Insurance companies assume the risk of an accident in exchange for insurance premiums. Your right to receive payment on a claim, whether for car insurance, homeowners insurance, medical insurance or other insurance, is that simple – or at least it should be.
In reality, many insurance companies would rather hold onto your premiums and pay you as little as possible on your claim – if anything at all. However, in Ohio, insurers have a legal duty to treat customers in good faith and deal with them fairly. When they don't, they're acting in bad faith, can be held accountable and The Robenalt Law Firm, Inc. can help you fight back.
How Insurance Companies Act In Bad Faith
Insurance companies can act in bad faith for many reasons, including denying claims outright, undervaluing claims, offering unfair settlements, delaying claims unreasonably, making the process more difficult and more.
- Denying claims outright. Many insurers simply deny legitimate claims outright. In some cases, they'll hide behind confusing contractual language which was written by the insurance industry for just that purpose. In other cases, they'll simply deny claims without a reason – leaving policyholders in the dark.
- Undervaluing claims. Insurance companies have set rules when it comes to valuing claims, all of which differ depending on what type of claim is filed. Sadly, many insurers simply don't follow their own rules – in the hope that policyholders won't question them.
- Offering unfair settlements. Insurers frequently offer unfair settlements as they know that many insureds are desperate. They hope policyholders will simply take what they can get and avoid the hassle of trying to obtain everything for which they're entitled.
- Delaying claims unreasonably. Insurers are required to settle claims within a reasonable amount of time based upon the facts and circumstances of the situation. However, similar to offering an unfair settlement, insurers know that many policyholders are desperate and delaying a claim settlement may result in a policyholder accepting it without question.
- Making the process more difficult. While insurers are supposed to treat policyholders fairly, many intentionally make the process more difficult by misrepresenting policy terms, ignoring or delaying responding to letters and phone calls, requiring unreasonable or unnecessary paperwork to fulfill claims, failing to promptly or properly investigate a claim or provide a defense.
Insurance companies who successfully act in bad faith end up with more money in their pockets, while policyholders end up with little or nothing – and a lot of headache.
Why Do Insurers Often Get Away With Acting In Bad Faith?
Insurance companies know that the average policyholder likely feels intimidated by taking legal action against a multi-million, or multi-billion, dollar corporation with a team of attorneys whose sole job it is to keep your hard earned premiums.
Aside from denying a claim outright, insurers know that making life difficult for policyholders who need their claims paid as soon as possible will likely result in a “low ball” settlement offer. In many cases, policyholders simply accept a lesser amount to be done with the matter and move on with their lives.
The bottom line is that insurance companies know they can get away with bad faith insurance practices. Is it fair? No. Can you do something about it? Yes. Will it cost you anything to fight back? Absolutely not – with the help of an experienced bad faith insurance attorney. At Robenalt Law, we fight insurance companies and big corporations daily and know that to get a fair result, you have to hire an experienced lawyer who will be aggressive.
Get Everything You're Entitled to – And More
When you've been the victim of a personal injury or you have suffered a significant property damage loss or fire loss, you will likely always be dealing with an insurance company. While most insurers have a team of lawyers to represent their best interests, it's equally important to have someone representing yours.
Depending on the type of personal injury or property damage loss you suffered, you may be entitled to compensation in the form of:
- medical expenses already suffered and those likely to be needed in the future
- lost income and loss of potential future earnings
- physical pain and suffering
- emotional pain and suffering
- loss of consortium
- permanent physical disability or disfigurement
- replacement of the fair market value of the property damage loss
These are only a few of the most common forms of damages available and it's important to realize that every situation is different. Courts may also award additional damages when insurance companies act in bad faith.
Attorney Tom Robenalt understands bad faith insurance practices all too well. Having worked as an insurance defense lawyer at the start of his career, he saw how insurers treated their policyholders and the tactics they used to make their shareholders – not their policyholders – happy. Let his experience help you get everything you deserve – and more.
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We represent clients in Cleveland, throughout Ohio, and elsewhere. In many cases, there is no fee unless we win.