You faithfully pay your monthly or quarterly insurance premiums for your car, boat or house. But when it comes to paying losses in a covered accident or event, insurers suddenly aren’t quite so on your side. They do still, however, have a legal responsibility to act in good faith (fairly and honestly) in their dealings with you. If they don’t, they can face penalties for bad faith insurance.
The question of whether to contact a lawyer to help you settle insurance claims is one that sometimes arises too late in the game. It’s true that most smaller, simpler claims you can probably settle on your own without too much hassle. But for claims that have already been denied, it should be noted that insurers, once reaching this position, rarely alter their position unless they receive new evidence. This is why for any sort of higher-stakes insurance claims, we recommend consulting with an experienced South Florida attorney before you start negotiating.
Some examples of insurance situations one might call for legal assistance include:
- Claims that are expensive or complex.
- Claims in which serious injuries are involved.
- Claims in which you and the insurance adjuster disagree early on.
- Substantial claims including major losses or extensive damages.
- Claims where fault may be difficult to establish.
The fact is, insurers aren’t shy about denying claims with shaky reasoning – particularly if the client isn’t represented by a lawyer. They’re much less likely to pull a stunt and deny a valid claim if you have a lawyer working for you. It will also help you avoid unintentionally harming your case. (Seemingly innocent-sounding inquiries could actually be tactics to attempt to lower the value of your claim.) Insurance agents are experienced, well paid and know what to look for – and they’ll be looking for any possible weakness in your case from that very first initial call to open a claim. Continue reading