When you have been consistently and faithfully paying your insurance premiums but your insurance company fails to act in good faith, you may feel hopeless and frustrated.
While most insurance companies uphold their contractual terms, some insurers do not honor their contracts with policyholders. If your insurance company fails to pay a claim for which you believe it is responsible to you, it may be acting in bad faith.
If you suspect that your insurance company has denied your coverage in bad faith, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer.
Our Zephyrhills bad faith insurance lawyers at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers are committed to helping you hold your insurer accountable for acts of bad faith to recover compensation for the full value of your original claim, consequential damages, and more.
Insurance Bad Faith in Zephyrhills, FL
Our attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers proudly represent victims of insurance bad faith in Zephyrhills and other parts of Florida.
In Zephyrhills, the vast majority of residents have some kind of insurance. Most drivers carry auto insurance, which is mandatory in the State of Florida, and most residents under the age of 65 have health insurance. According to the U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts, only about 21 percent of Zephyrhills residents under the age of 65 do not have health insurance.
What Is Insurance Bad Faith?
Insurance companies are for-profit organizations, and their desire to increase profits sometimes makes them act unreasonably at the expense of the policyholders.
An insurance company is acting in bad faith when it refuses to pay your claim without a reasonable basis, refuses or fails to properly defend you against liability claims, or violates its other contractual obligations.
In other words, insurance bad faith means that the insurer is not doing its part to satisfy the terms of the contract. If you suspect that your insurance company failed to uphold its good faith duty when handling your claim, do not hesitate to contact an experienced bad faith insurance attorney near you to protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
What Duties Do Insurance Companies Have?
Your insurance company owes you several duties, including a duty of good faith. If your insurance company breaches any of the following or other duties owed to you, it can face a lawsuit for acting in bad faith.
Let’s discuss the four basic duties owed by an insurer to its insured:
- A duty to investigate. One of the duties that insurance companies owe to their policyholder is to investigate their claims in a fair and timely manner. An insurance company may be acting in bad faith when it fails to conduct a proper investigation within a reasonable amount of time after you file a claim.
- A duty to uphold the insurance policy. Insurance companies must follow the contractual obligations as agreed upon in the insurance policy. The policy must contain clear and unambiguous language when outlining the insurer’s obligations and responsibilities.
- A duty to defend. Many insurance policies state the insurer assumes a duty to defend their policyholder under specific circumstances. Your insurance company may have a duty to defend you when you face lawsuits by third parties.
- A duty of good faith. Last but not least, insurance companies must act in good faith when handling and settling claims filed by the policyholder. It means that an insurer must treat its insured reasonably and fairly.
If your insurance company fails to uphold its contractual responsibilities, you should speak with a knowledgeable bad faith insurance lawyer to discuss your legal options.
What Compensation Can You Seek in a Bad Faith Insurance Lawsuit?
If you and your lawyer can prove that your insurance company acted in bad faith, you may receive the following types of damages:
- The value of your original claim that your insurer denied, devalued, or delayed;
- Consequential damages caused by the insurer’s conduct;
- Other financial losses, including attorney’s fees associated with bringing a bad faith insurance lawsuit;
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress caused by the insurer’s acts of bad faith; and
- Punitive damages, if applicable.
Under Florida law, a policyholder may be entitled to punitive damages if the insurance company engaged in willful, wanton, or malicious conduct or showed reckless disregard for their rights. However, punitive damages are limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever amount is greater.
Zephyrhills Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer FAQs
If you are dealing with a bad faith insurer, you probably want to know the answers to the following questions:
How do I know that I have a valid Zephyrhills bad faith insurance claim?
Contrary to popular belief, just because you receive a denial of your insurance claim does not necessarily mean that you can sue your insurer for failing to act in good faith.
Insurance companies have legitimate reasons to deny claims, such as when a claimant’s insurance policy does not cover their damages. To determine if you have a valid bad faith insurance claim against your insurer, you should have an experienced attorney review your insurance policy.
When is an insurance company acting in bad faith in?
You may have grounds to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit against your insurer if it engages in:
- Denying coverage without a written explanation or reasonable basis
- Failing or refusing to investigate a valid claim
- Ignoring your claim or phone calls (emails) for an unreasonable amount of time
- Arguing that your damages are not a covered loss when it actually is
- Dragging out the claims process or negotiations
- Misrepresenting the facts of coverage under your insurance policy
Even if your insurance company is acting in any of these ways, it may not be acting in bad faith. Whether or not your insurer is acting in bad faith depends on the circumstances of your case. That is why it is advisable to consult with a skilled Zephryhills bad faith insurance attorney to discuss your particular situation.
