The Workers’ Compensation system was put in place to protect workers injured on the job, while shielding the employer from law suits. Employers purchase Workers’ Compensation insurance, and covered workers may receive medical benefits and lost earnings for a job-related injury or illness. They are prohibited from suing the employer. Workers’ Compensation becomes the only legal remedy available to the worker injured on the job.
Improper Denial of Workers’ Compensation Claims
At times, an insurer will delay or deny a valid claim in furtherance of the company’s financial interests; profits are generated by selling policies and collect premiums, while any payments reduce the amount of those profits. In addition to the financial benefit to the insurer when denying claims, an employer or adjuster may be incentivized to minimize the amount paid out in claims under the policy. In many cases, the insurer will deny that the injury or illness is work-related as a justification for denying a claim.
When a Workers’ Compensation carrier denies, delays, or lowballs one or many claims, or unreasonably places their financial interests ahead of the interests of a legitimate claimant, they may be subject to an action for bad faith. Insurance laws on bad faith tort actions vary from state to state. Some states allow a tort action for insurer bad faith, while others only impose stringent penalties on the errant insurer.
Protect Your Right to Worker’s Compensation Benefits
The power to decide claims rests in the hands of the insurer, putting you as an individual claimant at a distinct disadvantage should the company decide to deny your claim. This deficit can be remedied by bringing in an experienced insurance bad faith attorney to represent your interests and level the playing field in your fight with the insurer. You should bring an attorney on board as soon as it becomes apparent that your claim is being mishandled. Failing to file in a timely manner can cause you to lose your right to benefits, so it is essential not to delay.
Why Hire a Bad Faith Insurance Lawyer?
It can be difficult to go up against large and powerful workers’ compensation insurance providers alone. Insurance companies often do not respect clients’ claims, taking any opportunity to reduce award amounts or deny valid claims. An insurance company that has displayed unethical conduct can be especially difficult to negotiate with since it has already proved it will not obey the rules or the law. A lawyer can benefit your claim in many ways.
- Interpret your employer’s insurance policy
- Help you prove your work-related injuries
- Collect evidence of insurance bad faith
- Negotiate a fairer settlement with the insurance company
- Bring a complaint to the Arizona Department of Insurance
- File a civil lawsuit before the state’s deadline
- Fight for fair compensation through the civil justice system
From confirming you have been the victim of insurance bad faith to demanding fair compensation for your losses, a lawyer can take care of many actions on your behalf that could ultimately help you obtain fair results for a claim. Your attorney can help you protect your rights, stand up against an unethical insurance company and receive the compensation you and your family need to move on.
Insurance Company Actions that May Be Deemed as Acting in Bad Faith
Insurance companies may employ a variety of tactics to avoid or minimize paying Workers’ Compensation benefits. These actions (or non-actions) may be signs that the company is acting in bad faith:
- Disputing or delaying payment of benefits without giving the claimant a valid reason;
- Ignoring or failing to respond to a claim;
- Pressuring an injured worker to accept an offer of an inadequate benefit payment;
- Cutting benefits for necessary medical care.
- Requiring far more proof than is reasonably necessary;
- Interpreting the insurance policy unreasonably;
- Making threats against the claimant;
- Investigating the claim inadequately.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company does anything questionable in terms of handling your claim or offering a pay out, speak to a lawyer about a potential bad faith case. Just because you received a denial from a workers’ compensation insurer does not mean you are not eligible for financial recovery. The insurance company may not be dealing with your case fairly.
What Is the First Step?
The first step after you have identified workers’ compensation bad faith is to report your suspicions to the Arizona Department of Insurance. They can investigate your case and help you determine whether the company has committed workers’ compensation bad faith. The department can also penalize the insurer with fines and other consequences, including taking away the license of the insurance agent that handled your claim.
Next, discuss your situation with a workers’ compensation bad faith attorney. A lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to tell you what to do. Your lawyer can investigate the situation and collect any available evidence of bad faith to use against the insurance company. An attorney will advocate for your rights as an injured worker. If the insurer is unlawfully failing to fulfill its obligation to you, your lawyer could help prove bad faith and obtain compensation for your damages.
With a lawyer’s representation, you may be able to receive a settlement or verdict for your injury-related medical bills, occupational rehabilitation, disability expenses, lost wages, lost future capacity to earn, lost quality of life, and pain and suffering. You may also be eligible for additional punitive damages to punish the workers’ compensation insurer for treating your claim in bad faith. Your lawyer can help you understand what your case could be worth.
Is There a Time Limit to Filing a Claim?
In a workers’ compensation insurance bad faith situation, report your struggle to an attorney as soon as you can. Like all states, Arizona has a statute of limitations on bringing claims. If you miss this strict deadline, the courts will most likely decline to hear your case. You have two years from the date of the first bad faith act to file a claim.
If you did not recognize bad faith until after the first instance, the clock will start ticking on the date you realized or reasonably should have realized the bad faith. Missing the statute of limitations could mean you lose the right to file for any compensation. Talk to an attorney about filing a claim as soon as possible after discovering bad faith.
Experienced Legal Representation for the Best Outcome
The Surrano Law Firm in Phoenix, Arizona, handles insurance bad faith claims both in our home state and across the United States. Our firm is dedicated exclusively to this type of claim, and our attorneys have a nuanced understanding of insurance law in multiple jurisdictions. Our principal attorney, Charles Surrano, has worked defending insurance companies in bad faith actions and brings to the table the knowledge and experience in the inner workings of the insurance industry when pursuing justice for clients whose benefits have been wrongly denied, diminished, or delayed.
Act Without Delay
Don’t risk losing your right to the benefits you need and deserve. Contact the Surrano Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss the legal options available to you. If our investigation finds your claim to be valid, we will agree on a payment arrangement that meets your needs and proceed to take action to obtain the benefits you’ve been denied. In some cases, we can offer a contingency fee agreement. We will also pursue other economic and non-economic damages that stem from the denial of your claim, along with attorney fees, and where relevant, punitive damages. Call today for the legal representation that can get you the benefits that will allow you to recover with less stress and uncertaiinty.