Auto insurance is big business, and because liability insurance is required of every car owner by law, it means big profits for the companies that write the policies. The more premiums they take in and the fewer claims they pay out, the greater the profits they generate. And profits are what the insurance business is all about.
Why Auto Insurers Exist—from Their Perspective
If you’ve been laboring under the illusion that insurance companies exist to pay your damages when you’ve been injured by their insured, to protect you from liability claims filed against you, or to pay uninsured motorist claims when you’ve been injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, being involved in an car accident may prove to be a wake-up call. Writing policies and banking the premiums is the easy part of the insurance business; but paying on claims is not what they do best. Paying claims digs into their profits. Ignoring, low-balling, unreasonable blame-shifting, and outright denial of valid claims are just a few of the ways that many auto insurance carriers attempt to keep those premiums safe within their coffers for the benefit of the shareholders who pay their salaries—not to mention bonuses!
These nefarious tactics can create problems for those who are injured by their insured, by their policy- holder who was injured by an uninsured driver, or for their policyholder who was at fault for an injury or wrongful death accident. When an insurance carrier fails to pay a fair amount on a legitimate claim, the result can be financial disaster for the injured. If they stall, deny, and lowball a claim that deserves to be settled and the case goes to trial, resulting in a verdict against their policyholder that exceeds the value of the policy, their insured can be left responsible for the balance. These are examples of the harm that insurers do when an insurance company fails to act in good faith.
Insurance companies often get away with these tactics because so many people don’t realize that they are not powerless against the powerful corporate insurance giants. In fact, when you have been a victim of insurance company bad faith, you often have recourse and can force them to live up to their legal obligation to pay. In most cases, they will have to pay for your attorney fees on top of your damages, and in some cases, you may even be awarded punitive damages as a punishment to remind them that acting in bad faith is unlawful, immoral, and unjust.
Potential Victims of Insurance Company Bad Faith
Depending on the state where the accident occurred, potential victims of insurer bad faith include:
- Accident victims making liability claims
- Holders of no-fault insurance, where applicable
- Accident victims injured by a driver without adequate liability insurance, when they have Uninsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
- Holders of liability policies whose companies fail to settle a valid claim
- Holders of liability policies whose carriers fail to adequately defend them against claims
To bring a bad faith action against an insurance company, whether it is your own company or the liability carrier for the car that injured you, you will need a very good attorney who limits his or her practice to bad faith claims. This is a specialized area of law and requires specific experience in pursuing claims against insurance companies, which can be notoriously difficult to prove. But with the right lawyer, you can require the company to do what they contracted to do when they wrote the policy.
Insurance Bad Faith Representation
Surrano Law Offices in the Phoenix area, exclusively handle insurance company bad faith claims and related legal actions when the company’s quest for profits stands between you and the just settlement of your valid claim. We handle these cases in Arizona, and some disability insurance bad faith cases in California, Nevada, and Kentucky. It’s all we do. With our experience on your side, you will have a fair shot at compelling the insurance company to act in accordance with their contractual responsibility to their policyholders and liability claimants. And in the worst cases, we may even obtain an additional award of punitive damages to discourage further acts of bad faith.