We pay our insurer because we would like to have some peace of mind. You expect them to pay for the damages that are covered by your policy in the event that you are hurt in an accident. Unfortunately, things do not always unfold as they should and insurers sometimes unreasonably refuse to pay for a policy holder’s claim, or refuses to defend or protect a policyholder from the claims of others. When this occurs, that insurer is acting in bad faith. What can you do if this happens to you?
Continue reading to find out what options are available to you if you end up in a conflict with your insurer.
An Insurer’s Duties to a Policy Holder
Insurance companies are expected to fulfill a number of crucial duties to their policyholders and, when they fail to do so, you might have cause for action if they are acting in bad faith. Some of the duties of an insurance company include:
- A duty to investigate: Insurers must conduct a full investigation and provide their findings.
- A duty to indemnify: When an insurer does not pay a settlement agreement or judgment up to the limit of the coverage purchased, it is considered a failure to meet the duty of indemnification.
- A duty to defend: Insurers who do not defend a policyholder against a claim, even when the lawsuit is not covered by the policy, is a failure of that insurance company’s duty to defend.
- A duty to settle reasonably: In cases where a settlement would be more beneficial to the insured, it is an insurer’s duty to settle reasonably.
Causes of Action
When an insurer acts in bad faith, the company can be sued. These of claims can usually proceed as one of both of the following types of cases:
- Breach of contract: When an insurer refuses to uphold their end of an insurance agreement, this might be considered a breach of contract.
- Tort: Under some circumstances, an insurer’s bad faith can be considered a tort, which is a civil wrong where a party causes the other harm.
It is important to distinguish between a breach of contract and tort actions since a tort claim can provide punitive damages, which are often of a greater value than the policy itself.
St. Louis Insurance Bad Faith Attorney
When you purchase an insurance policy, you expect it to pay out if it is ever needed. Unfortunately, insurers often seek to limit or deny the rightful claims of policyholders. At DeFeo & Kolker, LLC, our St. Louis team of attorneys offer our clients experienced advocacy to effectively assist them in pursuing their rightful recovery. Do not hesitate to reach out to us!
Contact our office at (314) 684-8285 to schedule a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.