Everyone who purchases insurance expects the protection to be there when it is needed. Some insurance coverage is actually mandated by legal requirement, such as automotive insurance and home insurance when a property is mortgaged.
Premiums are due at a certain time and date, and all insurance companies are strict about the paying of premiums. However, the same insurance providers can be very difficult when the time comes to file a claim because they have significant power in attempting to reduce or delay any claim, if not outright deny they are responsible to provide benefits.
Any of these three issues could constitute bad faith negotiation tactics on the part of the insurer; when an experienced bad faith insurance lawyer in Atlanta can investigate the issue and craft a legal case outlining the insurance provider’s “willful misconduct” or unethical activity. If you believe that this has happened to you contact Ted A. Greve & Associates today and schedule a complimentary consultation.
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What is Bad Faith?
All insurance companies are held to a particular standard when processing any damage claim. They are required by law to investigate the claim promptly and respond with a decision on coverage within a reasonable time frame, which is usually within at least 60 days. While many insurance companies are compliant in this regard, they also implement investigation tactics that benefit the company more so than the claimant. There is no technicality so small that an insurance claims adjuster will not use it as a reason to benefit the company profit margin and either deny the claim or offer a low estimate settlement amount. Claims are settled regularly for less than full benefits with claimants who do not have legal counsel. This is often because they trust the agent and consider the attorney an unnecessary expense. This is usually flawed thinking, as insurance companies will use bad faith in any manner they can if they think the claimant will not retain legal representation.
Examples of bad faith tactics can include:
- Denying a claim without cause
- Purposely delaying a claim payout
- Failure to properly investigate the claim
- Failure to accept valid documented evidence
- Using unreasonable technicalities to deny or reduce a claim
- Failure to defend a potentially negligent client
- Failure to pay up to policy limits when applicable
These are just some examples of when an insurance provider is skirting or violating the law in regards to paying valid benefits. The insurance company can legally force a claim into court for an official ruling, often occurring when they are claiming considerable comparative negligence against the claimant or attempting to void a coverage policy on technicalities. This situation alone will require an Atlanta bad faith insurance lawyer to represent your case, and the sooner the better when the insurance company is being difficult. This is a sure sign they will take the case to court in hopes of a favorable ruling.
What an Atlanta Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer Can Do
The first step a bad faith insurance attorney can take is investigating the case. Plaintiff attorneys in civil tort actions are very similar to prosecuting attorneys in criminal cases, except the only penalties are assigned in financial terms. As an officer of the court, an Atlanta bad faith insurance lawyer can review all pertinent documentation and request any additional information from the company through a court order in crafting a case for validating the bad faith claim. It is important to understand that a bad faith claim is a separate issue from the actual denied claim, and the damages being requested are effectively punitive. Proving the original insurance claim can be vital to the bad faith claim, and an experienced insurance attorney can handle both legal issues. However, it is imperative to retain an attorney who specializes in bad faith insurance claims because of the highly technical nature of the evidence being used by either party. Many insurance companies have similar established policy protocols, and many times they mimic each other when the defense has been successful. An attorney who focuses their practice on these cases knows these tactics and will understand how to overturn the insurance company defense, including unreasonable comparative negligence defenses in original claims.
What Are Potential Damages for a Bad Faith Insurance Claim Lawsuit?
Potential damages from a bad faith insurance claim lawsuit will come in any of three types:
Potential Damages are economic claims for specific dollar amounts and supported by documentation, such as any type of generated bill resulting from failing to pay the claim.
General damages are non-economic financial recovery based on undue hardship placed on the claimant when the claim is denied or delayed, or for any ongoing problems associated with any long-term damage, whether it be financial, physical or both.
are meant as punishment imposed by the court, and the possibility of a punitive award for gross negligence as “willful misconduct” can easily be an incentive for the insurance company to agree to an ample settlement before even attending the first hearing. Insurance providers understand that punitive damages can be particularly excessive when your bad faith attorney in Atlanta can provide clear and convincing evidence by a “preponderance of the totality of circumstances” that the company demonstrated willful misconduct in handling the claim in any manner. Preponderance is a much lower proof standard than the criminal requirement of reasonable doubt, and an experienced bad faith insurance legal specialist will know exactly how and when they can achieve the burden of proof.
Contingency Fee Policy
Many bad faith insurance attorneys will accept a case based on a contingency payment system that allows them to process the claim and take fee payment at the time of the settlement. This is called a contingency fee, and typically the attorney will only take the case when they think they have verifiable bad faith established as a material fact. This means that Georgia state insurance claim processing rules and regulations will be the standard for a successful filing, and your bad faith insurance attorney from Ted A. Greve & Associates can discuss your case thoroughly before making a decision. Some cases are obviously bad faith issues, and a contingency fee arrangement is typical for valid cases.
Contact a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer in Atlanta
Always remember that bad faith claims against insurance companies are strongly defended, often even more than in a standard claim dispute, and that punitive damages could very well be the ultimate remedy for the claim based on the material case facts. Some evidence is material and some are immaterial, and the court is left to make that determination.
The expertise and experience of your attorney makes a major difference. That difference maker in Atlanta is the law firm of Ted A. Greve & Associates when whole compensation is being demanded. You only have one opportunity for financial justice, and it is imperative to make that opportunity count. Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates for comprehensive and aggressive legal representation.