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Melissa Landau
Melissa Landau
Contributor • (866) 735-1102 Ext 614

“Bad Faith” claims: When your insurance won't make a fair offer

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Insurance companies and the insurance lobbies are running huge ad campaigns to convince the general public that Personal Injury attorneys are ruining peoples’ lives by convincing juries to return excess verdicts that bankrupt defendants. The question of the “excess verdict” is one we contemplate often at Abrams Landau Ltd. Why? Because insurers are spending more and more funds on fighting bona-fide claims with low settlement offers and delayed responses. These insurers and defense firms are forcing trials on cases where we, or other law firms, have offered to accept policy limits or sums bellow these limits.

If you are the defendant in an accident claim then your insurer is expected to “defend “ the claim. Your contract of insurance (your “policy”) states that the insurance company is to provide defense counsel and pay all judgments and verdicts up to the limits of the coverage you bought. Defending the claim should involve making reasonable settlement offers in order to protect YOUR PERSONAL ASSETS, YOUR reputation and YOUR good credit. Unfortunately, it’s usually about protecting THEIR bottom line.

Doug has been brought in to cases multiple times as a personal attorney for a defendant. In these situations he has protected the insured against an excess verdict payment when the insurance company refused to settle a claim against their policy. These are policies for which the defendant has paid premiums with the expectation that his or her insurance company would pay such claims.

We also see insurance companies and defense attorneys delay settlements in order to hold onto funds for longer periods of time or in the hopes that older claimants might die or give up on their lawsuits. In cases where lost opportunity is involved, indemnity grows as time passes. A client who loses his business because of an injury may very well need settlement funds in order to get back on track and back into trade. The longer a suit lasts, the greater his losses. Insurance companies are delaying negotiations strategizing that such claimants will give up or settle for less in order to move on sooner, refusing to acknowledge that the costs of these claims grow as the insurer delays settlement. This increase in the ultimate verdict places the insured at greater risk, for instance: insurance may be limited to $50,000, but the potential verdicts may increase from $75,000 to $125,000.

If you have a claim against you and you feel that your insurance company isn’t making a good faith attempt at settlement on your behalf then give us a call or send us an email. Doug or Lauren will take a look at your policy and help you to understand what your insurer should be doing to protect your credit and reputation.