work with you to ensure you are comfortable with the fee. If your claim has been denied or delayed, call our life insurance lawyers for help. We have the experience you can trust.