When can an insurance company deny my claim?
As mentioned earlier, not every insurance claim denial constitutes bad faith. An insurance company may legally deny your claim if:
- You violated the terms of your insurance policy;
- The policy does not cover the claimed damages; or
- Your claim is fraudulent.
Your insurer can breach its duty to act in good faith and uphold the terms of the insurance contract if it unreasonably denies your claim, does not provide a written explanation of the denial, or the insurer withholds policy benefits for no valid reason.
Note: According to one study, insurance companies deny 200 million claims every year.
What should I do if my insurer is acting in bad faith in Zephyrhills?
If you suspect that your insurance company fails to adhere to its contractual obligations, the first thing you should do is contact a lawyer to discuss your unique case.
Before filing a bad faith insurance lawsuit, you will need the legal counsel of a detail-oriented and dedicated attorney to help you collect and preserve evidence to prove the insurance company’s breach of the duties owed to you.
If an insurance company is acting in bad faith, you need to do the following before pursuing a lawsuit:
- Consult with a lawyer to determine if you have grounds to sue your insurer
- Keep a paper trail and gather evidence to support your claim
- Appeal the denial of your claim (if you receive a denial)
- Prepare a demand letter
- File a complaint
The knowledgeable and reputable attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers are ready to help you take the above-mentioned steps to secure a favorable outcome in your case.
How do I file a bad faith insurance lawsuit in Zephryhills?
In Florida, you have the legal requirement to provide your insurer with a 60-day written notice of its alleged violation before filing a lawsuit. The purpose of the notice is to give the insurer a chance to cure the violation.
If the company does not take action to cure the violation within 60 days, you and your lawyer will be able to bring a lawsuit against the bad faith insurance company.
How do insurance companies defend themselves against claims of bad faith?
Commonly, insurance companies try to prove that they acted in good faith to challenge a claim of bad faith. The insurer may also argue that you misrepresented any of the information provided in your claim.
There are various tactics an insurance company may use to defend itself to avoid liability. Therefore, with so much at stake, it is highly advised to contact a Zephyrhills bad faith insurance lawyer to advocate for your best interests and get you the compensation you deserve.
How long will it take to resolve a bad faith claim in Zephryhills?
The duration of the litigation process in Florida depends on many factors, including:
- The insurer’s willingness to cure the alleged violation and pay you what you deserve;
- The strength of your bad faith insurance case;
- The negotiation skills and courtroom experience of your lawyer; and
- The court’s schedule and availability.
An experienced attorney can help you speed up the resolution of your bad faith claim to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your losses and damages.
Why should I hire Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers?
If you are considering hiring a bad faith insurance lawyer, you may wonder what sets Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers apart from other law firms in Zephyrhills that handle bad faith claims.
Consider the following four reasons to hire one of our qualified and reputable attorneys to handle your bad faith insurance claim:
- Experience. Our lawyers have decades of combined legal experience representing victims of insurance bad faith tactics throughout Florida.
- Results. We have secured multi-million-dollar settlements and awards on behalf of our clients. Our results speak for themselves.
- Resources. Our attorneys have vast resources to take on even the most complicated cases. We have the necessary resources to investigate your claim and gather evidence to build a strong case.
- Reputation. Our law firm has a reputation for undertaking the most challenging cases and providing personal attention to every client. We have thousands of satisfied clients in Zephyrhills, Port Richey, and other parts of Florida. Thanks to our track record of success, insurers know that our attorneys are a force to be reckoned with in insurance claims litigation.
Do not hesitate to consult with the Zephyrhills bad faith insurance attorneys at Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers to talk about your case and discuss your options.
Why You Need a Zephyrhills Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer
When reviewing your particular situation, an experienced attorney will determine whether you have a viable claim for bad faith. Your lawyer will gather evidence to prove that your insurance company acted in bad faith to ensure you receive proper compensation.
At Nicoletti Accident Injury Lawyers, our Zephyrhills bad faith insurance lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not need to worry about additional expenses when suing your insurer for acting in bad faith.
We only receive a payment if we win your lawsuit or reach a favorable settlement on your behalf. We are ready to help you navigate the legal process to hold your insurance company accountable for failing to pay what it owes you under your policy.
Our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers will take the following steps to help you build a successful bad faith claim:
- Review your insurance policy to determine if the insurance company failed to uphold its contractual obligations
- Explain your rights and options when dealing with a dishonest or fraudulent insurance company
- Gather all available evidence to prove that the insurer acted in bad faith
- Estimate your losses and damages caused by the insurer’s bad faith practices
- Help you receive the compensation to which you are entitled