How Can An Insurance Disputes Lawyer Help You?
Most of us take our insurance in good faith and expect that, in return for paying our annual premiums our insurance company will be there to support us when we need them.
Unfortunately, people often find their insurance company limits or rejects their claims. You want to get the maximum compensation so you can recover from your injuries. But your insurer wants to give you the minimum payout in order to protect their own bottom line. People often find when they are most vulnerable and in need, their insurer is not on their side.
Things can become even more complicated when dealing with someone else’s insurer, such as in the case of a car accident when another driver is at fault. Not only will the insurance company be protecting their bottom line, the other driver may be pushing back and claiming the accident was not their fault, in order to keep their insurance premiums from increasing. You may also run into trouble when the other party doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover your damages.
When you run into these kinds of brick walls with insurers, you may feel powerless to do anything. You are in disagreement with a big insurance company with a lot of resources and experience. They know how to get their own way and get people to accept less than is fair.
But you are not powerless. Your insurance company has the obligation to assess your claim and pay you the full amount in a timely manner. If they don’t do this, you have the right to push back against insurance companies. This can be easier than you think with the assistance of a qualified insurance lawyer. Here at Skaug Law, we have a team of experienced insurance attorneys ready to help.
Read on to discover the most common issues that clients tend to have with their insurance providers and what red flags to look out for. We will also look at when to hire an attorney and what to expect from their services.
Common Issues With Insurance Claims
There are several common issues people face when dealing with insurance companies.
- Denying the validity of a claim, without adequate justification – The insurance company may claim that some detail of an incident, such as a house not having appropriate security in the case of robbery, means you are not covered by the insurance policy.
- Improper or inadequate investigation of a claim – An insurance company may not do enough to secure evidence for a claim or choose to ignore evidence supporting the validity of the claim.
- Offering less money than the claim is worth – The insurance company may only offer to pay a portion of medical bills or car repair costs without justification.
- Delaying important or time-sensitive decisions – For example, a doctor may prescribe a course of treatment following an accident, which should be taken as soon as possible to ensure maximum effectiveness. But an insurance company may delay making a decision or delivering payment, making it difficult to pursue this course of treatment.
- Misinterpreting the law or policy statements – This involves interpreting fine details in a policy in a way that invalidates claims. For example, the insurance company could point to minor errors made in claim documentation as evidence of a false claim, and use this as a justification for not making a payment.
- Unjustly raising premiums – Sometimes when a person is involved in a car accident, the driver at fault does not have insurance or does not have sufficient insurance to cover the damage done.If you happen to be a victim of this kind of accident, you should be able to make a claim with your insurer, and this should not increase your premiums since you were not at fault. But sometimes insurance companies will use the fact that you made a claim to increase your future premiums.
Any unfair treatment of a client that puts the priorities of the insurance company above those of the client is considered bad faith insurance and is illegal.
It is not always easy to know whether your insurance company is dealing with you fairly. Insurance companies know how to make their claims and statements appear reasonable, logical, and legal, especially in the eyes of people who do not have a lot of experience in dealing with insurance.
There are a few key warning signs to look for that suggest that your insurance company is not being above-board with you:
- Delays – If insurance companies seem to be putting off evaluating your claim, saying they are waiting for a particular document or report, this is often a tactic to put you at ease as they look for evidence to invalidate your claim and avoid making a payment.
- Unreasonable Requests – When insurance companies start to ask for unreasonable levels of documentation, they can be seeking to put the burden of validating the claim on you and use your inability to provide a certain document as a reason not to pay out on a claim.
- Focus On Minor Errors – Insurance adjusters will sometimes comb documents for minor errors, such as incorrect dates or transposed numbers, and use this to invalidate a claim. It is a red flag if your insurer starts picking over the details for your submissions.
- Sworn Statement – You should be wary when an insurance company asks you for a sworn statement, as this can be a strategy to get you to make certain admissions that can then be used to invalidate your insurance claim. Speak to a lawyer before making any sworn statements.
- Threatening Statements – Your insurance company should never make threatening statements against you, for example, suggesting they will call the police to say your injuries were your fault if you do not drop your insurance claim.
- Failing To Make Payment – The insurance company may approve your claim but fail to issue payment within a reasonable period of time, for example, 30 days.
- Refusing Reasonable Requests for Documentation – As the claimant in an insurance case, you have the right to access all documentation related to the case. If your insurance company fails to provide access to documents within a reasonable period of time, it can be a sign they are hiding something.
Hiring An Insurance Dispute Attorney
People often avoid hiring an attorney because of the anticipated expense, especially when they are already struggling to be appropriately reimbursed by an insurance company. But expense should not be a barrier to getting the help you need in these cases.
Many legal practices, including ours, will only seek payment once you win your case. You do not need to pay anything up front and you only pay when you win.
Having the right lawyer makes a difference. An insurance industry study reported that people with an attorney win an average of more than three times the compensation than people who attempt to represent themselves.
In general, when dealing with an insurance company, you are better off contacting an experienced insurance lawyer who has dealt with similar situations hundreds of times and may be able to resolve related issues during the negotiation period, saving you time and money.
Consider contacting a qualified insurance lawyer if you are encountering issues dealing with a significant insurance claim (more than $10,000). You should contact a lawyer at least a month before the statute of limitations under which you can no longer sue the insurance company for compensation. This depends on the details of your policy, which you should examine carefully. Always try to contact a lawyer sooner rather than later to ensure you do not miss your window of opportunity to act.
Hiring an insurance lawyer means hiring someone just as experienced as the insurance companies, but this time they are on your side.
Hiring an experienced insurance attorney is the best way to ensure that you get the best possible result.
Contact Us For An Insurance Lawyer Today
When you contact Skaug Law, you will speak to a qualified lawyer on your first phone call, who can quickly and accurately advise you how best to proceed.